Why the Fuss Over a Social Media Degree?
Not too long ago, Facebook was a simple networking tool used among the college crowd. Blogs were little more than online diaries, and YouTube was but a pipe dream. Now, social media has grown up and it’s become a staple in day to day communication functions for anyone, most notably businesses.
Social media is like a living organism, evolving over time into this super-beast of social media. Seeking to understand the social media creature, I found out that social media has put another notch of credibility on its weighty belt.
From Fortune 500 companies to much smaller operations, there is a growing demand in many industries to use social media to reach consumers. The Government Technology website published an article that announced the creation of college degrees in social media. Accordingly the demand for using social media platforms has led to related demand for employing those savvy in the medium.
The article mentions that social media has been included in available courses but, until recently, has not had its own specialized degree. The article also claimed that integrating social media into pre-established marketing programs would be difficult. Despite the growing demand for social media related skills, most colleges are not willing to institute a social media program leading to a degree.
It’s worth acknowledging the growing prominence of social media and comparing it to traditional marketing and advertising. A degree in social media would have to be an accredited acknowledgement that the graduate has a very flexible and wide reaching set of skills. As such, our social media graduate would need a similar working knowledge of communications, advertising, marketing, and more.
So what sets social media apart from the more traditional methods of advertising and marketing? Social media has inherent superiority in networking. Traditional methods need to rely on consumer attention span. While any ad can reference a source or remain consistent with other ads, social media can literally connect potential consumers from point to point in the moment. This interactivity with the consumer also does something that traditional advertising can’t - take advantage of impulsive interest.
Sure it takes skill to create a lasting impression, but social media still requires other skills worth recognition. Those that would seek to posses a degree in social media would have to have a working knowledge of customer interactions with each other. Again, social media is an interactive experience and it’s not just the consumer and supplier. With any number of consumers gathered in the same virtual space, the social media grad would have to be skilled in addressing and influencing the development the sociological structure of the consumer culture created around the brand.
To be sure, other noteworthy skills are present among the social media adepts. Perhaps institutions of higher education still haven’t fully classified what social media is. Consequently, one can’t teach something they themselves don’t fully understand. Given a newer generation of social media experienced professors; a social media degree may be as regular as a degree in physics or journalism.
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