Many students commute to the nearest big city from where they live to complete an internship. I was expecting to do the same, but then I was introduced to an agency called True Digital Communications, based out of Solon, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb. True Digital’s founder and principal, Chris Baldwin, told me he had grown tired of commuting and had set out to create his own place to work.
Fast forward, and I’m now a little over halfway finished with my summer internship at True. True employees can work from any location that has an Internet connection. Instead of commuting to an office every day, my commute is often only from my bed to my kitchen table. To switch it up, sometimes I work at local coffee shops around Kent, Ohio, where I live and attend school at Kent State University.
How We Connect
Despite not being in the same physical location, everyone sticks together at True. Every morning at 9 a.m. we have a team “huddle” video chat on Google+. It’s an easy way to see everyone’s faces, learn what’s going on for the day, and pitch in when someone needs help. Once a week, the whole team meets in person at a northeastern Ohio coffee shop or restaurant. True team members do often meet for in-person meetings throughout the week, but we operate on the rule that everyone is only a phone call or Google+ chat away, and that’s one of True’s best characteristics. There’s no time lost on a commute.
As an intern, I was thrown into this world on my first day at one of the weekly in-person meetings. I met all of the team members, then I continued my week with True’s daily Google+ hangouts. Since then, I’ve learned about digital analytics, media lists, client research, blogging, Google Adwords, social media measurement and plenty of other indispensible tools for an aspiring public relations professional like me. I have a feeling True Digital Communications is part of a larger, very successful trend in the public relations field.
Look At All Internship Options – and How to Succeed
My advice to any students hunting for an internship is: Don’t count out any kind of internship. I’ve learned so much from mine. Thankfully, I entered my internship with no pre-conceived notions. Of course, it’s important to remember that I’m still interning at a real company doing real work for real clients. Just because my work is primarily digital doesn’t mean it’s any less important.
All PR internships require:
An internship — whether traditional, nontraditional, or anywhere in between — is a very serious and exciting opportunity. Don’t pass one up just because it’s out of your comfort zone! You might be surprised at how much you learn and take with you to your first job out of school.
About the blogger
This is a guest post by Ryan Collins, a senior public relations student at Kent State University and True Digital Communications’ 2012 summer intern. He is next semester’s PRSSA Kent online media manager and was a participant in the PRSSA 2012 Bateman Case Study Competition. He loves to spend time with his boyfriend, travel and cook vegetarian food. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ryanscollins and check out his PR blog at http://www.smartblogged.wordpress.com