Journalism is changing. With the advent of the blog, podcasts and pretty much everything going digital, it seems like everyone thinks they’re the press. Add social media to the mix and it becomes undeniable that the traditional landscape of a career in marketing and communications takes on a new shape.
Meet, Adena Andrews, USC grad, ESPN Alum, and my featured social media rockstar.
A Conversation with a Social Media Rockstar:
A: …See how it’s applying to my career in news, you know it’s actually the fun stuff I did at night when I worked at the NBA – I would edit and do all these other things but then I couldn’t wait to get on Tweetdeck – I wanted to go talk to all these people, be on Tweetdeck all night and you know, especially working from 6PM until 3 o’clock in the morning, a lot of times the people on Tweetdeck were my only friends (laughter), so you know, well not my only, I did have like two other coworkers that were friends but I mean, it’s such a short staff, so it’s like you only have these people around to talk to.
On Being an Early Adopter of Social Media Marketing:
Did you pursue social media specifically as a career or did you start off as a writer and just kinda fall into social media because it was the direction things were going?
A: That’s the thing. ESPNW didn’t exist. ESPNW is not a magazine, it’s actually a website. But social… didn’t exist… and no one had a job in it when you graduated so I can’t say I came out of school like…
You know you actually had a job in social media… My first foray in social media as a professional… My first foray into social media was personal, as I think most people were, you know on your personal Facebook and personal twitter and then all of a sudden, people started to see how this could work towards work and I was messing around with it at night, you know. No one really took it seriously and so I realized, this is the enjoyable part of what I do. So I’m like, let me try and turn this into a career if that makes sense.
What was your first memorable challenge working in social media?
A: I will say live tweeting events… You know, you go there and you think, my phone’s always gonna work. But in fact when you’re at a large event where there are over 60,000 plus people – cell phone signals get cramped and you can’t get your live tweets through. So I will say, the first time that happened was when I was at the US Women’s National Team send-off game in New Jersey, which was early this summer. I was sitting in the press box and I was trying to send updates about, “First goal of the first half,” and it would not go through. And then all of a sudden it got stuck in the cloud up there somewhere… and all of a sudden goes through in second half. Of course, I deleted it immediately. But the lack of signal and the lack of being able to do my job… My job is completely dependent upon internet connectivity. So after that, I made sure that I always had a game plan for internet connectivity.
On Training New Talent:
A: ESPN as a whole brings in interns and our intern this year… I’ve had interns previously and brought them on, trained them, and yeah, taught them all about social media. You know, lots of people come in and say, “Yeah, I know all about social media, I have a Twitter account.” And part of me is like, “So, do you tell photographers that you’re a photographer because you have an iPhone? It’s not really the same.” So, I think any time you can learn something from someone, I think you should definitely sit and listen. And so I think eventually when they, the interns put together some drop copy for me, some ideas for me and I come back to them and… like…well this is why we can’t do this, or we should do this instead, and this is more engaging. You know best practices… And then I think they realize, “Wow, this is kind of a science in itself. It’s not just Tweeting emojis – even though I do that too.”
The Top 3 Requirements to Be on Her Team:
1. Having that little voice in the back of your head that constantly questions you. I think that’s really important because sometimes you don’t have someone to bounce something off of or you kinda gotta think, “O.K. if that little voice in the back of my head says this, how many other millions of people out there will relay this message the same exact way?”
2. Photoshop Skills: When I say, “Photoshop skills,” I don’t necessarily mean the brand Adobe, but you should know how to crop, edit, and color a photo. Because photos can make the difference between… engagement and one without it. We need a photo. And you have to know what an engaging photo looks like. So photo image skills are very important.
3. Language Skills: I think anyone should realize, you have to be a grammarian and a writer in order to be in touch with me. Because not only are you writing, you have to convey full fledge thought behind word articles in 140 characters. While Facebook does not have a word-count, there is a recommended word-count and I keep all my posts between 15 to 19 words and I still have to convey the thoughts and make them engaging and make someone click in that amount of words. So it requires you to be a writer.
Who or What Inspires You to Be Your Authentic Self?
A: You know, I have to ask myself sometimes, “Are we our authentic selves every day, in every aspect?”
“I think our authentic selves are multifaceted.”
“Sometimes, I’m like, ‘Yo, I’m the top chick from Brooklyn, this is how I am and I don’t take any crap and this is how I am… blah, blah, blah. But if I was like that all the time, I would have never succeeded in life.
But then I’m also the educated person with 2 degrees and worked for numerous top companies. But if I just fell back on all that all the time, I wouldn’t have the hustle that put me through life.
My authentic self is multifaceted and the thing that inspired me to be my authentic self is my family. They keep me grounded, they check me whenever I get out of line and they let me know that you know, I am not the sun. Things do not revolve around me. But I should walk and operate as if it does. Walk and act as if who I am and what I do on this earth is important.”