Sure Twitter is great for getting feedback from your work and building relationships online, but what if Twitter actually helped generate work opportunities instead of just creating work for you? That is exactly the opening I discovered for myself, and all I had to do was make a comment on Twitter to find it.
In my search for a summer internship in DC, using Twitter has become indispensable for learning about the social media and PR firms I might apply to for work. Not only does it help me understand those communications companies on the cutting edge, but the participatory nature of Twitter helped a company find me. Before I knew it I had the inside-line on internships offered to me, even as no such positions are being publicly offered.
About 3 weeks ago I bookmarked the website for New Media Strategies, using a service which publicly shares my bookmarks through Twitter. I was surprised when NMS, who must have been following public discussion of their company using Twitter (as they would for any of their clients), replied almost immediately to my update on Twitter directly. I was impressed, and we started to follow each other on Twitter.
Almost a week later I had finished a short internship inquiry application, with the intent to discover any more job openings at NMS, but their website did not make it entirely clear where such applications might be sent. So I sent another message on Twitter directed towards NMS, inquiring about where to send my application, which replied to me a name and email address of the right HR rep for social media. Their employee was also polite enough to include their personal Twitter feed, giving me access to someone inside of their organization that could help keep track of my application.
After a few modifications to my resume and a new cover letter, I am happy to say my application has earned the attention of New Media Strategies. I am definitely excited in learning more about this possible internship, although I am still seeking and applying for positions around DC.
To me the most revealing aspect of this whole development is how new communication tools, like Twitter, mirror the process of networking in real life. While NMS took advantage of Twitter as a tool to monitor public opinion about their organization, it also gives individuals like myself powerful access to information that might otherwise have been achieved with a phone call or a fishing letter.
At the very least, the counselors at American University were impressed with the job offering I found outside of those being posted online. Perhaps a little initiative and novelty in communication might help me stand out from the rest of the job market in my internship applications for this summer.