By Kelly Martin and Mike Johansson
Social media is finally getting the respect it deserves as part of the pantheon of communication technologies with its own dedicated class at RIT.
As the instructors in this first-ever class, Critical Practice in Social Media, we are both excited and feeling slightly pressured (there is so much to cram into a mere 15 weeks!).
Think about this: We want to cover all of the critical cultural issues, relevant communication theory, social organizing theory , and the legal and ethical issues as well as demonstrate the most effective uses of social media for individual and organizational purposes.
As we prepared for this class we quickly realized this could easily have been two entire classes. But in the meantime we have a course that is jam-packed and will both be challenging and fun for us and students.
So, how will this class be taught differently? We will teach a good portion of it (about a third) using social media platforms. A few brief examples of what this means …
• Showing students the value of a completed and professional Linkedin profile (something less than a third of Linkedin users have)
• Using Twitter chats, Google Hangouts and Skype to bring experts from around the world into the classroom
• Using visual platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Vine to demonstrate the power of visuals to show a story rather than just tell it
• Demonstrating the power of social media to uncover digital artifacts about others on social media – whether it’s to prepare for a job interview, to find sources for a news story or to understand what makes a competitor tick.
As we prepared this class we also had a feeling that we were at the beginning of something exciting for RIT.
What exactly will happen with this class? We aren’t sure … yet. But we do know that we’re looking forward to compelling discussions and experimenting with new social platforms in order to understand the very social media we are using.