Virtual Internships: Artificial or Real Internet Marketing Experience?

Internships provide a preview to the corporate lifestyle and fill us with experience so that we are ready to take on the business world. However, how valid is an internship that does not involve stepping into an office? Or even meeting the boss? Virtual internships provide an opportunity to gain experience without even leaving your room.

Now, there are some obvious parameters around these internships. Most often, virtual internships are heavily available in the “social media marketing” field (you won’t find them in the finance or accounting fields). These positions will involve promoting a product or service using various forms of social media, such as facebook or twitter. As easy and stress-free as these internships may sound, they are not always as easy as sitting on the couch and “facebooking.”

Usually, upon obtaining a virtual internship, you will also get a set of requirements, usually a quota of views or inquiries that must occur as a result of your practice. For example, an internship dealing with sports marketing may require that you blog about recent games or share video content promoting the company for which you’re working. Yes, blogging about sports does seem easy enough (for those who are interested), but what is not so easy is promoting your content to get viewers to actually read it.

This month, I started a virtual internship with ShortForm TV, though my position is called “ShortForm Community VJ” because, as I said, the ability to call my experience an internship is contingent on my fulfillment of 50 viewers per week, for 10 weeks. Being a community VJ, there are three main duties to fulfill:

First: I had to create at least one channel of related video content. These videos can be pulled from youtube, vimeo, or even hulu. For my channel, I chose the theme and title “Forgotten HipHop Music.”

Second: For ten weeks I must promote my channel through various forms of social media. So far I have made use of the following sites: facebook, twitter, tumblr, blogger, stumbleupon, and pinterest. This is the bulk of the internship and the most time consuming.

Third: this duty is an underlying one and is definitely the most important and marketing relevant. Not only do I have to promote my channel, but I have to make sure that I am targeting my social media use as well as possible. For instance, on facebook I have built relationships with various hiphop related group administrators to promote my channel and allow me to post the link in the group every week. On tumblr, the use of appropriate and relevant tags is key to the appearance of my page in searches.

Overall, my virtual internship has been a great learning experience for me and I feel as though I have learned a lot about not only internet marketing through this process, but also about entertainment marketing. I would say to never underestimate the experience that a virtual internship can give, especially in the field of marketing and/or advertising.


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