This summer we'll be sharing 'Intern Insights,' a series of guest posts all about internships, from students enrolled in UC 225. Today's post from Maryam Squillace, a Screen Arts & Cultures major interning with NBCUniversal in NYC, offers some highlights from her experience so far, and insight into the increasing importance of social media within the media industry as a whole. Thanks Maryam!
I don’t think many people realize how important social media is in our lives. It is more than tweeting what you are doing tonight, or checking in to a cool restaurant on Foursquare. What started back in chat rooms before I was born has now become an inexpensive way for many massive media conglomerates to interact with their audience. I knew this summer I wanted an internship doing something media-related, but I never imagined how large a role social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram play in the success of media corporations.
I knew this summer I wanted to get out of Ann Arbor for a little while and move to a big city. This past semester, I felt somewhat at a crossroads in my college career. I knew I needed some experience to say more definitively what I want out of a future job. I decided to look for internships in New York because I had family I could stay with there. After applying to multiple media and PR internships, I received an email about an interview from the News Communications department at NBCUniversal. I learned in early April I had gotten the internship and the rest of the month was a blur. I moved to New York only days after my last final, without ever setting foot in the city. I love living here, and it is amazing to walk into 30 Rock every day and have a badge that allows me into the building. I love knowing that so many brilliant minds have been in this building, are currently here, and will be when I leave; it’s the same feeling I have walking around Michigan’s campus.
I have learned a great deal about the media industry at my internship. Working in News Communications, it’s a mix of PR, marketing, and digital media that work together to make the final TV product show up in as many households as possible. I am lucky to work with some of the most brilliant people in the industry, who work on promoting the news programs I grew up on and still love. Its incredible to see all of the work that it takes to look so effortless on the viewer’s side. Working in the media industry, I have seen how important social media skills are on a resume. Almost everyone I have had the privilege of speaking with or working with has told me that social media is something to know now because it is only going to get bigger. One of the first questions in my interview was if I had a Twitter, and what I newspapers I followed. One example of social media’s importance was watching the department prepare for Justin Bieber to perform during the Toyota Summer Concert Series on the TODAY show. I worked with the department to spread the #BieberTODAY hashtag throughout the media before the concert happened. NBC’s followers then began to use the hashtag to begin a conversation about the concert with their own followers, and the hashtag’s usage grew even more. The hashtag even trended worldwide at one point. I watched as Justin Bieber sent out Matt Lauer’s first tweet (on a TV, but still) and watched as Mr. Lauer’s followers rapidly grew by the thousands because of the help of Justin Bieber. It is a digital reminder of how linked humanity really is.