A Future Visualized?

“…the dialogue that emerged from the panel painted a picture of social media that’s dynamic and full of intrigue.”

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While I’m not too certain about my plans after college, my current career trajectory indicates that I’ll be involved in the media to a certain extent. These considerations made a recent class in Social Media all the more relevant to my life and professional aspirations. A panel was assembled to speak to the class, and all three panelists were connected in the fact that social media plays a big role in their occupations. The panel consisted of Megan Longo who serves as the Director of Marketing for the Flagship Restaurant Group; Ashley Anderson, the Marketing Strategist for Flywheel and former Social Media Strategist; and Amanda Brandt, a Creighton University alumna who’s employed by her alma mater as a Social Media and Content Strategist. In short, I found the panel to be informative, interesting and a great opportunity to hear from professionals about work that I may potentially find myself doing following my tossing of the cap (if not sooner).

Each of the three panelists came into their social media positions from different perspectives: Longo was in college before social media was in its current state and popularity, and primarily fell into social media because of her career path. Brandt was mildly interested in social media, but didn’t think of it as a career (having previously worked in reporting). And Anderson made a more conscious decision to work in social media, and possessed an interest in brand interaction with customers. In their experience, all three professionals echoed a similar sentiment of social media’s importance in contemporary communications and media.

Discussion of what the job/field entails is a topic that I’d expect to come up in a panel like this, but a response to this topic was that no two days are the exact same in the field. Still, common tasks that may come up include the monitoring of social networks and analytics, analyzing data, writing emails and generating content. A concept that emerged that I found particularly interesting was the idea of brand identity and tapping into audience interests. This includes the decision of establishing an identity that resonates well with one’s audience and goals; understanding who reacts to what kind of content; and personalizing content for customers (one of the panelists mentioned using a company like Bridge for data management and personalized content). Nonetheless, there’s certainly a sense of unpredictability that comes with working in social media. Algorithms may change which would cause modifications in the organic vs. paid content ratios used, and with social media, everyone has a voice. The panelists described the communications perks that come with social media, such as the ability to answer questions and reply to negative comments, along with providing updates and communicating with the public in times of crisis. Overall, the dialogue that emerged from the panel painted a picture of social media that’s dynamic and full of intrigue.

Advice that was offered to those interested in social media included taking as many writing classes as possible while in college, being familiar and active on social media and an idea I found particularly interesting, finding brands with good social media activity to be influenced by. As a whole, if I continue in my current education/career plans, it seems likely that my future will involve professional social media usage to a certain extent, even if it’s not my primary field of operations. So as the title suggests, this panel helped me visualize a potential future I may have in communications, and I’m very much glad a panel/discussion like this was organized.

Epilogue: At the end of the class, Longo gave everyone in attendance a giftcard to any of the restaurants that make up the Flagship Restaurant Group. This doesn’t necessarily tie in anywhere else in this post, but it’s something I found to be very nice and worth highlighting, hence why it’s the picture for this entry.

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