Skip to main content
SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
Co-operative Education

Woman sitting on a couch and drinking coffee while working on laptop
Vlada Karpovich on Pexels
If you enjoy telling stories, building relationships with others, and know the ins and outs of social media platforms, you might think that working in social media is the best thing since sliced bread.

It’s another day, and whether you’ve landed a remote Co-op gig, or you’ve made the trek to the office, one thing holds true: you’d cry tears of joy if you never had to sign in to your Hootsuite account again.

When it comes to social media and digital marketing positions, it’s easy to be blinded by the positives. After all, many Communication majors are fascinated by digital marketing and algorithms— and if you’re a digital native, creating social media content might already be second nature to you. Whether you manage social media for your organization or create external content, there are a few bonuses to consider. 

Look on the bright side

Communications and social media specialists tend to have more autonomy over their work than most employees in traditional organizations. Much like a journalist, you need to sniff out compelling stories and find creative ways to represent your brand online. Your ability to do your job well depends on your interpersonal skills; communications people have a fantastic opportunity to interact with a variety of people in different departments, as well as clients and other stakeholders. If you enjoy telling stories, building relationships with others, and know the ins and outs of social media platforms, you might think that working in social media is the best thing since sliced bread. Plus, you might be one of the only employees at your workplace that gets to be on their phone all day. 

Cons, baby

Once you get beyond the rainbows and butterflies, you’ll start to see the dark side of working with social media. There’s a flip side to getting to be on your phone all day long, and that is: you’re expected to be on your phone all day long.

If you’re familiar with Bo Burnham’s Welcome to the Internet then you know that it never stops. A monster hungry for content, there is no quiet corner of social media, and in order to be successful, you’ll need to keep up. The worst part? Your boss probably uses social media too, so you’ll constantly monitor your organization’s reputation online. Because Twitter updates “need to be timely”, you might start resenting the occasional 7 pm email to “just post something quickly if you don’t mind, thanks in advance.”

At the end of each day, your eyes are dry and itchy from looking at screens, but when you head home—you still find yourself doom-scrolling on TikTok or Instagram when you should be making dinner or doing something productive. Red flag. You don’t even enjoy sharing memes with your friends anymore (a true millennial love language).

Here’s what to do about it
Off work, off-screen

There are various studies on the link between social media overuse and an increased risk for depression and anxiety. Social media addiction affects a lot of people, and because social media is part of your job, you need to be more careful when it comes to limiting your phone time during your off-hours. There is more to life than social media, and it's important to make time to be present with your family and friends. That might mean turning off your phone for an hour after work or setting a rule like no social media from 8 pm to 7 am. It sounds strict, but if you’re on your phone all day, your eyes (and brain) will thank you. 

Schedule short breaks into your day

This one sounds obvious, and it is. If you use a scheduling tool like an Outlook calendar, schedule several ten-minute breaks into your day, specifically for “no-screen” time. If you can, try and go outside for a walk on your lunch break, or at least, don’t spend all of it just staring at your phone.

Set boundaries at work

This one is the hardest one. Communications specialists may be undervalued as your co-workers or bosses may not understand exactly what you do. However, you need to set clear work-life boundaries, so that you’re not expected to be on-call 24/7 to get something published. Yes, posting often and consistently helps engagement, but that’s why you have a content calendar and scheduling tools. If you’re struggling with your mental health, or your eyes are constantly sore, reach out to your employer and explain what’s happening. When you have the support you need, you’ll be surprised by what you can do!

SFU Student Undergraduate
Co-operative Education
visibility  203
May 11, 2022

Posts by Author

Emma standing in front of the pond at SFU Burnaby
Blog
A Co-op Student’s Guide to Media Relations

Like many Communications students, I came into the School of Communication very interested in media; both studying it and working in it. I found it harder and harder to pinpoint where I could fit into it professionally as I learned more about it. What do you do when you’re interested in media, but not sure you want to work directly in media?

A phone on the home screen where the apps for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can be seen
Blog
Tips for Effective Social Media Marketing

When promoting events and news on social media on behalf of a club, service, or business, the main goal is to get as many eyes as possible on the content. One of my tasks in my 8-month Co-op position was to post updates on their social media accounts, which includes job postings, upcoming events, and special announcements. Over these months, I was able to find useful strategies and tools to help me manage these profiles effectively and efficiently.

Co-op students standing outside around a sign that says "SFU"
Blog
Event Planning 101: 3 Tips for Planning an Event even Gen-Z’s will Enjoy

Coming into this Co-op position as an Outreach, Promotion, and Engagement Coordinator for SFU’s School of Communication, I was not expecting to gain any sort of event planning experience. Creating an event for our incoming students for Fall 2023, was a brand-new concept that flourished this semester.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Working, Community Engagement, Volunteering, Professional Development, Life Experience

Cathy, author, smiling view of Ecuador
My Ecuadorian Escapade

"There are few experiences in one’s life that do not just provide you with new skills, but teach you a new way of perceiving the world around you." Cathy Greenway, a student of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, travelled to Ecuador with Ecuaexperience's Help, Learn, Discover program as a Rural Development Volunteer. Read more about her life-changing experience.

jessica before the co-op make over
The Co-op Career Makeover: A Student's Journey from Drab to High Profile

Is your career portfolio feeling a little outdated? Tune in to a local makeover phenomenon that's taking the job market by storm: SFU Co-op. Communication Major Jessica Doherty knows first hand what co-op can do for building confidence, contacts, and a killer resume. Read on to follow her on her journey from drab to high profile.

Gateway of India Monument in Mumbai (Bombay)
Sheena Takes On the Mumbai Marketing Scene

In her third year as a Communication major, Sheena Rupani returns home to Mumbai, India and proves that an SFU student has what it takes to compete on the international marketing scene. In a setting where high stakes rely on time management and clear cross-cultural communication, this international co-op celebrity takes self-directed study to the next level.

You Might Like These... Seeking

student leaning on a bannister smiling
Work Safe, Work Healthy

Workplace safety is a critical topic for new workers. This article contains useful information on Occupational Health and Safety regulations in BC, and important tips on how to stay safe and healthy in an office environment.

Image of a diverse group of people dressed in business attire, standing in a semi-circle, laughing and drinking together
Working in an English-Speaking Environment

In today's global labour market, the ability to converse in a second language is an increasingly useful skill. Here, Jessica Tse shares some tips she learned as an international student from Hong Kong working in an English speaking environment.

Elena smiling in her workspace
My Experience Starting a Co-op During a Global Pandemic

As Elena enters her first co-op work term in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, she is faced with the challenges of working remotely. Read on to find out how she is able to overcome these obstacles as she shares her advice on working from home.