Posted by Scott Meis
Last week, the Telegraph announced that Birmingham City University will be offering a one-year social media master’s degree.
According to course creator John Hickman:
“During the course we will consider what people can do on Facebook and Twitter, and how they can be used for communication and marketing purposes. There has been significant interest in the course already, and it will definitely appeal to students looking to go into professions including journalism and PR.”
Though the course sounds exciting, I have the same concerns that many students are already buzzing about. Namely, whether this course dives deep enough beyond the tools. In my mind, this is the wrong approach for integrating social media into the University learning process.
Consider the fact that social media is already a standard process by which college students communicate online. They already get how to use the basic tools. If anything, I would think that social media would be filtered under a regular undergrad communications or PR/Journalism degree that addresses the larger scope of new media communications and online marketing strategies.
I’ve previously outlined what I believe to be important skills for PR/marketing folks looking to get an edge on the competition. In the same vein, I could see colleges creating a series of integrated courses that help develop each of these skills from both a strategic and tactical approach. Such a large part of online success relies on creative, targeted content, that goes way beyond basic understanding of tool utility.
I’m quite curious to see how this course goes. What’s your take? Is this the right move for integrating social media into the world of academia?
Posted by Scott Meis
Last week I had the pleasure of joining a couple hundred social media, marketing and business colleagues at the BlogWell conference in Chicago. Sponsored by GasPedal and the Blog Council, the purpose of the conference was to pack eight excellent large corporation social media case studies into one afternoon. Too much good stuff for one post so I’ve broken this into two parts.
Divided up into two tracks, I started the conference listening to Lee Aase speak about social media efforts at Mayo Clinic. I’ve known Lee for over a year but had never had the chance to meet in person. It was fantastic to finally do so and to hear him break down the implementation of their various social media tactics. As you can see, they’ve done quite the job building up support and attention with their online tools (Examples – Facebook, YouTube, News Blog).
Lee harped on the importance of educating and engaging all Mayo Clinic staff in their social media efforts as a key to developing brand ambassadors. To help leverage this effort, they recently launched a feature-esque blog called Sharing Mayo Clinic that highlights personal stories told by patients, doctors, staff, etc. Here’s a great video from Lee discussing the purpose of the Sharing Mayo blog and providing insight on Mayo’s overall social media strategy:
Following Lee’s presentation, Commander Ron LaBrec of the U.S. Coast Guard talked about what the “coasties” are doing to capitalize on social media. A lot, in very little time.
In just a six-month span, the Coast Guard has done an incredible job cracking through a host of government barriers and regulations to build their online outreach efforts. Currently they are utilizing a tailored Pageflakes dashboard to assist with their listening and monitoring process. In addition, they’ve created an iCommadant blog that is authored by Admiral Thad Allen. The purpose of the blog is to keep service men and women as well as media abreast of the latest news and information from the Coast Guard as well as provide a personal voice for the public to engage and comment.
Key takeaways from Commander LaBrec were to accept that it will always be a challenge to control content on the Web and to understand that the existing conversation is already taking place – it’s now becoming a risk not to engage in those conversations.
Part 2 is next…