Student Spotlight: Adelyn, Grad Student in New Media Management at Newhouse

Adelyn in Class

Adelyn and classmates at Newhouse

Today we have the pleasure of hearing from Adelyn Biedenbach, a graduate student at Syracuse University, who is currently enrolled in the New Media Management program at Newhouse. See what she has to say about her grad program, her work with Dr. William J. Ward, a social media professor at Newhouse, and how social media plays a part in it all.

Why did you choose your grad program at Syracuse?

I chose my graduate program at Syracuse University for a number of reasons. It is an intense one year program which also contains classes in the business school and both the speed and the variety appealed to me. My undergraduate degree is in Journalism from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA where I am originally from, and while I learned a number of storytelling and writing skills there, I felt that the management and business side of the media would bolster my ability to understand and operate in the media sphere. Newhouse is also an outstanding facility with a range of dedicated faculty and opportunities for guest speakers and events to get a glimpse of what’s going on in many aspects of the media world and I am happy with my choice!

What kind of work do you do with Dr4Ward?

Dr. William Ward, aka Dr4Ward, teaches a number of courses at the university in social media and engagement. I am his instructional associate (IA) for COM 400 which is Social Media U Need 2 Know and is open to undergraduate students. As his IA, I work as a community manager to facilitate in-class social media discussions on a number of platforms including Twitter, our class Facebook group, LinkedIn and Google+. I also help to score weekly to do lists of tasks which immerse students in the activities needed to brand themselves socially and learn how to professionally make use of social platforms including Storify and HootSuite social media certifications.

In what ways do you showcase your experience using social media?

Approaching graduation, myself and a number of the senior students in my classes are focusing on representing their experiences online. There are a number of different approaches, but I like to use several different platforms. On LinkedIn, I try to include not only my internship experience but also my coursework and links to real projects that I have worked on in class. I also try to keep a consistent profile photo between social accounts. This can sometimes be a challenge, but if an employer or someone would come across you on Twitter, you would want them to also recognize you on Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.

Adelyn LinkedIn

What is your favorite aspect of social media?

It’s so difficult to choose one aspect of social media that is my favorite; so many parts of it keep me coming back for more. 🙂 However, if I had to choose, I think it would be the access to information of all kinds in real time. I read somewhere that the average person has access to more information on the front page of a newspaper then they had in their entire lives in say the 1700/1800s. Now imagine that amplified by a few minutes on Twitter or a few hours with flipboard. Its an amazing way to be informed, connected and constantly learning.

Adelyn BiedenbachAdelyn Biedenbach @adelynlee

Adelyn Biedenbach is currently finishing up her graduate degree in new media management at Syracuse University. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA her undergraduate degree is in Journalism from Point Park University. Her passions in media include social media, media strategy, interviewing and analytics.

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3 Unique Ways to Create Visual Content

Now more than ever visual content is dominating the web and social media. Facebook has announced that they are going to place more emphasis on photos and videos, Pinterest just plain exists, and even YouTube has revamped their profile design to include channel art. Beyond that, users are more likely to engage with visual content, so really, if you aren’t sharing visual content, you aren’t getting the best exposure. Here are 3 easy and unique ways to create visual content to share with your community:

1. Create an infographic of your Twitter account.

Visual.ly, a website that helps you create your own infographics has come out with a new template that will create a visual representation of any twitter account.

Twitter Infographic

2. Transform quotes with Quozio.

Quozio is a fantastic and free tool that allows you to create images with quotes in mere seconds. You can use the website to create a visual quote, or you can add their handy bookmarklet to your favorite browser.

Quozio image

3. Edit any image with Pixlr Express.

This free online image editor allows you to edit any image, create collages, overlay text on an image and much more.

Pixlr image

Do you have other awesome ways of creating visual content? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” – Ben Heyman’s Online Persona

Meet Ben Heyman, a student at Boston University who knows the influence social media can have on your online persona, as well as your job search. Hear what he has to say:

Why is having an online presence important to you?

In today’s competitive landscape, you need more than just a resume to stand out. While applying to jobs is still very much a thing, it has changed. Recruiters look for you. They look for your online presence to get a better feel for who you are and what you stand for. I maintain an online presence to help recruiters get a better sense of who I am, to establish my credibility and to network with people who have similar interests as myself.

Ben's Website

Ben’s Website

What types of things have you done to showcase yourself online?

I blog and promote those pieces on various social media channels, maintain an up-to-date portfolio, constantly share articles I find interesting and relevant, and participate in Twitter chats. I am constantly finding stories on LinkedIn and Google+ and adding my comments where I can.

How has your online presence helped you network?

Twitter chats have been amazing. I have had so many people reach out to me who are willing to help me connect and find a job. I landed an interview with a company recently because I participated in their Twitter chat. It is also a good opportunity to share my blog, connect with people on LinkedIn, etc. I cannot say enough about how my online presence has helped me network. Keeping a consistent voice and message through all of my social media channels has definitely helped me create a strong personal brand.

Ben's Vizify

Ben’s Vizify Profile

How is your online presence helping you in your job search?

I have grown my Twitter following tremendously. I have had many people reach out to me after taking notice willing to assist me in the job search however they can. The networking opportunities that have arisen because of my online presence are numerous. I feel as if the time I spend maintaining my online presence will pay off in the long run.

Ben HeymanBen Heyman @heyheyman

Originally from Bethesda, Maryland, Ben Heyman is a senior at Boston University, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations in May 2013. He is passionate about technology, social and new media and public relations. He is fascinated by the idea of using technology and social media to enhance our lives. Ben is actively looking for full time employment to begin his professional career. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter!

FAQ: I’m not a blogger, how can I showcase my experience online?

Students often ask me how they can showcase themselves or their experience online without blogging. This is a great question, especially for those who aren’t writers, or perhaps don’t have the time and resources to sustain a blog. There are several great online tools out there that can help you represent yourself online without blogging, or even as a compliment to your blog if you have one. Here are a few of the more creative and unique ways to represent yourself outside of your traditional social media channels:

Vizify

I stumbled across this awesome site after conversing with @adelynlee on Twitter. She has a great profile set up to compliment her online presence.

Vizify

About.me

This free and easy to use site allows you to create a short summary of yourself and provide links to your other social media profiles.

About.me

Zerply

Similar to the above site, Zerply creates a page that features information about you. “Zerply is a simple professional network focusing on your experience and talent while presenting you in the best possible way.”

Zerply

ViewYou

“We create stunning video introductions and profiles for motivated job seekers looking to standout in today’s crowded job market.” If you’re looking for a truly untapped and unique way to profile yourself, ViewYou is it!

ViewYou

Pathbrite

Pathbrite is a brilliant site that creates an online and visual portfolio of whatever content you choose to include.

Pathbrite

Whether you use one of the above or one of the many other platforms created to help you showcase yourself online, you’re sure to make an impression, even if you don’t have a blog.

Do you use another platform to showcase yourself? Tell me about it in the comments!

Have Your Cake & Eat it Too: A Career in Social Media

A big part of learning is looking to others as an example. Today I have a post from Tiffany Harrison, the Outreach Manager at GoAbroad.com, to comment on the importance of social media, and what its like to work in social media:

As a student these days, understanding social media is essential. To say that it’s not is like saying a passport is just a suggestion for international travel. A bit of an understatement, right? Whether you use social media strictly for personal use or are hoping to make it a part of your career, how you brand yourself online will make all the difference in your endeavors.

Tiffany at NAFSAI understand how it feels to navigate the waters of an online presence: how much should you put out there, how much is TOO much, and what is going to set you apart from the crowd? By offering some insight into my own experiences with social media, it’s my hope that you’ll be able to gain some perspective.

I don’t claim to know everything; to say that is to ignore the fact that social media is an evolving technology. Rather, I understand what it takes to stand out on social media while being true to who you are, and cognizant of how the technology changes. After all, it’s what led me to my current role with GoAbroad.com. Instead of referring to the following advice as “best practices,” I think a better phrase is “model practices.” This should help you to keep in mind that every person’s journey is different from the next, and your own technique will adapt and change with your pursuits. Let’s dig in, shall we?

How Did You Get a Job in Social Media?

I came to my position as Outreach Manager for GoAbroad.com after meeting and getting to know my future supervisor via Twitter. At that point in time, I was trying to break into the international education industry – which can be extremely competitive, particularly if you’re like me and don’t have a Master’s Degree or five plus years of experience.

That’s where getting creative with how to stand out took hold: I started a blog that encompassed the things I was most passionate about, joined Twitter, and began getting to know new people. A word to the wise: if you aren’t already on Twitter, I highly recommend it. It’s a great place to meet people (possibly future employers!), as well as get your voice heard on a platform where you’re liable to connect with anyone.

Initially, I wasn’t even considering how it might become my next job when I met my supervisor. I’d found her because I enjoyed reading her blog and wanted to express my appreciation of it. Before I knew it, we were tweeting back and forth, she interviewed me for her blog, and a few months down the road I was being offered the job of a lifetime. Stranger things have happened, right?

The important thing to take away from this, is that YES, being yourself in an online forum can be extremely rewarding. Whether it leads to a job, a writing opportunity, or even a new friendship, maintaining transparency in how you present yourself can take you far. Added to that, getting creative with your use of social media will also open new doors. Examine how people are already doing things, and find a new angle. What speaks to you, and how can you add your voice to the conversation? Speak up and I assure you that people will start to listen.

What Do You Do Everyday?

As the Outreach Manager for GoAbroad.com, one of my major responsibilities is managing our online communities of over 50,000 world travelers. I also oversee the GoAbroad Blog, managing all of the content that we write and share. When I’m not scheduling Facebook posts or responding to Tweets, I’m sending out press releases, working with GoAbroad partners, or prepping for an upcoming university visit. It’s definitely a job that keeps me on my toes!

Tiffany HarrisonThe wide-reaching scope of GoAbroad’s communities used to scare me when I first started with social media brand management. The learning curve was steep, the digital landscape was (and is) apt to change at the drop of a hat, and I was anxious about saying or doing the wrong thing for our audience.

I still have these moments on occasion, but you learn as you go. It also helps to have supportive colleagues who act like guiding lights throughout the learning process. If you’re eager to work in social media management, you have to be ready to take risks. Not every campaign will be successful, and you’ll have audience members who don’t always agree with you. It can be unnerving, but it’s also what makes working with social media so dynamic.

How Important is Maintaining an Online Persona?

It’s essential. And not just “I have a Facebook account, so I understand social media” kind of essential. It takes more energy and work than that. The way that I see it is if you want someone to find you (employers, college recruiters, fellow bloggers, etc.) give them something to find in the first place.

One of my first journalism teachers in college once told me it’s better to have some kind of “digital footprint,” as opposed to none at all. As I’ve grown and delved more into social media, I continue to adhere to this. People are going to search for you online either way. Better to give them something worthwhile to find, and you’ll already be one step ahead of the competition.

It doesn’t have to be complicated either: Find time to update your LinkedIn profile, use a tool like HootSuite to manage your tweets, start your own blog, or guest author for sites you already enjoy reading. The opportunities are endless.

What Advice Do You Have for Others That Want to Work in Social Media?

Read and keep reading. As I mentioned earlier, social media is constantly evolving and it’s important to stay up to date with trends. It’s the only way you’re going to have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening and what opportunities are upcoming.

Combined with this, I suggest taking advantage of internships that allow you to get firsthand experience with social media. One of my internships out of college had me collecting press clips, building editorial lists, and mining for online content that would suit our clients. Sure, it wasn’t my dream job but it taught me how to get creative with my approach to writing for an online audience and understanding what resonates. I also got to work with people who had a broad knowledge base, making for a great learning experience. From there, you can only keep growing.

It’s safe to say that social media isn’t going anywhere, and nor should it! There are more and more opportunities to get involved with it on a professional level and you owe it to yourself to grab hold of them with both hands. You just might surprise yourself at how good it tastes to have your cake and eat it too.

Tiffany HarrisonTiffany Harrison @ttmharrison

Hailing from the Northern California Foothills, Tiffany Harrison holds a BA in Journalism Public Relations from California State University Chico. She first ignited her passion for meaningful travel by living abroad in Scotland, before then working in public relations in San Francisco. Tiffany now cultivates her skills with GoAbroad.com as the Outreach Manager. She is an avid tea-drinker who lives by the words of Jane Austen and considers her passport a map to discovering the world. Connect with Tiffany on her blog, What Would Jane Do?

FAQ: Should I let employers see my social media channels?

This week’s FAQ seems an appropriate follow up question to my earlier post about what you should and shouldn’t do while representing yourself online. Should you let employers see your social media channels? You might think it’s none of their business, that you’ll share some but not others, or just don’t know. Here are some things to consider in order to help you answer the question:

Social media is a good way to showcase yourself.

Using your social media channels to create an online persona that potential and current employers can interact with is important in this day and age. As I’ve mentioned before, if you’re looking to work anywhere near social media or online marketing, you BETTER have an online presence that displays your experience in a positive way!

Social Media Love

If you have nothing to hide, why not?

There is a lot of controversy out there about whether or not your potential employer should have the “right” to see your social media profiles in, before, or after an interview. However, as I read the stories I can’t help but wonder, if you have nothing to hide, why wouldn’t you let an employer see you on social media? Now, I do know that there are exceptions to the rule, but really, I WANT my boss to see that I’m rocking it on Twitter, or that my Pinterest account is driving traffic to my blog. Facebook is admittedly a little trickier; however, think about this: do you want to work for an employer that would judge you for having a great time at dinner with your friends Friday night?

Not doing so could cost you the job.

Again, I realize that this may not hold true for every field out there, but in general, if you keep all your social media channels private you might not get the job. Think about it…if the other candidates are tweeting about information related to the industry, have an awesome Pathbrite portfolio, or even public Facebook posts sharing articles that would interest a recruiter/employer, and you don’t, do you think you’ll get the job?

I’ll let you be the judge. Ultimately, it is your decision whether to share or not, but hopefully this gets you thinking about why it’s probably a really good idea.

What’s your opinion? Tell me in the comments!

How to Set Up Social Media Icons on WordPress.com

Free Social Media IconsYou know how I’m always saying we all, regardless of our experience, have something to learn…well, I’m serious. This post is exhibit A. When I first re-launched SMFS, I knew I wanted to have social media icons that linked to the respective networks I have set up. I was shocked when the widgets menu didn’t have one, and was frustrated that I might not be able to have icons at the top of my site – something that I am always strongly recommending for clients. Thankfully, I figured out how to set it up using the “Text” widget. Here’s how to set up social media icons on WordPress.com:

Step 1: Find the social media icons you want to use.

Do a Google search for “free social media icons” and browse different icon images. Once you find some that you like, download the image files and save them to your computer.

Step 2: Upload the icon images to a post draft on your blog.

I found it easier to upload each icon individually, in the order that I want them to appear, and selecting “None” for alignment. In this stage you can also assign each image a unique URL, i.e. for the Facebook icon, set it to link to your Facebook profile or page.

Upload to Post Draft

Step 3: Switch to text view in your post draft and copy the code.

Literally just select all and copy the code. You could also make sure to save your draft at this point.

Copy Code

Step 4: Go to widgets menu and insert a “text” widget into your sidebar.

Once you add the text widget to your sidebar, paste the code you copied into the text field of the widget. Click “save.”

Screen Shot 2013-03-23 at 1.34.04 PM

Step 5: Go to your homepage and refresh.

Voila! You now have social media icons that link to your channels on your WordPress.com site.

Social Media Icons

Did you get lost along the way? Are you unsure of how to complete one of these steps? Ask me in the comments!