Jed Cohen

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Virtual Internships in the Wall Street Journal

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I was quoted (dare I say featured?) in an article in the Wall Street Journal about virtual internships yesterday.  It mentions my experiences working as a virtual intern for both Careerealism and Squidoo.  Both have been amazing experiences that have taught me quite a bit and also put me in touch with a whole bunch of people across the globe.

More on my overall thoughts on virtual internships later; just wanted to post this for now.

Written by Jed

September 30th, 2009 at 10:22 am

How Do You Do, Squidoo?

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One of the pretty very interesting people I follow on Twitter is Susan Villas Lewis.  I started following her because someone (I forget who) tweeted about her job search.  Instead of going out and submitting resumes, Susan decided to hire a boss.  Which I think is awesome.  It’s an amazing, creative spin on the often frustrating job hunt and something I wish I had thought of myself – although I don’t have anywhere near the kind of qualifications Susan has.  Anyway, a few days ago she tweeted about this internship at Squidoo with Megan Casey, the Squidoo Editor-in-Chief.  Seeing as to how my internship with Careerealism is ending soon, I’ve decided to go ahead and apply.

You know, it’s kind of funny that through my college career, when people often intern everywhere, I basically worked in one place.  Now that I’ve graduated, I’m applying for internships even with a full time job.

But that’s beside the point.  The point is that the application process is to create a Squidoo lens featuring what you’ve done.  So I did.  It’s all about my undergraduate degree, and it’s kind of a chronological walk through my experience at Gallatin.  Check it out (although some of the content was featured here, so it may be a bit of a repeat).

I’ve been working on it for the last few days, and it was an interesting experience.  Any Squidoo lens consists of a series of modules, and you can mix and match modules to create the layout you want.  It’s an interesting system, kind of a mixture of blogging and outside sources of content.  I was able to tie in videos, photos, and Amazon listings into the lens, and it’s that last bit that is particularly interesting.

Squidoo’s revenue is split, 45% to the company, 5% to charity, and 50% to the writer.  And it’s across your lens, so it includes Amazon referrals and Google ad revenue.  I like that they let you donate everything to charity (which is what I’ve done).  I also see the potential for spam – don’t you?

Overall, creating the lens was quite a fascinating and reflective experience, even if I’m not selected for the internship.  I also wonder how many people have joined Squidoo in hopes of landing a position (by the way, Megan commented on the internship announcement saying they’ve already received 50 submissions, so this ought to be interesting), so from that perspective alone I find this interesting.

Do you use Squidoo?  If so, how?  I’m going to start working on another lens soon, but I need some ideas.  Leave a comment and let me know what you think I should write on!

Written by Jed

August 6th, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Twinterns Anonymous

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Hi, my name is Jed, and I’m a twintern.  This is my story.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed a lot of posts tagged with #career lately.  No, I haven’t suddenly become an expert on careers (far from it really) – I’m twintering for Careerealism.  Founded by J.T. O’Donnell, Careerealism is a blog/discussion forum focused on offering advice concerning the shifting concept of “career.”  I first came across Careerealism as my graduation was approaching, and I started searching Twitter for career advice.  Careerealism runs a “Twitter Advice Project” that lets a number of career experts answers reader’s questions via Twitter, so that was something I quickly stumbled across.  And as I followed Careerealism’s tweets, I noticed that they were looking for twinterns.

Now I do have a day job.  I’m not going to talk about it here (ever), but as I was thinking about what I wanted to do after graduation, I decided to go ahead and apply for this internship with Careeralism, because, well, why not?  It’s not really something I’d ever done before, and since I am pretty interested in social media, it’s right up my alley.

So what do I do as a twintern?  I tweet.  The whole idea is to help grow Careerealism’s brand awareness and to spread links to and articles on the site.  It’s marketing on Twitter.  J.T. has really embraced social media with the entire program, including in how she communicates with us – meetings occur via Justin.tv and a private Ning network, where we discuss what we’ll be tweeting about during the week, how we’ll be increasing the brand awareness of Careerealism, and also career advice (it wouldn’t be a website about careers if we didn’t).

The twinternship is a ten week program, and we’re about half way through at the moment.  It’s actually quite an interesting experience, because while I’ve been using Twitter for over a year now, it’s always been as an individual.  Tweeting for a brand is…..different.  I’ve already written a bit on how I like to use Twitter, which probably is not how you like to use Twitter (that’s the whole point by the way).  And it’s certainly not how a brand “should” use Twitter.  For example, I started unfollowing people who annoy me recently.  Is that a good thing for a brand?  Probably not, as reciprocity tends to rule the day on Twitter, and as there are a number of services that will follow and unfollow people for you automatically, unfollowing people is a good way to lower your own follower count.  This, of course, is not ideal, so long as we carry traditional advertising metrics like impressions and clickthroughs over to the social media space.  But what if we don’t?  What if we focus instead on the quality of the relationships we build online?

I’d like to thing that building relationships and letting brand awareness and trust build organically is more effective than pushing a brand upon people – I know it is with me.  Then again, I’m not an expert, and I’m pretty new at the whole tweeting for a brand thing (something I hope to write on in greater detail soon).  In the meantime, why don’t you tell me what you think?

Written by Jed

July 3rd, 2009 at 12:10 pm