By: Margeaux Koepele
One of the wonderful things about PR is it’s usefulness in almost every form of business. Yes, tweeting about Taylor Swift’s latest break-up is probably more exciting than posting about your company’s fiscal statistics, but the people with these jobs are essentially doing the same things. Representing a brand, fostering relationships between a business and its clientele, and monitoring the flow of information to the public are all involved in any PR position. In my opinion, this is great news! We frequently hear about opportunities to work in a variety of areas of public relations, whether it be agency, government, or non-profit. This is because, no matter what industry we’re in or what position each of us holds, we are all working on a similar agenda.
As much as you’d like to listen to what people say about work being exactly that (work), I have found that we probably have one of the coolest career fields out there. Public relations is EVERYWHERE and some of the jobs that we fill are surprisingly entertaining. I’m not saying that I ever thought all jobs in PR were going to be boring, but after beginning at my internship this semester I can confidently say that a career in public relations has the potential to be massively enjoyable.
Now, I have done some fairly embarrassing things in my 19 years of (pretty awesome) life. I’ve had my share of dropping trays of food on the cafeteria floor or being caught intently staring at the cute boy who usually sits in front of me in COM 391. That being said, there is one thing that trumps all else, as far as deep, dark, embarrassing secrets go: celebrity crushes. If you won’t admit to having one then you’re either lying or you grew up a sad, Zac Efron-less childhood. In my case, my imaginary relationship with the 5 members of One Direction lasted for just shy of two years and, though it pains me to admit, this phase has a lot to do with where I am today.
With today’s technology, modern day fangirls have taken over social media sites. If you’ve never searched a top-tier celebrity on Twitter, I highly suggest taking a few minutes to do so. The fandom activity is intense. These teens have found that, through social media, they can connect with millions of other fans to create what is almost a virtual shrine to their respective “idols.” I was one of those girls. Sometime between graduating from the eighth grade and packing up for 2 weeks of sleep-away camp that summer, I discovered One Direction and their fandom’s online presence and thus, the obsession began. Within just a few months, I had accumulated around 15,000 followers, and an additional 60,000 within a year. By the time reality struck and I began to fall away from this lifestyle, I was pushing 115,000 followers, 3 of which were actual members of the band.
Yes, I had elevated myself to elite status in the fandom. I was Directioner royalty, and I loved it. Social media had become an addiction. It wasn’t until people from my high school started to discover my page that I began slipping away from it all. You can only hide so much before everyone knows, so I eventually made the very difficult decision to save myself from social suicide and deactivate the account.
Now, you can laugh, because it really is hilarious, but the countless hours I spent following those five, admittedly really cute, international popstars actually primed me for some of the work that I am doing today. I know, how in the world could that have done anything beneficial for me, let alone prepared me for a job in the real world? Honestly, it probably wasn’t a necessity and I think I would have been pretty good at what I’m doing without going through that phase, but it did help.
For the past month and a half I have been interning for Meridian Entertainment Group and the Common Ground Music Festival in downtown Lansing. At MEG, I am involved in all public relations and marketing needs, including updating social media accounts. Ah, now you’re starting to understand! What once seemed to be hours wasted behind a computer screen is now an actual real-life position. Granted, I don’t spend my days tweeting about Harry Styles’ hair or sending Liam Payne direct messages on Twitter, but I have a professional obligation to update social media. It’s really freaking cool.
My job isn’t just about social media, though I have found that PR is very heavily reliant on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Without them, the Common Ground Music Festival might not be as successful as it is today, in its 16th year of production. We, as future public relations professionals, could possibly be doing something just like this! I’m lucky enough to have found a career field that allows me to do things like this. Trust me, my friends in the Engineering College are jealous. Public relations becomes more and more of a perfect fit for me as time goes on. This internship and the work that I have done, both on social media and through research and press releases, has really solidified that for me. When I have had a real job for a few years, I think I’ll look back on my time as a One Direction fangirl and laugh because, though it may have been a bit excessive, I have found a use for it in my professional life, and I am very proud of what I have accomplished thus far.