Monday, May 4, 2009

Communications Schools and Teaching Social Media

Which communications schools are teaching Social Media integration?

The use of Social Media continues to explode.

News organizations, advertising agencies, marketing firms and public relations businesses are working mightily to add Social Media to their arsenal of weapons and tactics for reaching the unwashed masses.

And yet universities in the United States seem slow to grasp the significance of the changes in the world of communications.

A Google search on the terms “social media” and “communications school” brings a little over 900 results. But less than a half dozen of these links take you to a four-year college that teaches classes in Social Media. None offers a four-year degree in a subject area such as Social Media and Public Communications.

While there are very good schools offering one-off classes and add-on labs it's fair to say that generally American academia has not been sufficiently impressed by Social Media to offer in-depth academic course work in its various elements.

A notable exception is American University’s Center for Social Media. With its mantra of “Helping people make media that matters” and a mission to “investigate, showcase and set standards for socially engaged media-making” it is a shining example of what a higher-learning institution can do. And yet …

Somehow, it seems to me, Social Media will only have “made it” when classes such as “Twitter 101: How Twitter Fits Into the Public Communications Spectrum” and “Twitter 201: Using Twitter to Add Meaning and Value to Public Communications” are among those in a four-year curriculum in Social Media.

Clearly American academia (and the people who fund it) have yet to grasp the colossal change going on in Public Communications. Still content to teach “push” media such as television, radio, newspaper and magazine, they may offer one class on the “new Social Media” here or there.

Ironically many students graduating from communications schools in the next few weeks will know more about Social Media than their professors – a lot more – and they will have learned it on their own.

As they look for jobs in real world media it’s a very safe bet their knowledge and abilities with Social Media will set them apart from those who simply stuck to the curriculum.

When will the majority of communications schools wake up?

No comments:

Post a Comment