5 months ago I found myself walking the wrong way down Regent Street, into passers-by and arriving at my first day of internship with only a minute to spare. Now, I find myself on the Southeastern to Charing Cross, in the window seat, 2nd row in for the perfect heat: leg space ratio, grabbing a hot coffee when walking the right way up Regent Street, feeling fresh and ready for the working day. This is the very first thing I learned working at Netfluential; how to hack working in London. As a small business, everyone contributes, even as an intern, which made for a quick lesson in being responsible and independent. Gone are the days of waiting on Google Maps to highlight the way. After throwing myself ‘into the deep end’, and getting lost on a bi-weekly basis, I am now proud to say I have an eye for the best seat on the train and a great internal navigator, at least for the West End anyway.

Working for Netfluential was much more than I expected, from day 1 I had active input and had to ‘learn through doing’. I quickly learnt that our research was directed around the ‘connected consumer’ – individuals who are immersed online, who we could connect with using a range of tools. Within my first weeks as an intern I was involved in the reporting of data from a wide range of digital tools, online communities, surveys, focus groups and even online video diaries. I began to understand the need and importance of using the internet to reach these consumers, people are reachable now and connected in ways they haven’t been before, and we can access real-time opinions and survey on any device. I learnt that these are important tools for research, as the modern consumer isn’t just watching TV, they’re watching, tweeting, reading posts and actively discussing its content.  By using these tools we can gather a deeper understanding of opinions, in their own words and in real-time, assess what’s trending and when, whether the sentiment is positive or negative and present this in a meaningful way. I have already learned that this creates useful data to clients in such a trend-driven culture.  

A month into my internship and I became a trainee research executive which gave me more responsibility and opened up a whole new world of active researching. From programming interactive surveys, moderating online discussion forums and interviewing professionals and consumers alike. These have added to my new, shiny bank of researching skills which I am very much looking forward to expanding in the near future when I can get my hands on our new social analytics platform. I am only just starting, but already I feel I’m starting to understand our tools, how to use them and importantly why it makes for better research.  Look out Facebookers and Tweeters, I’m coming for you!