WaPo Writer Uses Twitter to School Interns

There is little doubt that social media have made an impact on almost every walk of life. Many would agree that social networks have certainly impacted the world of academia. But what about when learning and professionalism meet, as during an internship? The way one newspaper reporter sees it, social media could be used to deliver a sort of informal education. Her creative approach might draw smiles and snickers, but there's also knowledge and experience to be found in her writings. Schools offering English Reading & Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

twitter

A Twitter Education

Meet Jenna Johnson. She's a reporter for The Washington Post, covering mainly higher education stories for the newspaper. She's also host of a weekly online chat addressing student life and runs a blog called 'Campus Overload'.

She's also known, at least on Twitter, as @wpjenna, where she introduces herself as a reporter and blogger who is 'fascinated by drinking fads, social media trends, admissions buzz & intern exploits.' As it turns out, Twitter allows Jenna to merge her interests in 'social media trends' and 'intern exploits': as @wpjenna, Jenna seems to have made it her mission, using the hashtag #THATintern, to sort of school interns through tweets. Click on any #THATintern link and you'll be taken to Jenna's 'Campus Overload' page where you'll find brief, amusing and enlightening information about interns.

Office etiquette. Dress codes. Printer maintenance. Participation on the company softball team. Most anything goes on #THATintern. The name of the hashtag comes from the expression 'Don't be that intern.' In other words, Jenna is going to show you how to be a great intern by telling you what NOT to do. Her witty, light-hearted observations and comments are meant to illustrate how NOT to act, what NOT to do or say, what NOT to wear and even how NOT to visit a Washington bar.

She even has names for certain types of interns. The 'caffeine addict intern.' The 'vacation intern.' The 'What Dress Code? intern.' The 'magical badge intern.' The 'earbuds intern.' And what about the unforgettable 'escalefter' intern? The latter is one who, Jenna says, 'leisurely putts along. . .on the left side of the escalator', getting in the way of throngs of morning rush-hour commuters on their way to work.

Jenna welcomes input from others as well. You'll find links to lists such as 'Best intern tweets of the week', 'Funny intern tweets of the week' and 'Greatest intern tweets of the week.' You could learn from, and surely laugh at, the words of wisdom displayed here. 'Interns: flip flops are not appropriate footwear at an event at a federal agency.' 'Word to future interns: DO NOT put headshots and describe your beauty pageant titles in your cover letter AND resume.' 'Promise of free food and overtime pay is a great way to get college interns to come to pointless lectures.'

So. . .don't be that intern who doesn't follow #THATintern. You might just learn a thing or two on how to be the best intern you can be. Or at least learn how NOT to be an intern!

Twitter might be able to help interns, but can it improve student performance? Find out how some professors have successfully incorporated the social networking vehicle into their classrooms.

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