Some educators have questioned the value of teaching social media.
- Don’t students already know all about social media?
- What social media platforms should students learn and why?
- Should community colleges offer for credit classes in social media?
First, what are social media?
Social media as defined in Wikipedia includes web-based and mobile technologies used to turn communication into interactive dialogue between organizations, communities, and individuals.
Kaplan adds that social media tools make it possible to create user-generated content (UGC). UGC allows ordinary people to have a voice. Information is created, shared, and amplified by online word of mouth. The information shared may be in the form of text, video, PowerPoint presentations and other forms of media.
Content or “digital assets” can be shared on multiple social media platforms.
Social media tools include but are not limited to Facebook, blogs, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube. Also included in social media are Wikipedia and virtual game worlds such as World of Warcraft and Second Life.
Businesses increasingly use these social media tools to engage with their customers, generate leads, and market products. Businesses of all sizes appreciate the fact that community colleges equip graduates with knowledge of the latest industry trends.
Why Do Students Need to Learn to Use Social Media?
The fact that Fortune 500 companies are embracing social media should encourage students to learn more about social media.
In January there were over 13,000 jobs requiring social media skills. This is an increase of 87% from the previous year. Demand for social media skills continues to rise.
Social media skills are needed across many business functions.
Strong social media skills are a requirement for many jobs such as account executives, PR specialists, office and administrative support workers, journalists, sales professionals, and marketing. In fact, entire categories of employment opportunities have been created for jobs such as social media coordinators and social media analysts. A list of occupations that require social media skills can be found on Carolyn Menz’s blog.
While community college students should not rely on social media skills alone, social media skills should be added to their list of comprehensive skill sets. It is clear that our graduates will be looking for jobs in a social media saturated online world. Graduates will have an advantage when they have an understanding of how social media tools work and can demonstrate expertise in using social media in their field.
What is the Co-Requisite for Social Media Skills?
But all the social media skills in the world will not help students if they do not learn good communication skills. A co-requisite for social media skills is good communication skills. Students must develop strong writing skills, and they must learn how to write for the web.
Assignments for Week One
Assignment #1 – Define social media in your own words using 140 characters or less. Open a Twitter account and Tweet your definition. Be sure to mention me in your Tweet @carolhbates.
Assignment #2 – What is your career goal? Post a comment to this blog describing your career goal and how you might use social media in your job.
Assignment #3 – Define UGC. How can you use “digital assets” to build your brand? Post your answer as a comment to this blog. Note: If you do not have a product, you are your brand. You are branding yourself!
Assignment #4 – By next week, create a Facebook page. We will learn more late. For now, just create your Page.
Assignment # 5 – Read at least two of the articles below and post a comment to this blog. Respond to at least one other student’s comment.
Andreas M. Kaplan Faculty Page.
Social Media Tools 101 (From Blogs to Wikis) (Interactive iiG Social Media Group)
Ultimate Guide to Facebook Pages (Robin Broitman)
The Super Simple Guide to Setting Up Your First Company Facebook Page Without Blowing a Gasket – Part One (Jennifer Laycock)
20 Things You Should Share on Social Media (Jeff Bullas)
http://smallbiztrends.com/2012/02/where-social-media-jobs-are.html (Susan Payton)
http://www.socialmediaheadhunter.com/ (Jim Durben)
Social Media Jobs, Skills Rising in Demand (Jamie Yap)
What Are Basic Social Media Skills Journalists Need? (Ben LaMothe)
Do SEO Careers Require Social Media Expertise (Onward Search Career Center)
Hiring for Social Media Skills Continues and Creates Hard-to-Fill Occupations (Carolyn Menz)
Employers Increasingly “Like” Social Media Skills (Beth Panitz)