Blog Post #2: My Experience

My position was mostly what I expected it to be, but not exactly. I did expect to work on the USLPA’s social outreach, which is the jist of it. However, there is a lot more to my work– both logistically and objectively. When I approached this internship, I had different ideas of the goal of this. As with my previous experience, I expected to be attempting to grow the page at all costs. This meant focusing on expanding demographics, creating entertaining designs, and using typical social outreach strategies.

That was until I learned what the goal of the organization actually was. I had to understand the ins and outs of the USLPA, what the purpose of a labor union was, and the legal side of collective bargaining agreements. Once I understood that, I had a more precise grasp on how to run this kind of page. It was not merely about gaining as many followers as possible. It had to be dealt with in a professional manner and used to adhere to the interests of the union itself. This meant using the same format as previously and posting things that are important for getting the message across– not for adjusting to the wider audience that may not be as interested in what the USLPA stands for. Again, this is not about gaining as many followers, likes and comments as possible. It is about how it can help inform and unite those who it is directed towards (mainly players), and how it can be perceived by the public.

The World of Work is more realistic, and comes with more responsibility than university life. In academics, I feel as though everything comes in a natural flow, with work piling up as a professor decides and a more rigid schedule. Though this is necessary in education, it is a disingenuous way to live, as it is not how the real world runs. In my internship, some days are slower and some days are busier. I am faced with some regular and some unexpected tasks. I have a real life responsibility, one that is more than just about getting good grades. The work I am doing can impact the lives of many people, while giving me real life pressures that are an important experience for the future. It gives me a feeling of doing something truly meaningful.

This internship is teaching me some valuable skills, both practical and informational. As I explained above, it is teaching me to adapt to a real world work environment. This is in terms of logistics and time management, as well as dealing with the pressures of things that have a real impact on people’s livelihoods. I am also building out a wider range of skills in graphic design and in my social media expertise. I have extensive experience with social media personally, so adding a professional level to that will make a big difference to me. I also have a unique interest in becoming proficient in graphic design and this is giving me that opportunity. In a world that is becoming more technologically dependent and revolving around social media, all organizations that want to be successful, in any industry, need to have a competitive online platform to promote, brand, and market themselves. Having the skills to do that is not only transferable, but a necessity in the world we live in today.

Again, the social media handles I am running are linked below:

InstagramTwitter

Some examples of the posts from Instagram and Twitter are shown below:

Blog Post #1: Introduction

1. Explain your site (mission, location, type of work, etc.)

This summer, I am interning with the USL Players Association (USLPA). The United Soccer League (USL) is North America’s largest professional soccer organization, which oversees the USL Championship, USL Super League, USL League One, USL W League, USL League Two, and the USL academy. The USLPA is a labor union that currently represents all the players signed to a standard player contract in the USL Championship (men’s professional second division) and USL League One (men’s professional third division). The goals of the USLPA are to advocate for and advance the interests, terms and conditions of its players, to bargain on their behalf, and to increase the popularity of the league as well as soccer as a whole in the United States. I am running the USLPA’s social media platforms (Instagram and Twitter) in an effort to build its outreach and create a content plan going forward once I depart from this internship in August.

2. Describe the projects or tasks for which you are responsible and the impact your work will have on the greater organization. 

Specifically, the mission of this role is not to grow the page to as many followers as possible, but to use it to the advantage of the players association. The social media goal is the same as the organizational goal. I am focusing on two variations of objectives: How to engage players and how to grow a general audience. Engaging players is intended to build unity and collective identity as members of the league. It is also used to teach players about the labor union, what its goals are, who represents them, and to keep them updated about how negotiations are going. Growing a general audience is not about getting as many followers and as much engagement as possible. It is about a public impression of strength as well as growing the brand and interest in the USL. Both of these objectives are meant to be used for leverage in current and future negotiations. The USLPA is continuously fighting to improve conditions of the players, and strength and unity are two very important characteristics for having an authentic and persuasive approach to negotiations. Also, publicly perceiving this strength on social media can apply public pressure on policymakers and organizational leaders in the USL. My goal is to create a social media approach to growing the USL brand and portraying its strength.

3. What are your goals for learning this summer (from your WOW application)?

My learning goal this summer is to gain true, realistic experience in a field of interest to me. I have been involved in administering many social media accounts before, but I have never had control over a page as impactful as this. This will teach me a lot about the legal side of sports organizations, and I will be able to build hands-on skills running a page that can actually impact the lives of players. There is a professional pressure to post exactly the correct graphic, at the correct time, with a perfect caption, because any slip up there can have a consequential effect for the perception of the organization. Having this kind of responsibility will help me navigate this type of operation in the future. Going forward I am very interested in working with social media, branding and marketing for influential organizations, doing graphic design, and potentially working in the field of professional sports. This experience will give me the necessary tools and experience for all of the above.

Unfortunately, it will not let me submit media on here, but all of the media available is on the Twitter and Instagram pages that are linked in this (@USLPlayers).