A recent article at USNews.com made an effort to paint a balanced picture on the issue of studying social media in our colleges and universities. Various perspectives were presented, including this author, on the value of social media classes.
To be sure, the entire concept is in flux, as James Dean, the dean of the Kenan-Flager Business School at UNC Chapel Hill noted. Social media is indeed an evolving concept, but one that is growing rapidly and reaching into all aspects and manner of businesses. To ignore it, or simply give it a polite nod with a class or two in the business curriculum, ignores the great value it may provide to the performance of a business. In our current business climate an organization needs every tool it can bring to bear to outperform the competition.
While it is true that IT professionals and marketing departments in organizations have some knowledge of social media, it is more self-taught and “social” then learned in an academic setting where the true benefits and applications to a business can be understood. Word-of-Mouth Marketing or “WOMM” is a well established method of advertising, and one that, in the past, was been proven to be very effective. Social Media is the modern variant of that.
Businesses are increasingly seeking new members who are able to effectively perform in the complicated electronic world we now find ourselves, and that trend is only going to increase as the cyber world expands to horizons we have not yet even dreamed of. You can go to the cyber beach and stick your head in the sand, or, you can paddle out and catch that growing wave.