My boyfriend and my laptop are in a constant competition for my attention. Usually, my boyfriend loses.
This semester, I dove head first into the world of online journalism. Being a chronic overachiever, I checked out every website that my Jou 232 teacher suggested and put hours of extra effort into building my online presence.
Did I know what I was doing? Nope! Consequently, I didn’t set my expectations too high. My only hope was that my blind leap into social media and online journalism would be of some benefit to myself or others.
I never could have imagined just how beneficial it would be.
I started with what seemed like the newest craze: Twitter.
Honestly, I hated twitter for the first week I had an account. I literally forced myself to “tweet,” hoping that I would come to like the set up. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I am a wordy person. Twitter’s 140 character limit took some getting used to but I’ve adjusted.
I quickly fell in love with tweeting when I discovered WeFollow. This site is basically a phonebook for twitter. It lets you register under the “tags” that you feel best identify with your twitter usage and browse other users who share your interests.
WeFollow helped me find agriculture news sites from across the country and I began following them and replying to their tweets. Before I knew it, I had people from all over the agriculture world following me, replying to my tweets, and reading my blog.
That’s when inspiration struck. I needed an internship for the summer, why not see if anyone on twitter knows of any available? Without expecting much of anything, I wrote:
“Searching for paid summer internship/job related to #farm, #agriculture, #journalism, #news-writing. Any suggestions welcome!”
One of my followers(@rosamyst), who works in animal welfare/animal agriculture initiative communications at Michigan State, sent me a message asking for a copy of my resume. Two weeks, 4 emails, and one phone call later and I had an internship at Michigan State working in my dream field!
Obviously, not everyone has this type of twitter experience. For both agriculture and journalism students, however, stories like this one should encourage them to build their online presence. No matter what your field or interest, it never hurts to network and twitter is just a new way to do that.
I feel like networking is the main role that social media will play in journalism. The more people you know, the more you’re exposed to, the more you learn. This mentality is the basis of the web, connecting people and information.
I won’t pretend that I have adopted every venue of social media, after all, I do have a life offline and as previously stated, an anti-twitter boyfriend. Even he will admit, though, that sometimes my overachieving tendencies do pay off.