College Major Decision Time: Social Media!

By on December 14, 2012

Social media has developed to the point where it’s not only wanted, it’s needed. No business can navigate the high seas of technology and online marketing without it. That’s why students of Newberry College can now major in social media! It’s not just a step in the right direction – it’s a leap. And today, I’m going to tell you why.

Social Media as a Career

When programming was new and simple – the internet became overloaded with coders, and a LOT of poor, tacky, substandard code. The same thing has happened to social media. When programming eventually evolved and became a colossal undertaking to study and become great at – that’s when innovation rose up to replace ‘posers.’

Now, we’re seeing social media and the many complexities of marketing, content marketing and creation, analytics, syndication, software and management on such a complex level – it has become worthy of study. This is fantastic! Finally, social media students will look to become educated in this practical subject, instead of ‘claiming’ to be experts.

Why SMMU Are Not Happy With ‘Experts’ Today

An expert is someone who knows pretty much everything there is to know about their niche, but they never stop learning – or that status will go away. In social media, we’ve seen people who have Facebook profiles claim to be ‘experts.’ It’s made it really hard on the rest of us who paid our dues since the days of Friendster, Myspace and Bebo.

More than 5 years practical (not theoretical) knowledge makes you something of an expert. This new major or degree will finally ensure that people know that. After all, financial advisors with a fresh degree in finance are not EXPERTS. They are novices.
We’ve always said education is the key to becoming an expert, but it is one step on the social media ladder.

The Newberry College Degree in Social Media

I’m proud to see how far social media has come. Newberry College is trailblazing, with an undergraduate degree dedicated to social media. Interestingly, this degree blends the ‘social media expert’ into a ‘media specialist’ something I’ve always said would happen.

They will have to learn about:

• Graphic design
• Statistics
• Psychology
• Business
• Marketing
• Communications

SMMU Take on Social Media Education

These are great subjects to begin with, but they by no means make someone a social media strategist. To become that, you need to be a strategist, an analyst, a HR person, a social media platform expert, a social media process expert, someone who never stops learning, a trend spotter and a risk taker.

Where are these in the degree? I’m worried Newberry is going to approach social media studies like many colleges do – with little practical know-how and all theoretical BS.

Here’s an example: “On Twitter you should use hashtags to help index your point, so others can read it.” Great advice, which tells you nothing about using hashtags.

Better would be: Create twenty tweets, using different actions words and hashtags. Use tracking URL’s in each of them and compare the stats after 1 month.

The difference in education here is this: The first social media strategist will be able to tell you how to do something for your business, but they won’t know how to do it, if it will work, or even if what he is doing can be improved.

The second social media guy will be able to map out a plan for you, follow through, test their tweets and hashtag potential, then
redraft the campaign for a fresh one that does better next time. That’s what social media expertise is all about!

If you’re looking to gain some real social media expertise why not enroll at one of our many practical, useful and valuable classes? Get certified here.

Did you like today’s social media news? Then share it, do it now!

Otherwise – how do you think people should structure their social media ‘degrees?’

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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