Get your degree by learning to use Twitter and Facebook? To some, obtaining a degree in Social Media may sound like a joke. When University of Florida announced the first ever master’s degree program in Social Media in the U.S., many were skeptical on it's authenticity, and validity in the world.
A student who recently started taking the course spoke to BuzzFeed about the graduate class. And, here's what she had to say, and what you should expect out out it.
It's a 33 credit hour online graduate program. Each week the professor will provide you with a syllabus which outlines what work you will have for the week. Live lectures are recorded, and you have the ability to watch these at alternate times. There are no designated log in times, so you can do your work when it’s convenient for you.
You will learn how to grow social media accounts, when to post for ideal marketing, and how to effectively write to have better user engagement. The focus on the social media course will be marketing, branding, and return on investments (ROI). You will also learn how to properly manage the engagement through back-end analytics and tools. Overall, it will provide you with the knowledge on how brands can have a solid social media marketing strategy and presence.
In the course you will be required to maintain your own blog that will be shared with the class. For example, on Monday you'll complete the readings for Intro to Social Media class, then you will have to write a blog about it summarizing what you learned. The professor compiles a list of articles and blogs to read on different topics each week, such as Twitter or Facebook. You'll also learn more sensible pieces of information, such as the dos and don'ts of social media.
Part of the course is interaction via social media. For example, you will have to start following five influential brands, send a tweet to at least three people and try to start a conversation, or tweet two pieces of content from the lecture. These are weekly assignments, but there is also mid and final term projects, and sometimes group work.
In the interview with the student, she makes a powerful statement at the end on just why this course is so valuable, which reads:
"In today’s world where an average American interacts with 3,000 ads a day, it’s the most competitive market ever and knowing the strategies to get your brand noticed is proving to make the difference. That’s what this is degree is all about, and I think it will give me the competitive edge I need."