Internship Diary: On-Brand

When I was a junior in high school, Julie Rutland of PATTERN magazine came to my school to introduce us to the small corners of Indy’s fashion scene. I was so much younger; probably wearing an amalgamation of streetwear and the same black Vans I’d worn for two years, trying desperately to move my brand past the point of being just a logo on a hoodie. Before that moment, I thought the brand I had started that semester was a needle in the haystack of the Midwest fashion scene. Little did I know that from that point I would go on to participate in the first two PATTERN STREETExPOs in 2016 and 2017, and to become a PATTERN intern this summer. This proved to me that I was not alone.

Coming in as a Social Media intern I truly thought I had it all figured out. Family and friends would snicker at the title, and the other interns and I joked about my “extensive” responsibilities on the first day. A post here, a post there. A story here, a story there. Basic stuff that all millennials are capable of.

The assumption that the knowledge of managing my brand’s Instagram feed would carry over to PATTERN’s was dead wrong. Over time, the summation of my posts was starting to bog down the aesthetic of PATTERN’s accounts. Engagement over all of the posts was starting to dip. The professional look that was there was on the decline. After a brief talk with Polina at a rained-out St’Art Up 317 event, I relearned every small aspect that goes into posting and sharing content.

Since that rocky start, I initiated a data collection Excel spreadsheet that collected times of post, impression, reach, media, type, time, profile visits, and website clicks (to name a few). From all of this I adapted PATTERN’s posting schedule to reflect the best of the data. In my free time I collected all of the past editorials and organized them into volumes so that future Social Media interns would have a well of content to pull from. Learning where PATTERN’s media goes (Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram) based off demographics became a daily task. All of these tasks became more simple as I worked out the issues of each day.

Social media is constantly changing. First, Instagram only posted pictures. Then they introduced stories to compete with Snapchat. Finally, they started “IGTV” to compete with YouTube. The job of managing social media is more than just pressing the share button. I learned that the title and meaning of Social Media intern changed every single day I walked in. Am I curating the content or pulling it from our digital features? Will I be posting about the third annual STREETExPO or will I be actively looking for potential vendors? More often than not, the title was all-encompassing. And I was more than willing to lend an extra pair of hands wherever I was needed. Even if it was for building IKEA furniture.

Coming in I had to have my girlfriend teach me the facets of Instagram stories. By the end, I was teaching her. Mindless posting on my own brand’s Instagram account became more precise. I started an excel spreadsheet of my own to keep up with my changes. I learned how to better interact with people through an outlet that continues into the unforeseeable future with exponential growth: a screen. Polina taught me how to stay on-brand; a word that will inevitably be seared into my mental whenever I make any brand decision in the future. Like-minded people inspired my work ethic and creativity in and outside of the internship. PATTERN’s branding and message for the local community of creatives is something I hope to have in the future. Until then, Polina’s dedication and passion for the magazine, the friendships I made at the internship, and the knowledge I was challenged to learn are takeaways enough.

I’m the same kid with black Vans and graphic tees. This time, however, I’m more confident in my own vision because of PATTERN.

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