Meet Calvin Stowell

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Calvin Stowell and I’m Do Something‘s Social Media Strategist. We’re the fastest growing youth not-for-profit in the United States and, if the name didn’t give it away, our purpose is to get young people to do something.

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in a very small town in New Hampshire, I moved to New York City for college about 5 years ago and still live here today.

What do you like about social media?
I love social media because it gives everyone a voice. It’s shifted power from age old institutions, whether it be giant corporations or governments, and put it in the hands of the people. Social media played a huge role in revolutions all across the world in 2011 and I think we’re just seeing the beginning of what it has to offer to society. It also makes finding videos of cats doing cute things easier.

What is it like working at Do Something?

People always roll my eyes when I say it, but it’s indescribable. The environment is awesome and you’re given a lot of room to play and experiment. We had a pretty landmark year in 2011, we about doubled staff, funds and impact, and we’re looking to double that again in 2012. When you take a step back and see how you’ve played a small part in a much bigger picture it’ll give you goosebumps, it feels really great to know that what I do helps kids find ways to create real measurable impact in their communities.

What is the most important lesson you have learned regarding new media?
If you talk to anyone who’s worked in new media they’ll tell you it’s a job that never sleeps. Everyone else may be on vacation and have their e-mails turned off but you need to stay on top of your game. That being said there’s clearly a lot going on besides posting on Facebook and Tweeting. My title is ‘Social Media Strategist’ because the majority of what I do is create unique digital strategies for the different marketing partners and campaigns we run at Do Something. You need to be creative and you need to have the ability to pivot on a moment’s notice. New media is exciting and fun because it’s always changing, you need to be able to change with it.

What kind of advice would you offer someone trying to pursue social media as a profession?
Don’t refer to yourself as a “Social Media Expert” or a “Social Media Guru,” seriously. That is a tell-tale sign you have no idea what you’re doing. Like I said before, a lot of people who tell me they “want to work in social media” have a tunnel vision about it, it’s more than just posting status update or a tweet, it’s strategy. Study things like marketing and public relations, they play heavily into the field. Get your hands dirty, start your own Twitter or Facebook, find success when a brand isn’t at stake and take what you’ve learned and prove to a company or group that you know what you’re doing.

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