After graduating from college this past May, I felt like I was on top of the world. Having managed to save a few general education courses for my last semester, I floated through the end of my college career – only to come to a crash landing when the time came for me to officially join the “real world.”
No longer did I know everything. In fact, my rude awakening came when I realized that I knew nothing about one of the basic tools of the client I was hired to work with: social media. How could I, the recent college graduate and member of a very tech-savvy generation, be so uninformed about an important up-and-coming element in the world of communications?
Yes, I had posted a few blog entries during a past internship, and of course, I was the proud owner of a Facebook account. But that was it. I began to wonder, “How could my professors have a clear conscience about sending me out into the working world without first teaching me about wikis, RSS feeds and the blogosphere?”
I decided to do some investigating to see if other universities had jumped on the social media bandwagon and how they were tackling the issue.
• Students at Stanford University have the option of taking a Facebook class designed to help entrepreneurs and programmers embrace Facebook and learn how to make applications for the social networking site.
• At Bentley College, the students enrolled in social media class are treated to presentations about the application of social networking in a business setting, such as its use for strengthening a company’s branding capabilities.
• The University of Georgia offers a social media seminar class where students are required to keep a blog and create podcasts on a regular basis.
• Public relations students at the University of Florida don’t even need to be enrolled in a social media class to feel its effects; a webcast entitled “Future Trends: Exploring Social Media” provides students with a discussion of the increasing role of social media in their future business lives.
I could go on, but as I have learned during my short time in the realm of social media, Web surfers don’t have the time or patience to read incessantly long blog entries. I am proud to say that despite my lack of formal university training, I know more about social media than I did two months ago, and I will continue to learn.