When I first began writing for Digital Women UK in 2015 I was what I would describe as a social media student. Yes I had grown up with and on social media, and yes I knew how to use digital to both shape and share my voice. But I didn’t feel like a grown up. I didn’t feel like I really knew what I was doing.
Like every other area of my life, I was in student-limbo – where you’re sort of independent; where you can ‘sort of’ talk about things with authority, but deep down you’re secretly hoping that a real grown up will come along and tell you what to do.
Fast forward to 2016 and a lot has changed. In addition to running Petticoats and Patriarchy, and writing for Digital Women UK, I am now what I call a social media grown up.
Last summer, I completed a three month marketing internship for a technology company, where my main role was to write blog posts. Turns out I’m quite good at it because the company asked me to stay on after my internship was over. I now work part-time for them, writing blog posts and assisting with other marketing tasks.
In September 2015 I also became the social media and marketing intern for a small Oxfam bookshop in my university city of York. I wrote blog posts, ran the shop’s social media accounts, recruited new volunteers and generally oversaw the day-to-day digital stuff.
These roles have helped to dramatically change the way I view myself. Whereas before, I was someone who used social media, now I consider myself to be someone who does social media. I’m hesitant to call myself an expert, but I definitely feel confident telling people that I know what I’m doing when it comes to social media.
In fact, I’m now enough of an expert that the technology company I work for asked me to do a presentation on social media to the whole marketing team, and to create a plan detailing how I would run their social media accounts.
Before I would have balked at the opportunity and mumbled something about not being qualified to give advice. Instead I stood up in that meeting, armed with my statistics and experience, and explained to the team exactly what I could offer.
I’m still learning, of course. I’m only just learning how to use social media in a truly professional sense. I’m also learning how to shift my focus away from thoughts and towards strategy, such as what will my audience want to see? When should I tweet? How often should I update social media? What is the best way to engage with audiences who are also customers? How do I get the right balance between personality and professionalism?
I’m excited to figure out the answers to these questions and I’m also excited to see what 2016 has in store. I’m not sure where I’ll be, or what I’ll be doing, but one thing is for certain: I am coming of age and I am confident – in my skills, in my ability to use social media, and in myself.
Picture credit: Women jumping/rosalynclare-coaching.co.uk
About the author
Olivia Woodward is a blogger, social media and marketing consultant, social media enthusiast and history student at the University of York. She has been actively involved in student journalism from the age of 16, writing on a wide range of topics from politics to theatre to fashion. In 2014 she launched Petticoats and Patriarchy, a blog that tackles social justice issues and popular culture from a feminist perspective. Since then, she has become increasingly interested in the way that women are using the internet to speak out against injustices, and the effect that the digital world is having on young women and girls globally. On Digital Women UK, Olivia will blog on social media trends that impact on women and young girls, intersectionality and intends to highlight examples of digital platforms being used to innovate the way women communicate and share online.