As the summer social media intern for The Thinkery, I was expecting to spend some quality time on twitter and I was hoping to get a better sense for how social media works on a large scale. I wanted to help expand the reach of The Thinkery through new outlets. All three of these things happened…and a whole lot of wonderfully unexpected things, too!
First, a bit of background about myself. I’m just about to start my second year at the University of Texas’ School of Information program. When I graduate next year, I’m planning on becoming a youth services public librarian. I love social media (I’ve been on twitter for six-and-a-half years now!), so when I heard about the internship, I jumped on the chance to apply. I also love taking photographs and while I knew that I’d be taking photos for The Thinkery, I didn’t realize that I’d get so many opportunities to capture some really great moments that happen at the museum.
As a Thinkery intern, I appreciated that I had a lot of opportunities to share my ideas and voice my opinions. Everyone on staff was not only respectful of my role (no coffee-fetching here), but I instantly felt like I was part of the team. I loved getting to see the behind-the-scenes process of the museum. The office staff and the floor staff both really seem to have fun with their jobs—and who wouldn’t, working at a place like this? There were quite a few summer interns. We helped out in area like camp and education and development. I remember thinking during orientation that everyone was very suited to their roles.
On an “average day” at my intern desk, I would start by checking Facebook and Twitter for updates. (Please note that I use the phrase “average day” here very loosely. I don’t think I had one day that was quite like another. I loved the variety!) I would make my to-do list of what I hoped to accomplish, usually broken down by sites. Add a new board to Pinterest! Find five new interesting blogs to follow on tumblr! I might brainstorm blog ideas with Jo and start outlining posts. I would also take a look at the summer camp calendar and take a look at what activities were happening in our camps. I’d take breaks from my to-do list to photograph the camp activities. This was great, because it gave me a chance to be out with the kids, experiencing the curiosity first-hand. One of my favorite assignments was capturing pictures at Thinkery21. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but adults get just as excited about science as kids do.
Some people may think that social media is a breeze of a job…looking up cool links, interacting with people online, checking Facebook regularly. Sure, it’s all of those things, which made interning a blast. But I learned during my internship that maintaining an active social media presence requires a great deal of thought and effort. A whole lot of care goes into the various social media accounts run by our social media team. Through observing and interacting with some other museums and businesses, I can say that people really do notice if a company believes what they’re tweeting about or linking to on Facebook. And The Thinkery is definitely one of those companies! This was one of my big takeaways from doing large-scale social media—it’s not just passive social media made strictly for consumption. It’s active and engaging and involves a lot of creating. This takes more work than I had anticipated, but here’s the secret: it’s still a ton of fun.
What I accomplished:
-Started the Thinkery tumblr and instituted the Friday Fun Reads feature (If you’re on tumblr, you should totally follow us!)
-Added a new instagram photo at least once a week
–Tweeted, replied, and retweeted a whole bunch (Also traded science jokes with the Ontario Science Centre!)
-Created some fun Pinterest boards
-Took thousands of photos (seriously, so many photos)
-Made a list of outstanding museum blogs from around the world
Thanks for a wonderful summer. I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to intern at The Thinkery.
Also, stay tuned! Internships for the fall semester are closed, but spring semester will open shortly (and can be found on our Careers page)