In a recent interview, the founder of a company who shunned social media asked me, “Why should we use it now? What exactly is so appealing and effective about it?” Even though his manner was quite demeaning, I quickly put him back in his place once he heard my story. This is the long version of it. Written by Juliet Rocco
Over a year ago, I was preparing for my interview with the New Jersey Devils. The position was for a social media intern who would be working in Mission Control, the social media epicenter for the Devils.
A month later, I was beginning my dream internship with the Devils, but by mid-September, as many of you know, the NHL went into the lockout. I didn’t see a single Devils game during my entire internship with the team. Heartbreaking, right? Not exactly.
My job was to curate content daily, interact with fans and make a positive impact. Being behind the scenes of social platforms that accumulated nearly half a million fans/followers/subscribers was a little intimidating at first.
In those first few weeks of the lockout, fans were angrier than ever and it brought me down to see so many people upset. I wanted to figure out how to make people happy and relieve some of their pain. As a lifelong Devils fan, I could relate to the fans and feel their pain too.
We posted a story about a little boy named Nate, who was in the hospital fighting pneumonia. His aunt messaged us a photo of Nate in the hospital and explained that he was a huge Devils fan and had asked to have his jersey brought to him. She said it comforted him.
The outpouring of get well wishes from fans on Facebook was incredible. People were pulling for this kid that they didn’t even know. The only thing that connected them was the love of hockey and one team, but that was enough.
Then, the unexpected happened. Hurricane Sandy coverage took priority and things really started getting interesting. I was calling up shelters/churches/schools and emailing places to find out where we could send food, blankets, and our mascot to volunteer. To be able to tell people where they could get a hot meal and a warm place to sleep meant the world to me.
For the first time, I felt like I had so much power in a message and was reaching out to millions of people. We were “Jersey Strong” and that message was spread far and wide. Fans were still upset about the lockout, but with crisis management and shifting the focus on helping others, I realized how powerful social media really was.
While I would have expected to be Tweeting game updates and watching tons of hockey, I never would have thought I would be updating people on where to get water and food for their families. That kind of experience is irreplaceable and incredibly rewarding.
Since my internship ended, I’ve been more interested in finding work in social media and community management. I want to be able to make people smile, laugh, help them and encourage them to share what I create online. What could be a better job than that? To me, it never feels like work.
By the end of my shorter version of this story in the interview, the founder sat back and really took what I said to heart. My story gave him a completely new perspective. And being a 22-year-old fresh out of college doesn’t mean I don’t understand what “life-changing” means.
Anyone who doesn’t think social media is worthwhile and a waste of time should definitely reevaluate their position on the matter, especially after how many lives can be impacted from it. There’s more to social media than FarmVille and retweeting crazy celebrities, trust me.