The prevalence of social media cannot be understated. The social media revolution has moved from the purely recreational sphere into the mainstream market with corporations and entities using it for everything from tracking responses to their products, to utilizing it as a tool to clean up and maintain positive social image. For those in the Public Relations industry, social networks play a key part in today’s world for the monitor and upkeep of image for clients and personnel alike, thus it certainly caught my attention that universities are catching on and seeing a new trend: Social media courses.
According to USA Today, universities across the nation are implementing courses in social media that would help students to not only master the networks that are currently popular, but to understand how to use them to their best advantage. Programs such as the social media marketing M.B.A. offered from Southern New Hampshire University would include components such as:
- learning about the psychology of social media and social media campaigns
- social media marketing
With the rise of this new area, many students find themselves without guidance in using these tools to their full potential, these programs are a large step in correcting that. In todays technologically connected world using social media to build an individual’s personal brand is a necessity not only for networking within the field, but also for building a positive public narrative and presence in society.
I for one would love the inclusion of more courses implemented in both the undergraduate and graduate programs revolving around this area. Perhaps following the lead of Ohio university, the program could be offered as a minor whereupon completion of the program individuals would receive a certificate in social media. Perhaps the P.R. graduates of the future will cross the stage with one of these certificates ahead of the learning curve and a better consultant for the experience.