Written by: Lauren Acton
“My Doodle Jump high score is 78,050! Beat that!”
Yep, that’s an e-mail I received shortly after the conclusion of Time Inc.’s Reverse Mentoring program, which has been one of the highlights of my summer. While my mentee wishes to remain anonymous, I can reveal that she is an amazing executive at the company who had vital role in creating the Time Inc. magazine applications for the iPad, which is no small feat! As a side note, if you have an iPad, you should really check the apps out. Sports Illustrated (duh) and Fortune magazines are my favorites: SI on the iPad Video (AWESOME)
So, back to Reverse Mentoring. Two weeks prior to the beginning to my internship, I received an e-mail inviting me to participate in the program. For the program, Time Inc. was looking for “tech-savvy undergraduate students to mentor media and entertainment senior executives.” Alright, Time Inc., I’m interested. “Mentors will provide Time Inc. executives with a deeper understanding of current and emerging technologies ranging from a review of hardware to online trends, such as social networking, virtual worlds and video games.” Time out, you want me to teach someone how to use Facebook and Twitter? Done and DONE. The applicant criteria were right up my alley:
I immediately sat down and filled out the rather extensive application, which polled my knowledge of RSS, social media, apps, blogging (thanks, Fisher!), and MUCH more.
Upon arriving at Time, I learned that I was one of 11 students selected to participate in the initiative, and I was so excited! We had an orientation meeting, where we learned that we would each be matched with a mentee, who we would meet with for a total of 3 hours over 10 weeks. My mentee was especially interested in learning about how our generation consumes media, which is a HUGE question that pretty much everyone in publishing is trying to answer right now. After polling my peers on Facebook and doing some seriously extensive research via the OSU Libraries Database, I decided to focus my meetings on Twitter, blogging, RSS feeds, and smartphone/iPad applications.
My mentee and I met on the first day, and I was so nervous! She is such an important and well-informed executive, and I was worried that I wouldn’t have anything productive to show her! However, over the course of 10 weeks, I was really able to give my mentee a glimpse into how our generation collects content. Think about it: how many more articles do you read because your friends posted them on Facebook or Twitter than on news websites? You know it’s true! She also let me dive into some amazing new applications on the iPad (check out Flipboard, it makes me want an iPad so badly!) We even played Doodle Jump, which is beyond addicting (not to mention, it’s hilarious to see executives play – they get so competitive!).
I certainly learned a lot, and I hope my mentee did too! The experience itself was very empowering, which is a word I keep using to describe my Time Inc. experience. I was amazed at how receptive my technologically-knowledgeable and influential executive mentee was to all of my lessons, and even homework assignments! She really helped me feel more comfortable presenting to upper management, and also provided great advice for the other intern projects I was/am working on. She made me promise to stay in touch and make sure that she stays on top of social media, and I can’t wait to share (tweet?) what we both do next!