How My One Direction Fan Account Prepared Me for a Career in Advertising
When I was 11, One Direction began to take over the world. Everything about them was appealing to me; they were five clean-cut boys from England and Ireland who sang catchy songs and had fun personalities. My friend introduced me to the One Direction Twitter world, which was full of young fans participating in nonstop discourse on all things One Direction. From ages 11 to 15, One Direction Twitter offered a space to express all of my thoughts pertaining to the band, build connections and stay updated on all One Direction related topics. Throughout One Direction's career, I garnered a 5,000-person following, made a few friends and learned some new skills.
One Direction Twitter functioned like an advertising agency. There were creatives who made their own original content, strategists who did in-depth research on the band, and account managers who communicated with the band. There seems to be a linear path between One Direction Twitter users and ad professionals. In fact, there is a trend on TikTok that asks former One Direction Twitter users how their current career in advertising is going. As a young professional in advertising, I have noticed a distinct connection between my days on One Direction Twitter and my career as a strategist. Spending an inordinate amount of time on One Direction Twitter taught me many skills that are pertinent to my advertising career today. Here are some of the things I learned from One Direction Twitter that prepared me for a career in advertising:
Creating and growing a brand
Having a personal One Direction fan Twitter account is similar to promoting a brand. You are invested in garnering the trust of your followers, gaining engagement and increasing awareness of your account to new followers. Through my One Direction fan Twitter account I learned effective methods to grow my unique brand and build a community of followers who were loyal to my account for their One Direction information and updates.
Understanding the cultural zeitgeist
Knowledge of the cultural zeitgeist is crucial in the world of advertising. It is important to stay up to date with discourse on all topics and ideate around the current cultural conversations. One Direction Twitter was a 24/7 community that was consistently updated with new information regarding not just One Direction, but cultural happenings. I learned how to research and stay up to date on popular topics in an effective and timely manner.
Approaching online communities
Speaking to a variety of online communities and subcultures allows brands to connect with new audiences. One Direction Twitter was its own large online community with a variety of subcultures. For example, if you were a Harry Styles fan you had your own subsect of One Direction Twitter. I learned how to understand and approach the greater One Direction online community, as well as the various subcultures. This allows me to now analyze different online communities and brainstorm ways brands can relate to those communities.
Conducting indepth research
A huge part of my job is doing indepth research pertaining to the projects I am assigned. One Direction Twitter was all about indepth research. There were fans who were able to find out the band's blood types (yes, I am aware of how insane this is). While I never went that far, I learned how to use my tools to research information about the newest albums, the band's childhoods, their personal lives and future touring plans. This information allowed me to produce content that kept users coming back and engaging with my account. I approach research for my accounts very similarly to how I approached my One Direction research: the more specific, the better.
The power of community
The One Direction fandom was a massive and worldwide community that held a lot of power from 2011-2015. One Direction was able to build such a loyal fanbase that they barely had to promote their albums and they would still reach No. 1 on the charts; that power was left in the hands of the fans. The One Direction fan community was a team of advertisers who used their platforms to market One Direction's music, vote for awards and make One Direction an international powerhouse. In my career, I have learned that brands need to build loyal communities—similar to the One Direction Twitter community—that are willing to use their platforms to speak about that brand. As the advertising world progresses, advertisers need to comprehend that the power is in the hands of the communities they build.