Getting a University Degree in Social Media and SEO – Do Bloggers Really Need it?
Imagine sitting in a classroom and your lecturer says, “Class, today we’re going to discuss the fundamentals of sending a tweet”. Doesn’t that sound slightly bizarre? But this is exactly what is on the horizon in 2011 with Universities planning to offer students a Masters’ degree in Social Media! So what exactly are they going to learn?
The degree will focus on all aspects of Social Networking; modules on Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, Web 2.0, and SEO are set to become the new trend at Universities!
Knowledge on Social Media holds considerable weight as a supplementary Marketing and PR exercise for businesses, but is this enough to warrant a separate field of study? It is logical to include Social Media as part of a Business or Marketing course, but there are numerous variables that make it illogical to study Social Media as an independent course.
Let’s take a look at some of these variables:
- Change is Inevitable
Social Media platforms are constantly evolving – new features and upgrades are the norm in this industry. While the theory of why I should use Social Media as a networking tool remains constant, the interfaces of platforms like Twitter and Facebook WILL change. Does studying the various interfaces and how they are used permit an entire degree to be factored into Universities?
- Practice Makes Perfect
I know when I learnt the different Social Media applications, I didn’t pick up my Facebook textbook and read chapter 7. I did it through trial and error! The more I used the different platforms, the more familiar I became with these applications. And whenever I was stuck, I clicked on a large link called “help”. The help function and the tutorials on offer are a valuable resource to assist anyone in learning an application. The irony of it all is that most college students are already experts in using Social Media platforms. THEY should be teaching it and not the other way around!
- Social Networking is about Relationships
The core purpose of Social Media is to provide a casual setting where relationships can be built. Building relationships is a vital element to every business. An elective course in Communication can teach you the fundamentals of building interpersonal relationships, but I do not see how a lecturer can teach you the best way to send a “friend request”. Building relationships on Social Media sites isn’t something that can be taught at University level, it is something that is learned through experience, and it is your own personality that determines how apt you are at building relationships.
The questions beg to be asked, “Is it necessary to study Social Media as a dedicated degree?”
“Can somebody learn SEO in a classroom?” “Are they going to teach things like commenting and back linking”?
In my opinion it will be value-adding to include it as a supplementary field of study, but not as a complete and independent degree. I am convinced that whatever a lecturer can teach you in a classroom about Social Networking and SEO can just as well be learnt in a few mouse clicks. But the jury is still out – what do you think?