This past summer, I’ve been spending a lot of my evenings working as an Allée intern. If I wasn’t going to pick up new skills and learn things, well, I may as well have spent my summer on the History Center lawn or at the Science Museum. Looking back, I am pleased to say that I have learned a lot; it was well worth the time I spent and the socializing I gave up. And, what exactly didn’t I know three months ago that I do know now? A lot about social media, how to work with the print media and that Melissa Harrison is an incredible person.

Social media

Although I had a lot of personal experience with social media when I started this internship, I have learned a lot of things I didn’t even know that I didn’t know. Overall, I’m a better e-citizen.

  • I’ve learned the importance of a social media strategy, how to create one, and how to track success.
  • I’ve learned about a lot of social media platforms I was previously unaware existed and how they work. It gave me courage to jump in on Twitter.
  • I’ve learned how to better engage people on my personal accounts as well as the Facebook and Twitter accounts for the St. Paul JCC where I do updates and tweets.
  • I learned that friends do tell friends when they are bad at social media (in a nice way, of course).

Media relations

Working as an intern at Allée provided me with experience working directly with the media in a professional setting for the first time.

  • I learned how to research media outlets.
  • I learned how to decipher relevant contacts.
  • I learned how to pitch a story and follow up on a pitch.
  • I learned about editorial calendars.

Melissa is incredible

I always knew Melissa to be a woman of diverse talent and someone I enjoyed working with at the St. Paul JCC. After a while it ceased to surprise me that she was also good at, say, Bodypump while nine months pregnant. I’ve often felt that I should soak up as much information from her as possible, and working with her this summer gave me an opportunity. Melissa is professional, creative, organized and fearless. Watching her run a meeting was an exceptional learning experience in itself. Her ability to cover everything, stay on track and walk away with everyone feeling like something was accomplished was masterful. She is an exceptional role model. It has been a real pleasure working with her.

Is it bad that while I have been an Allée social media and community engagement intern actually meant that my personal Facebook interactions suffered? Absolutely not. With the skills I’ve picked up, I’m a much better member of the social media society, probably a better person. At the very least, I’m smarter now than I was three months ago. The more you learn, the more you realize the things you don’t yet know, luckily, I love to learn and look forward to taking what I’ve learned and using it to continue growing professionally.

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