Most consider Gen-Z, those born between 1997-2015, to be social media and internet experts. Maybe it is because we have never lived in a time without social media or that our lives have been dominated by screens and smartphones. As Gen-Z begin to attend college, get internships and start post-graduate careers, we seem to all be assigned the same common task: social media management.
However, does anyone in Gen-Z really know what they are doing on social media? At least on the professional level?
I can say I came into this internship with Breakaway PR thinking of myself to be a “social media expert” because I have had an Instagram account since middle school, like most my age. I know how to post, utilize hashtags and find content creators that align with my interests.
Once I began this internship, I realized I had so much more to learn in terms of optimizing posts, planning social media calendars and scheduling. I had never utilized another outlet to post to Instagram and Facebook besides the apps themselves.
So, I ask the question again: Why are all interns considered “social media experts?”
The assumption that young people are better at strategizing for social media comes with the territory as stated above. We have never lived in a time without blasting our lives for all to see on the internet. We want to be ahead of the trends to seem different or with hopes of going “viral” for our content.
Young people know how to curate and cultivate social media. We create ourselves as personal brands through amassing a following, developing our own editing aesthetics and promoting our own posts as a way to stand out in the digital media age. All of this can boost not only our platform, but our marketability for internships and other positions.
Most Gen-Z treat social media as a business platform and survive off their partnerships and brand affiliations. We express our creative side through editing, designing graphics and posting our interests. By turning our own pages into business accounts and examining our personal analytics, we can help others do the same.
At Breakaway, I’ve learned how to plan out social media calendars based on client events, holidays and general happenings in Austin. I am tasked with scrolling through Facebook and Instagram tracking client pages. I am allowed creative freedom to design graphics on Canva to post on our social pages, with everyone’s input. And I know this is just the beginning of a more strategic process.
So, despite not being a true “social media expert” coming into this internship, I feel more certain of my abilities now. I don’t think most interns can come into a job saying they know any and everything about social media because the online landscape is continually changing. However, all interns can hone his/her skills into becoming a social media pro through asking advice and exploring their creative side.