Last week, Caitlin McDevitt from Slate and The Big Money called, wanting to know if I have an opinion on the Pizza Hut twintern.
Do I have an opinion?!?
You can read the article here, along with my opinion. There also was a blog written by BFG Communications about the topic. It seems we all have opinions about it.
I’m a public relations professional. I know what it’s like to create an event in order to generate publicity. That, clearly, is what Pizza Hut is doing…and it’s working. The twintern seems to be doing a great job. Unless something happens that is drastically different from what she’s doing now, she can have her choice of jobs when she graduates. Good for her!
But this begs a bigger business decision: Why would you let an intern have control of your brand, in any form?
I’m a fan of interns. We have a competitive intern program, and we hire the best of the best as full-time employees. In fact, 50 percent of our staff started as interns. So don’t get me wrong when I say…interns should not be running your social media program!
This is your brand. This is your reputation. This is your public perception. In most cases, you’ve spent years and thousands, if not millions, of dollars creating your image. WHY would you put it in the hands of someone who has zero years of business experience? Because they’ve been using social networking their entire lives? Yes, but how many of those years have they been using it for a business application? That’s right. Zero.
Just like you wouldn’t let an intern pitch the media, go to a meeting with the bank, present a new business proposal, or lead the organization, you should not let an intern run your social media program.
As a Chinese proverb goes, It takes years to take an egg and grow a chicken and an instant to make chicken dung.