#MakingTime: A Day in the Life of the CDC's Social Media Wiz for HIV Prevention

Tiffany Humbert-Rico

Photo courtesy of Tiffany Humbert-Rico

Women can do anything — but not everything. As the largest online career community for women, we at Fairygodboss realize that balance is a myth, and that picking what to prioritize on a day-to-day basis isn't always easy. In the #MakingTime series, women share with us how, for one day, they chose to spend their most precious resource: time.
Who: Tiffany Humbert-Rico
What: Social Media Coordinator, HIV Prevention Communication Branch at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Where: Atlanta, GA

7:30 a.m.

The alarm goes off, I’ve been awake for a few minutes but hit the snooze for 15 minutes anyway. 7:45 get up to take a shower, quickly read the texts I missed last night — being from the West Coast but living on the East Coast means a lot goes on while I’m dreaming. Get caught up on Facebook and Instagram while I’m at it. I pack my lunch, check my work phone to see the room number of my 9am meeting and head out the door by 8:40 am. I live super close to work so only have a 10 minute commute depending on the lights. Honestly, I could walk but Atlanta isn’t known for walkability.

8:50 a.m.

Wow, made it to work a little earlier — what a difference 10 minutes makes for parking spaces! I flash my badge and say good morning to the security guards- I pretty much can’t get into the buildings or log in to my computer without that thing. I get to my office, log on to let the system warm up and run to the kitchen to put away my lunch and microwave my breakfast.  I love oatmeal and to make my life easy, I make a big batch once a week in the slow cooker and bring it to work. With 5 minutes to spare, I quickly scan my emails and five social media accounts to see if there is anything urgent or went unexpected over the weekend. As the Social Media Coordinator, I never know what I might see and while most things aren’t an emergency, everything is urgent.  That immediacy is at complete odds with the general pace of the Federal government so it’s a constant creative problem solving process and actively planning months in advance.

9:00 a.m.

First meeting of the day, it’s a cross team update with one campaign.  I collaborate with about seven active campaigns at the moment. Got an update on how a pilot activity to engage with participants, health departments, and the public is going and the plans for the rest of the contract.  The evaluation, health care, and partnership team Points Of Contact also let us know what they are up to so we can coordinate. A team will be at a conference and having a selfie booth so we discuss ways social media can amplify the event and tips we’ve learned from other events.

9:30 a.m.

Have a chance to respond to emails and monitor the accounts a little more closely- see what’s trending (for the moment), flag questions to get cleared responses to, and “like” shares and comments.  Review the automated analytics reports and share them with the corresponding teams and contractors. 10:00am head downstairs to our larger team meeting. I’m on the Web and Consumer Services Team which is mostly web developers and writers.  My role is unusual in that I’m the only one in my Branch that focus on social media and there are fewer of us in the agency than other roles. With social media constantly changing, we tend to seek each other out to bounce ideas off of each other and troubleshoot so I work across the branch, division, agency, and even with other federal agencies much more than most positions.

11:00 a.m.

After the meeting, I check in with my counterpart at the Division to see what we have coming up this week- any new data or report releases, any issues he’s seen, and what my accounts are up to so we can have consistent messaging. I give him a heads up that we will be promoting a new campaign that recently got cleared and will ask him to cross promote but I don’t have the promotion pieces yet.  We also talk about the next steps for transiting an account he manages to the branch and how we will divide responsibilities. We have a great relationship and I’m in his office multiple times a day collaborating and trouble shooting. I make it back to my desk around 11:30 and start responding to emails (I should say that I’m constantly seeing notifications on my work phone in meetings and checking accounts during pauses).  The web developers are having issues with images displaying on social media from the new campaign website so I trouble shoot with them for a while.

12:45 p.m.

Ah! I’m running late (per the usual for me) to meet a friend for lunch in the court yard. She texted me to let me know she was outside already. I grab my floppy wide brim hat, sunglasses, and rush to meet her. I love eating outside and enjoying the sunshine. A lot of people do working lunches or eat at their desk in my office but I need to take lunch breaks and physically move away from my workspace. It helps me recharge. (I’m a kid that needs recess.) We chit chat- get caught up on her latest adventures in dating, hear about each others’ trips, and get a little walk in.

1:15 p.m.

Let’s see what’s been going on. I got the promotion plan for the new campaign but have some questions so pop in to clarify with the campaign manager. Even though I work in the digital space, face-to-face encounters help get clarifications faster. I can show them what I’m seeing, walk through where the challenge is, and explain when I notice confusion.

2:00 p.m.

Hop on a call with the web developers to test out the lasted change to images on the new website. We are getting there. Yay! 2:30 write my weekly report for last week’s activities and send to my supervisor. Take a lap around the office, popping in to give people updates and say “hi” to those I haven’t see today. These informal moments are often when I get some of the most important info or identify ways to collaborate and coordinate. Plus, as an extrovert and kinesthetic learner, I get an energy and brain boost.

3:30 p.m.

We have been working on strategic planning for the branch and a big focus for me has been the social media strategic plan. 3:00 was the deadline for leadership to provide input on a document and I need to send it to a contractor by the close of business. I spend the rest of the day compiling feedback from the social media strategic planning workgroup and leadership. 5:30 send it to contractor to keep us on track! But I see I got the revised launch plan back and know it’s a priority to start promoting, so start to schedule posts for tomorrow but realize the links got mixed up during the rounds of revisions. While I’m more of a big picture person, this role requires major attention to detail. I make the fixes but I’m tired so put a note to check it first thing in the morning and call it a day.

6 p.m.

Leave work late, again. Debate about going to yoga but decide to go home and do chores. I had some friends over, over the weekend to go peach picking for the first time and then tried some new recipes- I love to try new things and explore new places (local and global)- but my apartment could use some TLC to get in order for the week.

6:20 p.m.

Home. Put the work phone away for the night- social media never stops but I need to. I start some chores and listen to BBC to find out what’s been going on in the world and get an outside perspective- plus I love their accents and vocabulary! I start texting with my sister in California to see how her day is going and give her updates. My mom starts texting me too- she is shopping and sending me pics of things to get my opinion. Even though I’m far way, it’s nice to be part of the daily life of my family.

8:20 p.m.

I was on a roll, (usually I eat earlier). Microwave a frozen dinner from Trader Joes- cooking is not my forte. I spend the rest of the night texting with my sister, mom, boyfriend, and friends while doing a little online shopping and planning for an upcoming trip to visit a childhood friend in a different state. When I’m starting to get ready for bed is when the calls and text from my west coast friends start coming in so I usually end up going to bed later than I’d like (11-11:30pm).  

10:30 p.m.

I put the phone on silent and call it a night.


Interested in contributing to Fairygodboss' #MakingTime series? Email [email protected] with "#MakingTime" in the subject line.