Last week we received an email from a 13 year-old, with an interest in working in the social media field. The following is the inspired, and flattering correspondence:
My name is Terry. I’m 13, and I’m in seventh grade. I’m always thinking about what I want to do with my life, and while I’ve thought of nursing, engineering, ministry, and countless other professions, I’ve never settled on one idea for more than a few days. Except one. When I was in forth grade I saw an article on the Google, Twitter, and Facebook offices, (I think I was on stumbleupon.com and looking at design, which I was in to at the time,) I decided to do further research on them. This led me to looking at more than the offices, but program development, advertising, and things like that that went on in all three. Ever since, on and off I’ve considered jobs at places like Google or Facebook. The two, especially Google, continue to impress and interest me. But recently my friend and I were in class school on our schools MacBooks, we had finished the work early and were just looking at things on Google like the Google Gravity, Let It Snow, and the Google PacMan, when I begun thinking more and more about the work that goes into programs like Google Chrome and the tricks on Google. That night, I was on Pinterest, on the geek section, and found a link to your website. It was something about color, and for the last few weeks I have been thinking about a career at a company like NowSourcing or Google or Facebook. I know that I’m in seventh grade, but I really want to know what kind of work you do, what school you had to go to, what that requires. I’m really, really interested in a career like that in the future, and want to know what it requires. I really hope you respond, because I’m very interested in this type of work.
We wanted to publicly respond to Terry, in an attempt to possibly help others understand this field better.
The wonderful thing about social media, SEO, infographics, and so on, is that it allows you to use your imagination, communicate with a wide variety of people, and create identities for people and businesses online. At NowSourcing our degrees range from advertising, and interactive media, to business administration, and journalism. Being motivated and passionate are two key ingredients if you want to succeed in a field like this, as well as setting boundaries with clients, and maintaining good character throughout. Without these things, no amount of talent will give you any long-term satisfaction.
Now, what do we do? a great definition of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) would be: the art of moving to the top of a Google search – that’s what this is really all about. If Google likes you, you’re in. Doing this organically takes a lot of fine tuning, and you can find yourself sitting on the line of being real and sounding like an advertisement. Advertising, in it’s actuality, is not a bad thing – manipulative, and invasive advertising is where people stop paying attention or even become irate - and it’s understandable. As an outsider it can be difficult to see people in promotions, advertising, even public relations, as human – but even the advertiser gets advertised too, and probably hates the same things we all do.
Blogging is a great way of building credibility with Google, but what some tend to forget is that it has to be good and consistent. It is very important to put out interesting, quality content. Which means, in this field, you need to be a bit of a writer. You also need to be able to write on many different subjects, sometimes on a whim. We often use blogs for links, which is a way of getting page views, that’s not invasive. This is also where you would want to launch an infographic, like the Psychology of Color
(which you saw on Pinterest), because when it goes viral that page and your website get a lot hits – organically moving you up in a search.
When it comes to the social media side, you are not only building social networks, maintaining them, and creating an identity, but this is where you are the public relations department. How do you deal with a bad review right there on your client’s Facebook page for everyone to see? If you take any public relations courses when you get to college, the case studies show that the ones who take full responsibility, and fix the problem makes it in the end. This is an area where that good character comes in. You need to be honest with your customers, and your clients, and you need to make them happy. Sometimes this can be hard because they don’t actually know what is going to make them happy down the road. You may find yourself in a bind when these situations arise: you’re the expert, but they’re the client. This is why boundaries are so important, and need to be set in place from the beginning.
Terry, your interest seems to be on the more technical side, app design may be something you would enjoy. However, all the previously discussed aspects will be your business at some point – some more than others. I urge you to continue looking into the whole big world that is social media, and keep up with it, because it is constantly changing. There are a lot of areas you could major in when you get to college that would compliment this field, so I would choose one that you may be able to do multiple things with. You may consider blogging, as well. Try sitting down and thinking of what you would really enjoy talking about (maybe new applications, Google, Facebook), create an outline, and then write something once a week or twice a month. This will sharpen your writing skills, help you to be in the know about what’s launching, and by using a site like WordPress
to do this, you will become familiar with the tools and mechanics. You can also explore the SEO side through your blog by including keywords, links, and promoting it on social networks. I can say that if you came to me at 22, looking for a job in social media, and I see that you have experience in these areas, and a strong understanding about the latest and greatest technology, I would be very impressed.
There of course are so many other areas, and aspects, but I hope this helps you to get started. To those of you our there who have questions, or maybe also have input for awesome people, like Terry, feel free to comment.
About the Author
Brian Wallace is the founder of NowSourcing, Inc., an infographic design and social media firm. Established in 2005, they serve everyone from startups to the Fortune 500 and everything in between. Prior to founding NowSourcing, Brian worked in a variety of technical and marketing environments being a Chief Technology Officer for a noted media company. Brian holds an MBA and MS in Information Systems and resides in Louisville, KY with his wife and children. He started the group social media blog, Collective Thoughts
and appears as a guest author on Mashable
and is the Louisville Online Media Examiner at Examiner.com.
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