Using Facebook and Twitter to HELP your Internship

A lot of employers get upset or skeptical when they see their interns cruising Facebook or constantly updating their Twitter statuses. Sometimes interns will do it out of boredom or because they have down time, but other times they are using it to help complete their job.

I find out about many stories I do at work because of Twitter. I also build up a following by posting my internship’s stories online for my followers to see. It is a great marketing tool, resource center and networking opportunity.

But what about Facebook, you might ask? While Facebook is more of a social medium for me, you can use Facebook to join in group discussions, hear about what your fellow journalist friends are doing, and find news articles of interest. You can also use it to find out about area Happy Hours in your field (for example, the Online News Association Happy Hour tonight) and make other life plans that you wouldn’t have time for at home. Businesses that ignore the value of social media and having their interns use it at work are missing an opportunity.

Instead of scolding interns for visiting those sites (or worse, BLOCKING them), teach them how to use it in a productive way and measure its effectiveness through the content they post, how often they update, what events or stories they learn about and how many more followers they get.