It’s Not ALL About Social Media

Social media. Where did it come from? Why is it important? What about the traditional stuff? 

Don’t get me wrong. Social media is absolutely wonderful. I use it everyday, and I have networked and met many great individuals via social media. However, people tend to forget the importance of traditional PR because of all the hype and attention social media has gotten. With social media comes many great opportunities. Virtual internships, networking, constantly staying updated, etc. However, you cannot solely rely on social media to further your career in public relations.

What do I mean by this? 

While it is great to have a social media internship, along with great knowledge of how the realm of social media works, you also need to know the basic skills of the industry. Go beyond a virtual internship. Yes, virtual internships are great. You learn very important communication skills (you aren’t in the office, so communication is extremely important), you work from home, you can have one while you are a full-time student, and the list goes on. However, virtual internships lack in one thing: the experience you will gain through a more traditional internship. For instance, I want to work at an agency where I am able to work on several client accounts. A traditional internship will offer me so much more than a virtual internship in this aspect because I would be in the actual office and able to get help/advice from co-workers at any given second.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea of virtual internships and I am currently looking for one. My point is that you cannot solely rely on  social media to get you the experience you will need for the real world. As PR students we need to learn to be well-rounded. It is great to spend a lot of time learning and utilizing social media. It is also great to get out there and put those basic PR skills we learn in the classroom to use. If you focus on just one area of PR while you are in school you will miss out on so many things, and becoming a future well-rounded PR professional could be one of those.

To be successful we have to become well-rounded in this industry. We have to stay up-to-date on current trends, but we also have to stay in touch with the traditional side of PR. Social media has made networking and internships so much easier, but we need to keep in mind it isn’t all about social media. Don’t just rely on social media. Get out there and gain experience in person!

What are your thoughts? Is it really all turning to social media? Is the traditional aspect still important to gain experience in? 

Related articles: 

Is traditional PR dead? 5 ways technology has impacted the communications industry for better or worse

Is Traditional PR Even Worth It?

4 thoughts on “It’s Not ALL About Social Media

  1. Social media has become a huge part of Public Relations. However, you are right. It is so important to get hands-on experience. I am doing an internship this summer in Dublin, Ireland and I am so happy I choose this instead of a virtual internship because I want to get out there and learn from the professionals. Thank you for posting this blog. It opened up my eyes and taught me to don’t get caught up in all the social media buzz, even though it is important.

  2. Katie, thank you for your feedback! Hands-on experience is a must in this industry. Virtual opportunities are fantastic, but they still don’t fulfill learning at an actual corporation or agency. I’m very glad this post could help you out. I just felt like I needed to write this. I spent a good chunk of time focusing solely on social media. I have had several PR volunteer experiences at non-profits, hands-on experience through the student-run firm on campus, and campaigns in classes. I think it is super important to have a hands-on internship prior to a virtual one, because it could be more helpful. I am currently looking for a virtual internship, and I feel more confident in doing on now than I would have a year or two ago.

    That’s awesome your internship is in Dublin! Where’s it at? If you don’t mind me asking of course. 🙂

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