As I look out of the glass windows of The Edge office, almost at pedestrian level with the South Bank Boardwalk that runs along the Brisbane River, I wonder how many of the passers-by admiring the view realise how close they are to the busy, buzzing hive of technology, brainpower and ideas that lives only metres away.
I know I’ve certainly discovered things I never knew existed in my grand total of two official days as an Edge intern. I found out 3D printers are not science fiction but an actual reality (remind me to look back at this post in five years’ time and cringe at my naiveté); I learned that it’s much cooler to never act surprised at the obscure and baffling items strewn around the Edge offices (a personal Bingo game next to a homemade arcade game machine next to bags and bags of Ghost Drops!) and most importantly I discovered how stylish I look dressed in a vest made completely out of tea.
The Edge is one of those sprawling, open-plan offices where everyone seems to get a huge amount of work done while still managing to look cool as cucumbers. The great thing about this place is that although it looks like some kind of trendy, hipster café, with quirky posters on the walls and a floor-to-ceiling blackboard wall, they have really great programs here that help various people in a real and genuine way.
As a journalism student, I’ll mainly be involved with writing up two of these fab projects onto the website, both of which concentrate on combating the emerging phenomena of the ‘Digital Divide’: the Mobile Media Lab project, in which an indigenous community in Rockhampton is provided with a toolkit of iPads and MacBooks; and the Creative Community Computing project, where a group in the community is given computer hardware lessons, leaving with a new set of skills along with a refurbished computer to practise on. I’m thrilled to be helping out, and hope I can bring some exposure to these worthwhile projects.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be chatting to participants and those involved, exploring the most effective way of displaying the projects on the website, and trying madly to get Ghost Drop dye off my tongue.
This week I got to sit in on my very first staff meeting at The Edge – I feel more professional already! The meeting was relocated upstairs because Tegan and Beck gave an official presentation of the new plans for the website. It was awesome to be involved in the planning of such a big project and to be given the chance to contribute. I’d delve into further detail but I’m afraid it’s all rather top secret. Needless to say, exciting things will be coming up in the near future.
With week one down, I started off the second feeling like I was starting to get into the swing of things; certainly with all of the official introductions sorted it was time for me to translate some lovely chats into something that looked like a Staff Profile. By Thursday I’d knocked off a large chunk of the profiles and had a consultation with Beck, the Communications Manager (and also my supervisor). Initially apprehensive, I came out relatively unscathed and could still see plenty of white amongst the red on the page.
Jokes aside, it was quite a helpful process and Beck was full of constructive criticism. It’s definitely made me more relaxed about seeking help or advice on my writing, and to be less emotionally invested in my day-to-day work.
In other news, I’ve written a draft for my very first radio ad! The ad will run on 4ZZZ and is advertising two of the Clever Conventions from the Spring Series. Although it’s still a while off, the suspense is killing me. If you can’t wait until then to hear about the upcoming Clever Conventions, have a look in our Programs section on the website.
Today marks the end of my first week as an intern with The Edge (I’ve been told my official title is negotiable, though business cards will not be provided. Check this space later for any further development.)
The first thing I noticed about The Edge was how fantastic the space is; nestled between State Library and the Queensland Art Gallery, you’d not be blamed for missing it. Although I’d moseyed along the boardwalk, right past the office windows countless times, I’d never had the foggiest as to what lay beyond the glass. Inside on the first level are are a bunch of wondrous spaces, filled with couches, beanbags and projector screens that appear out of the ceiling! Combine this with an awesome view of the city and you’ve got a recipe for collaboration and inspiration (or maybe just distraction). But the coolest area, I think, is the basement, where the offices and other dark and mysterious corners can be found.
At one end of the basement is Lab 4, where, amongst other things, you can find a batch of Kombucha Tea (see photo), which the team have used to manufacture a unique fashion line (I’m still trying to get my head around it). At the other end you can find a Nerf Gun surplus, left overs from the last Zombie Climate Apocalypse that the building suffered (I tried to hide my devastation when hearing it was unlikely there would be another during my time here. I may have failed). The Edge is full of the weird and wonderful and has me anxious to start next week.
More wonderful and slightly less weird, are the inhabitants of the basement: the staff. The first task I’ve been given is to begin re-drafting staff profiles for the new website. This meant I first needed to spend some time getting to know everyone. Although I could give you a spiel about the particularities of each of the staff I’ve spoken with thus far, it’s suffice to say that they’re about as clever and diverse a bunch of people as you’re likely to find in any basement. Aside from an excellent opportunity to introduce myself and get to know the team, my first task gives me an opportunity to use some of my skills (no one has challenged me to a staring competition yet) in a professional context. It’s very rewarding to be able to begin making connections between your university education and how you might be able to apply it in the real world (thank you QUT).
It’s Friday and 5pm is quickly approaching so you’ll have to wait to hear more about this creative-wonder-factory. Otherwise I’d suggest coming down and having a look for yourself.
What better way to start the day than with a friendly Edge team meeting? If everybody were greeted with cake and smiling faces each morning the world would be a better place! The team meetings are brief and productive, and it’s nice to hear what the other departments have been doing and how we all work together to create the bigger Edge picture. The issue of measuring social profit was raised in the meeting, which got me thinking – just how do you measure social profit?
With a head full of questions and a belly full of cake I set off to work on refining my campaign strategy for the gaming quarter, thinking about how marketing tools can contribute to enhancing social profit in an enterprise like The Edge. An email from Beck on Social Media’s Biggest Screw-Ups offered a welcome distraction from strategising, and highlighted how clever PR can result in a ‘social media save’ to minimise damage resulting from uncontrollable social media bloopers.
We then took a closer look at MailChimp report statistics and discussed tools to maximise e-newsletter opening and click through rates. Beck highlighted the importance of catchy subject lines (anything with ‘jobs’ in the heading guarantees a high open rate – clearly, who wouldn’t want to work at The Edge?!) Hyperlinks that appear twice have proven to increase click through rates as well, and MailChimp also allows you to compare statistics against similar businesses to check how your business rates.
In other news, I now know the definition of a Meme, and with my new and improved Klout score of 52 I’m going to spend the rest of the afternoon thinking up ways to create a meme for the Edge gaming quarter. And without giving too much away, there are some not-to-be-missed events and workshops in the gaming pipeline!
In the beginning I felt like the awkward adolescent at Christmas lunch who is forced to sit on the join between the adults’ table and the kids’ table – stuck in developmental transition.
I’ve found one of the hardest parts about transitioning from a university student into a professional environment is finding my voice – not only having the confidence to speak up and ask questions, but to be forthcoming with ideas and concepts that may actually become valuable and implementable aspects of a communications campaign. It was with this in mind that I approached the week’s task.
I felt somewhat unprepared going into my first brief from The Edge programming team, not knowing exactly what to expect or if my questions and concerns would be validated. Fortunately, Beck prepared us for the gaming quarter brief with a communications campaign strategy template. This was useful in prompting us to think of questions and ideas we had about the projects that we could raise with the programming team.
As gaming is not something I have ever been interested in or even familiar with, I found it challenging to get my head around the gaming mentality and terminology. The programming team were however able to clearly articulate what the projects entailed and Beck was on hand to fill in the gaps and guide the briefing process…Phew!
Armed with a better understanding of the gaming projects’ aims and objectives I walked away from the meeting feeling confident that I made a valuable contribution to my first briefing and was later able to translate my notes into a draft for my second attempt at a communications campaign strategy. Let the games begin!
As a self-confessed social media addict I’ve always been interested in just how influential (or otherwise) my activity on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr is amongst my friends and followers. As it turns out, with a Klout score of ten I’ve got a long way to go before I join the influential likes of Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson. Today I learnt the relevance of using Klout in a marketing capacity, where it is possible to determine opinion leaders in a particular field and harness these people to channel campaign communications to a target audience.
This week we explored a variety of online analytical tools such as Google analytics, inbuilt link backs, Facebook reports, purchase point surveys, media tracking, MailChimp stats and Bitly links – all invaluable tools for communication and marketing professionals to evaluate the effectiveness of social media and integrated online campaigns. With hopes of one day working in the not-for-profit arena I was particularly interested in how many of these tools are available free of charge.
With so many options for ongoing campaign analysis (and we all know how easy is it to get lost in social media cyber space for hours on end), Tess and I learnt the importance of having a media monitoring strategy in place to ensure that hours aren’t dwindled away checking Facebeook ‘analytics’. Determining how often Twitter statistics are checked and how frequently media monitoring reports are submitted creates cost and time efficient practices for both the communications practitioner, and in a consultancy environment, the client.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to create some Like button-busting, Earth shatteringly influential social media status updates to improve my shamefully dismal Klout score…Hold onto your followers Barack, here I come!
My internship at The Edge thus far has been a truly eye-opening experience. Who knew that an organisation responsible for facilitating and inspiring Brisbane’s youth through creative and digital enterprise was run by such a small staff? It’s as if the precinct is a Charlie’s Chocolate Factory worth of creative juices being powered and maintained by a small army of multi-tasking oompa loompas – only the staff don’t have green hair or orange skin; are of reasonably normal stature; and the only 3ft high figure in the building is an abstract green stripe marking the waterline of the 2011 floods.
The folks here at The Edge do have something of sweet tooth and playful nature though and there are a steady flow of cakes and regular bouts of office ping pong matches as testament to this fact. At three weeks in I already feel very much a part of the sugary goodness that is The Edge family.
My first few days here were a blur of meet and greets orchestrated by The Edge’s Communications Officer (and my lovely supervisor) Rebekah Waite, who gave me a guided tour of the precinct and introduced me to the ‘creepy room’ -a lab space for resident catalyst and bio scientist Cameron Wilson whose sustainable material project involves a plethora of test tubes and ‘growing’ cultures that wouldn’t look out of place in a Frankenstein lab.
I also sat in on a few strategy meetings for The Edge’s CitizenJ program – a community news venture of digital proportions that I attended the launch of with fellow Edge intern Milane Hughes. It was a truly rewarding experience for the both of us who witnessed the project transpire from a mere concept on paper into a fully-fledged event. I’m looking forward to working on the Walkley Media Talks – a subset of the CitizenJ program and monthly series of talks inviting debate and discussion around issues of critical importance to the media industry. They’ll provide me with a great opportunity to apply the theory and l skills I’ve learnt at QUT so far in practical, real-world applications.
For now, I’m off for a ride on the chocolate river that snakes around the basement of the precinct….
As the proud new owner of an online LinkedIn professional identity (boasting my intern position at The Edge), I think it’s time my digital communications reflect my journey to professional practice. Today I took the first step in personalising an email signature for my Edge email address. Recipients will now know me as a Marketing & Communications Intern at The Edge and are able to easily locate my contact details.
After checking my Edge email account this morning I also discovered a message with what appeared to be login details for The Edge WordPress account…Surely I don’t have access to such an integral and powerful resource?! Not only have I been granted access to the organisation’s blog, but much to my surprise the copy I have been drafting for what I thought was purely practice has actually been published online – my written word has graduated from Facebook and is now recognised in the real world, woohoo!
Although all entries must first be approved by supervisors before going live, it’s nice to know the effort put into writing campaign copy actually results in significant, published material forming part of the communications support for the projects here at The Edge.
The best part about interning at The Edge is that although I’m constantly nudged out of my comfort zone, Beck and Brett are always there to lend a hand, and the hours put into creating campaign copy are consequential to the overall success of the projects. It may be a lot of responsibility, but it’s sure a rewarding moment when your name appears on the by line for a national campaign. The second best thing about interning at The Edge – having lunch on the edge right outside the office while overlooking the river on a beautiful, sunny, clear Brisbane day. Bliss.