The Niche Movement’s social media intern, Jaylene Perez, returns to discuss her recent networking trip to New York. A college senior, Jaylene was surprised to learn that landing a job is an organic process. It’s not about the perfect resume or the perfect cover letter. It’s about knowing the right people. Read about Jaylene’s experience chatting with marketing gurus at Bustle, Facebook, and Spotify, and remind yourself of the fundamental networking building blocks.
Here at TNM, we have a large community of people who are inspired by our words, tips, and real world advice. Last month we featured three of our contributing editors who help us generate content. This month we are featuring some members of our greater community who are equally as inspiring through the Tell Us Your Story: Young Professional Series here on our blog. These people have found their Niche, and want to share their story with you. Our third feature is young professional Ted Morman, who picked up and moved to Dc in order to switch from a long career in teaching finance to target careers in kleptocracy, foreign corruption, and illicit finance.
It started with a tweet...
Actually, it started with a depressed feeling after watching The Pianist and also failing at everything else I wanted to complete one rainy evening this past summer. To cope, I searched relentlessly on Netflix for a pick-me-up. I came across “Shelter Me”, a documentary highlighting the lives of shelter pets and how they have improved the lives of those who adopted them. In this process, new pet owners are providing these special animals another try at life, allowing them to avoid being euthanized and worse – living a life without love. After reading the summary, this was my tweet:
Consequently, @ShelterMeTV caught wind of my tweet, “favorited it”, and followed me. I am still new to Twitter etiquette (seeing that I only began using it for a few months) so my apologies if it seems weird to some people that I sent the account a DM thanking them for the follow. I also mentioned that I am from South Jersey and that I go to school in Philadelphia expressing my interest in helping out if they are ever filming in the area. To be honest, I did not expect a reply, let alone the announcement that they were actually filming in the Atlantic City vicinity in a month.
I offered my e-mail address, continued to send, what I thought, pestering DMs on any updates and waited weeks with little response. I actually began to forget about the opportunity once the semester started. But then I received an e-mail from Mr. Steven Latham, director and producer of the Shelter Me series asking if I was available to chat on the phone the following day.
Praise the Lord that I decided to skip my first class that day or else I would have missed his call. When I answered, he gave a quick summary of what the Shelter Me project is all about. The filming in Long Beach Island (LBI), NJ focuses on a bloodhound named Tex, who went from shelter animal to a beloved member of the LBI police force. He also became the delightful pet of Officer Mike Tyson of the LBI Police Department.
He then asked if I had ever done anything with film or productions. I replied no, I am Philosophy major. I was just a fan of the story. However, I did mention my growing interest in photography and how I basically took my dad’s old camera and messed around with it sometimes. He said great. Take the camera to take some pictures too.
The most amount of publicity my photos ever gain is being chosen for a friend’s new Facebook profile picture, let alone having them serve for a T.V. series’ documenting process.
Regardless, I traveled to LBI on a Sunday evening three weeks later with an apprehension of the thought of what I could have possibly just gotten myself into.
However, the next three days of helping Shelter Me’s production was more than I could ask for. My responsibilities on top of taking pictures included holding reflectors, posing as pseudo-Tex for camera angles, and assisting the crew with errands up and down the island. As simple as these tasks sounds, I was basking in the opportunity to be helpful in anyway. Being in the midst of the experienced team put me in complete awe. They have worked with National Geographic, the Travel Channel, MTV, as well as many other popular networks. They even worked together on The Future We Will Create, a documentary that tours the annual TED conference event. Officer Thompson has been working with the K-9 unit for almost a decade. He spent five years to get certified to train dogs like Tex, which he claims, “never stops.”
The most humbling of this experience, though, is found in the Shelter Me stories themselves. They glorify the dignity of shelter pets, giving them a second chance, and allowing them to form that bond between animals and humans that is impossible to describe within one blog post. Before Tex became an honored member of the LBI police force finding lost kids on the beach and chasing down car thieves, he was waiting in an enclosed area at a local shelter just hoping to know what was in store for the rest of his life.
Finding another niche...
I can’t say that I came back to school aiming to change my life and switch my major to something media related. I will say, however, that my time working with the Shelter Me project has encouraged me to use my progressive interest of taking pictures to tell stories like Tex’s in a creative and artistic way. I basically found another niche. Regardless of my wonderful experience and new perspective on the way I see photography and telling these sorts of stories, I am even more humbled by the fact that none of this would have happened had I not reached out to those involved via Twitter. Those who know me have heard my strong distaste for this social media paradigm, but I am willing to admit how wrong I was. It took something so minor to give me an experience I can say I will always be proud to be a part of. Call it fate, luck, divine intervention, but I think Forrest Gump said it best: “I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I think maybe it’s both.”
It ended with a tweet.
How I'm Using Social Media to Find My Niche
I had learned about the Niche Movement through the Assistant Director of Student Outreach and Support Wellness and Alcohol and Drug Education at Saint Joseph’s University, Katie Bean. She had invited me to the Mark Conference at Rutgers in February 2013 and since I enjoyed it so much, she directed me to the Niche Movement’s application process for their first online mentorship. At the time, I had my Facebook deactivated as my fasting for 40 days of Lent and I had hated the idea of having a Twitter. One of the reasons why I thought I needed to get away from Facebook was because of an increasing addiction to seeing that little red balloon pop up to fuel my self-esteem. I figured Twitter was not going to be any different.
Once the founder of the Niche Movement, Kevin O’Connell welcomed me into the Spring 2013 Cohort, it’s safe to say that my vice shrunk in swelling. Though I didn’t quite make it the 40 days (5 days early!), the separation helped me balance using Facebook for communication purposes and the occasional ‘facebook stalking’ (Admit it! I’m sure majority of people are guilty of this too!). This worked to my advantage now, seeing that I had to reactivate my Facebook to keep up with the Movement’s postings.
I also created a Twitter account, which honestly, was to my own dismay at first. After Kevin gave us a list of handles to follow, though, I immediately became attracted to the advantages Twitter yields. It’s been two or three months now, and I have already been exposed to how easy it is to communicate with certain associations and people that I’m interested in. Though I owe many laughs to accounts like Ugly People Problems and Funny Pokemon and many nostalgic memories of the past few months to 90s Girl Problems and It’s Boy Meets World, and I must apologize for my endless tweets to the Backstreet Boys in an attempt to win VIP tickets to 20th anniversary tour this summer.
Personally, I’m very interested in the fields of Psychology, Philosophy, and if any of those two relates to the concept of utilizing language, my heart explodes with passion. An aspiring future Speech Therapist, I’ve connected with grad students divulging both positive and negative experiences in pursuing the same field such as Life as a Speechie. I’ve been able to read up on research on therapeutic speech programs for both children and adults through accounts like Speedy Speech. I was reassured that the job market for Speech Therapy and Pathology is in high demand, thanks to PediaStaff, Inc. These sorts of connections, simply through reading Tweets, have reaffirmed what I want to do with my life.
I even created a page on about.me, which has the option to connect a Wordpress blog to it. To fluff my page even more, I’m actually in the process of creating a blog centralized on documenting my life through pictures and stories (which Twitter has also helped me with by expose me to different artists and writers!). If there’s one that I learned through the Niche Movement, it’s that there are loves and interests of mine that I can develop through the use of social media.