Social media education continues to evolve and become an essential class for PR, Strategic Communications, and Integrated Marketing Communications students need to have once they enter the workplace. More brands and agencies are expecting not only to know the latest tools, but how to use them strategically and effectively.

Mark Schaefer shared a post via Twitter yesterday that caught my attention since it was proposing seven ideas to advance social media education. I think Mark has proposed several key areas that definitely need to be included and discussed in the area of social media education and incorporated into the curriculum.  This is perfect timing since I just finalized my syllabus for my class at the University of Louisville for this upcoming Spring.

While I think there are some great points and topics that need to be included in social media education as Mark has highlighted, there are a few other topics I would add to the list as well:

  • Transmedia Storytelling: The focus of social media platforms and tools is the fact people are going online to share their experiences, perspectives, and stories across multiple platforms.  This is the heart of what social media is all about – and this is a topic that needs to be discussed at the very beginning of class so students will have this foundation when discussing the other areas associated with social media and be able to connect the dots with content, strategy, and platforms seamlessly.
  • Rise an Prominence of Converged Media:  We forget that social media is not the only medium to follow and be aware of when we are looking at digital practices.  We have to be aware of how online conversations can translate into placements and mentions/stories in traditional media, and how relationships are formed based on these conversations with journalists and others in traditional media.  What about the rise of owned media and how brands are engaged more in content marketing practices?  This needs to be discussed thoroughly with students so they are informed about the current media landscape and the strategies they need to be aware of when practicing in this area.
  • Crisis Communications:  Social media crisis communications is a huge area that everyone seems to be talking about right now.  There are many cases to look at from this perspective, so this topic definitely needs to be highlighted and discussed in the classroom. This topic is going to be a weeklong topic for my social media class. Share stories, best practices, and case studies associated with social media crises.  I will have the chance to bring in two leading experts in the area via Skype/Google+ next semester in crisis communications (Melissa Agnes and Jonathan Bernstein) for my class. Crisis exercises and assignments also need to be incorporated as well.
  • Mobile Communications, Marketing, and Strategies:  When I was doing my research in social media classes for my syllabus, I was surprised when I found out that there were few professors that really went into mobile in their social media classes.  This is where the future is – and this was one reason why I wanted to make sure my class at the University of Louisville was titled “Social Media and Mobile Technologies.” Not only should students know about mobile, but the various specializations associated with it (ex. mcommerce, augmented reality, gamification, applications, etc).  Several classes and assignments should be dedicated focusing on the integration of social media with mobile technologies.
  • Social media and mobile analytics:  Another key area that needs to be shared and discussed with students.  Highlighting what are the main tools, metrics, and software programs out there that are available and being used by agencies and companies is key. In addition, discussion on the rise of social media dashboards and command centers should also be discussed and analyzed in class.  Research will definitely be a component – along with writing, strategy, and creativity – I will highlight in my social media class.

In summary, as social media tools and platforms evolve, so does the social media curriculum. We have to make sure we are offering the latest updates and practices for our students so they are prepared for the workplace and successful in the field.  As professors, we have to be lifelong learners and be prepared to alway explore and look for the latest trends to bring into the classroom.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,