War Room. Command Center.
These phrases can be applied to both the rooms that wars are planned in, and rooms that social media managers take over during events. The outcomes of these scenario’s may be different, but if you’ve been in either of those rooms, the intensity of the people within the room cannot be denied. Generals are moving their soldiers and other assets around a battlefield, and social media managers are moving their pictures, videos, copy, and other assets around their different networks. The assets may be different, but the ferocity within these people and unwillingness to lose, whether to the enemy or to the competitor, is the same.
Over the last few weeks, I had the pleasure of helping plan a small social media campaign (emphasis on the small) around a professor who was involved in an event during Communication Week at West Texas A&M University. It culminated in me and two of my team members in our War Room while our other two members were at the event giving us media and information to use in our social media networks to help promote our professor.
To give a little background on the event: it’s called Project Runway, and it is an event where five professors are given a character based on a chosen theme (this year it was storybook characters), dressed by a team of students, and then a panel of judges and the audience decide who portrayed their character the best. The winner receives the crystal pumpkin.
This was an incredible experience. Being alone in a room with my teammates and having to rely on the people at the event to tell us what was happening and when we should post what, was a unique experience I will remember for a long time. I also really appreciated the people who were in the room with me and helped me phrase our posts in the most simultaneously professional but funny way.
Something that surprised me about this experience was how fast it went. The event itself was just under an hour, but I was oblivious to time passing and it was over before I thought it would be. I was so busy keeping up with the content our group needed to put out during the event and responding to comments from other groups and individuals talking with us that the hour passed by much quicker than I thought it would.
I think the best part of this whole experience was an exchange I had with another group throughout the event. It started with a tweet from a friend of mine which supported both my group’s professor and another professor, who was portraying Mary Poppins. So to start up a conversation, I thanked her for her support, but asked her if our professor was her favorite. She responded in the affirmative, but added on that the Mary Poppins gave her popcorn, so she was still in the middle between the two. Before I could add onto that, a member from the other group replied to our tweets with a quip about how supercalifragilisticexpialidocious their popcorn was, and our conversation took on a life of its own after that. We spent the rest of event bringing in different aspects of our professors to lightly mock the other one and add onto the brand we had built for our professor.
But I wouldn’t have been able to respond as quickly or as eloquently as I did during this exchange without my teammates giving me advice on how to phrase my thoughts and what would elicit the most laughter from anyone watching our conversation. I’ve done group projects before, and been a part of teams during events, but this was special. I got along well with all of my team members and when it came down to the actual event, we all worked really well together.
Being a part of this event from the side of marketing and social media management was such a unique experience that I know I was very privileged to get to do. Not many classes, or even universities, offer such specific and hands-on opportunities in class. I figured out that this is probably not the career for me, but I enjoyed it enough that I want to keep experiencing it and attempt to incorporate it into my future career.