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Eye on Psi Chi: Summer 2016

Meet Thomas M. Basgil, Jr.
Thomas M. Basgil, Jr., Hotwire PR (NY)
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Can you describe what you do at your job?
My day-to-day involves strategy, data analysis, customer relationship management, and content creation (words, images, and video). Social media involves using qualitative and quantitative measures to grow a community around a product, service, or idea. So, in short, my job is to communicate persuasively on behalf of my clients through social media platforms like Facebook®, Twitter®, Instagram®, and LinkedIn®.
How do you use your psychology training in that context?
The easiest answer to that involves data analysis. Without my background in SPSS, I don’t know how I would make sense of all the social media data that I encounter every day. Coursework in consumer, social, and political psychology inform the text, images, and strategy that I use to reach out to others.
What sort of student were you?
Highly motivated to learn about everything around me, I was an inquisitive and hard-working student.
Why did you first become interested in psychology?
Around sixth grade, I read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. There are definite aspects of social psychology in his book, although in an unscientific fashion. That’s where I first learned that you can tell the truth in two different ways. The first way is to “tell it like it is,” and that can get you into trouble. The second way is to couch the truth so that those around you want to listen and are willing to give credence to what you say. In college, I enjoyed social psychology, especially SP&D. As an undergrad, I created a support group for LGBT students in association with Drew University’s psychological services.
What sort of jobs did you have before you started your current employment?
During college, I was the young one in the office at a law firm. It became my job to figure out MySpace® and Facebook®. I started doing social media as a side job until I realized that digital marketing was where I wanted to be. Before my current role, I was the general manager of a restaurant off Times Square, a political organizer, a journalist, and a marketer for Coney Island. The only thing that stayed constant was my love of writing and my fascination with human nature.
What sort of personalities do you think are conducive with your career?
Social media people have to be fluent in both persuasive communication and data analysis. It works well for introverts with extroverted tendencies. For example, a computer screen mitigates a lot of my social interaction with consumers on a daily basis. Less frequently, I have the opportunity to cover events on-site so that I meet my need to really socialize.
Can you comment on flexibility and job satisfaction?
Social media management can be flexible to the point of absurdity as you monitor a 24-hour news cycle and constant consumer feedback. Social media roles require a willingness to work at all hours and the self-awareness to know when to turn off. My work is never done, so I’m continually developing my ability to step back, examine my workload, and disconnect from the Internet. I find it exciting because it requires constant education—social media features and best practices can change drastically from year to year.
How does your career benefit or improve society?
Social media has facilitated cheap, international communication. It’s a largely free platform to express ideas and bring attention to both global and personal issues. After Hurricane Sandy, for example, I was able to illustrate the destruction of the Coney Island area and publish interviews with impacted residents with just a smart phone and a cheap video camera. Without the work of others like me, I believe that many New Yorkers would remain completely unaware of the humanitarian crisis experienced by their neighbors. The area was devastated, but it would have been worse if no one had come down to help.
Is there something you know now that you wish you knew when you were in school?
Networking is the key to career fulfillment. Regardless of your intelligence and skills, it’s almost impossible to be noticed without a network of friends, family, colleagues, and mentors.
Personality Profile
Favorite psychology-related movie: Silence of the Lambs, definitely.
Favorite band: I don’t really have one. I listen to classical music when I’m working, but I lean toward pop rock and punk when I’m not.
Favorite quote: “Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.” — Sigmund Freud
Hobbies: Photography and photoshopping.
Early bird or night owl: Night owl: I get my best work done after it’s dark.
Title of future memoir: From Cynicism to Innocence

Tom Basgil is an international award-winning digital marketer with nearly a decade of experience in social media. He excels at building brands and delivering high-quality, actionable content to diverse audiences around the globe. Currently, he serves as the digital manager and strategist for Hotwire PR in New York City.

Basgil’s experience includes running the largest Facebook attraction for an international B2B company, working with million-dollar budgets, and generating engagement from big brands and celebrities. He concentrates on providing full social media services to clients across industries including news media, fashion, manufacturing, and software-as-a-service.

Basgil graduated from Drew University, NJ, summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in behavioral science and membership in Psi Chi and Phi Beta Kappa. He lives in Brooklyn, NY, and enjoys reading both classical literature and lowbrow science fiction and fantasy. He hopes to continue his education in marketing and consumer psychology and revive the Oxford comma.


Copyright 2016 (Volume 20, Issue 4) by Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology


Eye on Psi Chi is a magazine designed to keep members and alumni up-to-date with all the latest information about Psi Chi’s programs, awards, and chapter activities. It features informative articles about careers, graduate school admission, chapter ideas, personal development, the various fields of psychology, and important issues related to our discipline.

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