By Exsar Arguello
SAN MARCOS—Virginia Alves, former Bobcat and social media editor at the Rio Olympics, joined mass communication students Thursday to discuss her journey as social media editor during the summer games.
“I was born in Brazil and always knew I wanted to live there again at some point,” Alves said. “My dad bought me a plane ticket and I was on my way. Since he is a prestigious journalist from Brazil, I had a few connections when I arrived in Rio.”
After a few interviews, Alves landed the social media job with Rio 2016, which granted her access to the English Twitter page for the Olympics.
Alves said her love for social media allowed her to excel in her job at Rio, which included live tweeting events, and spreading the news about the games to an international audience.
“The main aspect I took away from Virginia’s presentation is the power that social media truly has to make a difference,” said Addison Mckissack “Her tweets covering the games literally reached hundreds of thousands of people across the globe and that’s just incredible to see.”
Mckissack said she will continue to grow her social media brand as the outcome may lead to opportunities in the field of journalism through social media.
“I was given this opportunity because I branded my social media well in college,” Alves said. “When I went to my interview for the job, I told them how familiar I was with Twitter. My ability to see Twitter from a more personal side I believe played a role in how I got the job.”
During the Rio games, Alves worked on a team of three for social media, where she led the Twitter operations. The overall goal was to sell tickets and bring attraction to the games before the torch made it into the city.
“It’s crazy to think about it looking back, but I was the voice for hundreds of thousands of people for the 2016 Rio Olympic games,” Alves said. “Don’t be scared to work internationally. Go out and apply and you’d be surprised how powerful your experience can be.”
Alves stressed the importance of using English as an advantage when applying internationally, as most employers abroad are always looking to brand themselves with the English language.
Edith Brooks, journalism junior and former classmate of Alves, said she was happy to hear how far the English language can take her internationally.
“I want to work abroad and this presentation gave me a better idea about what I want to do,” Brooks said. “English is such a powerful language all around the world and I know now that I can use that to my advantage when I graduate and look for opportunities abroad.”
Alves urged mass communication students to take internships and build a social media platform in order to open up opportunities post graduation.
“If you want to do something you can do it,” Alves said. “Build your social media brand and have confidence that you can work anywhere. But you have to network and build those connections. It’s almost as important as getting the degree all together.”