one thing I want to say today relates to my current job. (As you guys know, I’ve left off working in science labs to work an office job in sci comm. My role is kind of … nebulous and involves a lot of “oh, Elodie can help you with that, she does weird stuff. Train Elodie on that.”)
Because it’s an office job, the mentality is for everyone to present their workflows as incredibly difficult and skilled, requiring a lot of training and experience to do properly. Which is fair enough! These skills are difficult!
"Elodie, today we are going to train you to use… A HIGHLY COMPLICATED AND DIFFICULT WEBSITE INTERFACE. You will need to take a lot of notes and pay careful attention, because it is extremely advanced. ARE YOU READY"
"… This is Wordpress."
"…No it isn’t! it says something different at the top. And it’s very complicated, it’s not something you can just know already."
"Nah son, don’t worry, it’s Wordpress. I mean, God knows I don’t blog much, but I can manage me a bit of Wordpress, it’s cool."
"No. You can’t. Don’t worry, it’s very difficult. Now sit still and be trained on how to upload a photo to Wordpress."
"Elodie, do you think that you can MANAGE SOCIAL MEDIA? It is INCREDIBLY HARD and may involve THE HASHTAGS"
"… I think I’ll manage."
"Elodie, can you put a HYPERLINK in a thing? Think about it before you answer."
"Is it like a BBCode kind of thing, with the boxy bracket things, or do you want it in HTML, with like angley bracket things?"
"It is a button that you press that says HYPERLINK."
"I can do this thing for you."
"Elodie, can you write a punchy summary that will make people want to click on a special link that says "read more" to read all of the text?"
"Elodie, this is how to use TAGS on CONTENT. TAGS on CONTENT are important because - because of THINGS. Things that are too arcane and mysterious for anyone below the level of Manager to know."
"Cool, I can tag stuff for you."
"Elodie, this is obviously a ridiculous question, but can you edit videos?"
"Not very well, and only if you want to make it look like there is sexual tension between characters from different forms of visual media, or perhaps to make a trailer for a fanfiction? Which is not necessarily a good use of my time and I’m not sure why I felt it was so cool to do to begin with…"
"Actually, upon further reflection: no. No. Nope. I can’t edit videos. They’re completely beyond me. Not in my wheelhouse. Hate videos. Hate them. No innate skill whatsoever."
"That’s what we thought"
"Elodie?! You can use PHOTOSHOP?!"
"Yeah, I mean, I usually just use Pixlr. It’s free, it’s online, it’s powerful, you don’t have to download anything…"
"but you are not a GRAPHIC DESIGNER!!"
"Next you’ll be telling us you can MAKE AN ANIMATED PICTURE."
"I mean, I haven’t really done a lot of it since Livejournal, and they weren’t that good anyway, but yeah… I can do you reaction images."
"THAT IS WITCHCRAFT"
What I’m trying to say is: a lot of people talk a lot of crap about what we Millenials do on the Internet, because there is NO CAPITALISTIC VALUE in the screwing around we do with our friends. “Ughh why are you ALWAYS on the computer?” our parents whined.
"How did you make the text go all slanty like that?" our bosses wonder.
We have decades of experience in Photoshop. We know how to communicate; we can make people across the planet care about our problems. We know how to edit media to make two characters look like they’re having the sexual tensions. We can make people read our posts, follow us, share our content. We run and manage our own websites - and make them pretty. We moderate conversations, enforce commenting policies, manage compromises, lead battles, encourage peace, defend ourselves from attack, inspire others, and foster incredible levels of communication.
We produce our art. We advertise our art. We engage with others through our art. We accept constructive criticism and dismiss destructive trolling of our art. We improve our art. Our art gets better.
We narrate our stories.
All by ourselves. Our pretty blog backgrounds, custom-edited themes, tasteful graphics, punchy content, clever gifs, our snappy putdowns and smart-ass text posts, even our familiarity with fonts and composition - all of these skills we’ve casually accumulated for fun/approval are MINDBLOWING LEVELS OF COMPETENCE IN THE WORKFORCE.
When these skills are sold to you - when they’re packaged and marketed, and when you pay to consume them and have the Elders rate you on them - they are incredibly valuable. They are Media and Communications degrees. They are marketing internships. They are leadership workshops. They are graphics design modules. They are web design courses. They are programming courses. We are good at this shit; we have it nailed down.
You can’t put “fandom” or “blogging” on your CV, but you deserve to. You should get this credit. You should claim this power and authority.
Claim these skills. They are valuable. They are important.
Everything you have ever done is a part of your powerful makings.
This you can put in your CV:
Logged over five hundred hours of intensive social media usage, including but not limited to, marketing own visual art, successfully creating viral pieces, and engaging in internet activism.
Extremely apt typist and good at communicating in the written word due to having grown up in a generation reliant on textual communication for socializing.
Able to interact fluently in with the millenial demographic, with in-depth knowledge of preferences and social norms.
Talent with visual arts creation in a variety of Photoshop-like programs such as GIMP/Paint.Net/Photoshop CS2/w/e.
Knowledge of many web-applications, such as Wordpress, the Google Suite, Dropbox and others; as well as a general disposition and background for quickly understanding any application from the web-app paragdime.
Knowing pop culture references is also a job skill, depending on your job. If you do commission work, and a client is trying to describe what they want but can’t put it into words, the easiest way to figure it out is to throw 10 references at them and see which ones stick. Pop culture references are excellent linguistic shorthand if you’re working in any media field in any creative capacity. “Oh you want it to be creepy. Like, The Ring creepy? Or like Human Centipede creepy?” “We want the gameplay to be kinda like Diablo III, or like, did you ever see the trailer for Secret Ponchos?” ”We want a modern sound, but still kind of retro…ish. Like Super Mario Bros. meets Daft Punk.” “We want character design to be kinda like Adventure Time but more chibi.”
As someone who has received not one, but three emails today from the central website staff earnestly (and bitchily, because they know how to do those things at once) explaining how to write out an acronym and also “write accessible articles”, all the while I had to remind THEM they’d locked me out of half the website (they wanted me to fix something on one of the locked pages) for the third time, and I’m not the one with an academic education in web design or coding…yes. So very yes.
it’s literally called “From Feels to Skills: Putting Fandom on Your Resume” bc fuck yes you should and can do that
This is pretty much how I got my first real internship/job.
True story, I once got an entry-level barely-tech-ish job because, despite applying for a copyediting position, under “additional skills” on my resume I had listed HTML, CSS, Wordpress and other content management systems, basic Photoshop skills. They were meh on my copyediting, but wanted a web producer to get their content online. It was all stuff I’d learned for fun during my adolescence online.
I just passed my seven year anniversary at that company; I am the co-director of my team now. It’s a vastly different job (and barely involves those skills anymore), but I got my foot in the door and experience on that team because of this stuff.