Earlier this summer, AOL created a position call the Ambassador of Lifestream.
What was it, you ask? Direct from the application, in AOL’s words:
“We’re looking for one very savvy individual to fill an important position. It’s an easy job because all you have to do is be yourself. There’s not a job like this anywhere else…guaranteed. Intrigued? Read on…
A Little About You
You’re the type of person we can see spending a lot of quality time with this summer. You have the perfect balance of charisma, insight and ambition. You might be thinking, “Sure, but what’s in it for me?”
Frankly, a lot.
But we’ll get to that later.
First, let’s talk more about you.
Like a bloodhound on the hunt, you’ve got an uncanny ability to sniff out new trends. You go with your gut. Like a sixth sense, it always leads the way.
Your enemy is the status quo. Status updates, however, are your friend. You judge others not only on the content of their character, but also on the content of their Tweets.
People listen to what you have to say, because they know that you know what’s up. You’re a social-media butterfly with the wingspan of a jumbo jet—you don’t flutter, you soar.
You’re comfortable in your own shoes and your friends love that about you.
Why? Because you’re cool, that’s why.
Like it’s your job.
Which brings us to why we’re here…
For two solid months you’ll be an integral part of the Lifestream Team and have the opportunity to work directly with Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL. You’ll sit in high-level meetings and speak your mind to our top product engineers, marketers and executives. You’ll tell them what you like and what you don’t like about AOL products. We’re depending on you to tell it like it is, and we know that you will.
Ok, we know. You’re still wondering what’s in it for you.
Here’s The Deal
This is not your average summer internship. In fact, if we didn’t know better, we’d think this was some sort of Employment rickroll.
You, friend, will not only receive a paycheck, but you’ll also be living the bi-coastal lifestyle. A luxury apartment in San Francisco. A hip hotel in NYC.
Through AOL Lifestream, you’ll be sharing all your experiences with your social networks via Facebook updates, Tweets, Flickr uploads, Foursquare check-ins and YouTube videos. Give your followers a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes culture of AOL. Remember, your friends are our friends, too. And if our friends have something to say, we want to hear it.
We’ve been making a lot of changes around here and we’re not afraid to take risks. To inform those risks, we’re counting on you to bring us weekly dispatches from the frontlines of the latest pop culture trends. So throughout the summer, you’ll have in your possession VIP access to events around the country—the hottest clubs and restaurants, the most coveted live concerts, sporting events and industry social gatherings. Your loyal followers will benefit too, all because they know you.
You’ll get all this and more for allowing us to harness the awesome power that is you.
The initial application process asked for two 200 word essays, one about ourselves and one about business and social media.
Here are the essay questions, and my answers:
Tell us why you are perfect for the position (50% strategic adviser to the CEO about new products, features, experience, 50% Social Community Engagement Star)
Well, you said you cared what my friends think, so I decided to have THEM tell you why I’m perfect for this job. Not to worry, I didn’t skew the results by telling them why I needed their descriptions. I could sit here and list all the phenomenal things about me that make me the perfect candidate for the position, like having a Master’s Degree in Organizational and Cultural Communication, my impeccable tact, innovative strategic mind, influential managerial skills, and uncanny ability to connect with anyone… no, I won’t weigh their words with my personal opinion. I’ll let you hear it from them.
I posted the following on Twitter and Facebook: “Friends IRL and followers, please please help!! If you could describe/define me with a word or phrase (or a few) what would it (they) be?!”
And here are their answers, with no baiting, describing your perfect candidate:
Ebullient analytical extrovert. “Top of the phone chain.” Hopeful. Emphatic. Boisterously fun! Phenomenal laugh. Spirited. VIVACIOUS! Dubalicious! Authentic. Driven, engaging, a force of nature. Brassy! Down home genuine with authentic urban edge. Rosy, curly, springy, energy. Dreamy and enchanting. Perceptive. Vivacious [yes, again!]!
Steph “charisma, insight and ambition” Dub
In 200 words or less, tell us how social media is changing the way people and businesses communicate (English only, please)
Humans need to connect. It’s what makes us different from other mammals. We connect, and we care. Care about what other people think, feel, and need. Social media provides the ultimate outlet for connection. It allows us to cross previously impermeable barriers to connection such as proximity, social status, and time. It allows us to feel important; heard; understood. That we matter; our opinion matters. This consequently dictates the need for a fresh economic model. Supply and demand is a well oiled framework based on rational variables that’s worked well for us. Until now. Social media has constructed a space for emotional influence in a previously rational economy. Our connections through social media validate our thoughts, feelings and needs; they validate our voice. For the the first time, anyone has access to influence the media. To contribute and be heard. This is a game changer for the ever shifting dichotomy between culturally determined media and media dictated society. As businesses contend to survive in the supply and demand competition they look towards media to provide insight on society’s desires. Social media has opened a direct line of communication between consumer and product. And the results are yet to be seen…
Out of thousands of applicants, I made it through to the semi-finals. In the semi-finals (a two day period), we the applicants, completed a formal interview for the position with the Lifestream team leads, and has 24 hours to make a short (2 minutes or less) video of ourselves, discussing the following:
- Tell us why you’re the best person for this job.
- What kind of role does social media play in your life?
- What excites you the most about AOL Lifestream?
Below is my video, planned, recorded and edited in less than 24 hours.
Based on the interviews, the AOL selected their top 3 candidates and there I was in the finals. AOL made it clear that they would be excited and honored to work with any of the three, and left the rest up to a social media vote.
After days of technical issues, my greatest rally efforts possible, less than ideal voting interface and voter experiences- I didn’t get the AOL Ambassador of Lifestream position.
But over all, I can’t say that I would have changed anything whatsoever. It was a fabulous lesson in believing in and trusting myself and my abilities, being open to asking for help, working on a quick paced creative project and receiving an overwhelming amount of love and support from a community of family, friends, and strangers.
Thanks again to EVERYONE for EVERYTHING!