Interns + social media = <3?

Photo via Reuters

The Fall semester is just around the corner, and I’ve got interns on the brain (we’re looking for some good ones, by the way!) While skimming through my Twitter feed yesterday, I found a link to this article: “Does an intern run your social media?” The article discusses pros and cons to having an intern manage an organization’s social media.

Managing the organization’s Facebook page and Twitter account seems to be the lot in life for any marketing, communications and PR intern in almost any industry. Time is spent designing the page, posting updates, seeking out new followers, engaging the audience, uploading pictures, etc. Luckily, most interns enjoy it (at least I did!). There’s something exciting about applying skills during your workday from an area you’re so comfortable in, and something very rewarding about watching your organization engage people on a platform they didn’t already.

Pros to having interns manage your organization’s social media? They’re savvy, knowledgeable about new media and have an intuitive sense of social media etiquette — they just know what works, whether or not they can articulate the why or how. However, they’re new to your organization, they might not have a full understanding of your constituents and audience, they might skew your organization’s “voice” and after three months, they’re gone, leaving your Twitter feed and Facebook page looking like a ghost town. Where’s the middle ground?

As a former intern of AHCMC and other arts organizations, I’ve been really fortunate to have interned for supervisors that have trusted me with their brand and messaging. That trust is essential to having a valuable internship experience, and being micro-managed is never a growing experience for any professional, whatever level they may be.

However, I understand some of the concern. Once you establish a voice, it can be hard to hand it over to the organization’s newbie. And whether we like it or not, our one-liner tweets and Facebook wall posts are treated as mini press releases. I mean, the Library of Congress is archiving all public tweets!

My opinion? If they use social media themselves and are cognizant of social media etiquette, interns should be able view what your organization has posted before and write their posts accordingly, with a bit of supervision here and there if needed.

What are your thoughts? Is this an issue you come across at your organization?

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