Is an MA in Social Media strictly necessary?

mortar-boards1Would you be impressed by a candidate boasting the University of Salford’s proposed MA in Social Media (hat tip Chi-chi Ekweozor)?

Recruitment is becoming a key issue for any traditional company building its digital business. Does it continue to appoint people in the image of its existing employees, and then spend months training them, or should a company only consider candidates with a minimum social media footprint?

The Guardian has just recruited Lauren Luke, a 27-year-old single mother and YouTube make-up star, as a columnist. As Online Journalism Blog’s Paul Bradshaw says

I’ve written previously that if you want to get into journalism you should have a blog. I’d add to that: if you want your own column, you should build up a following on YouTube too. News organisations will increasingly not just be looking for people who know what they’re talking about, but how to distribute it effectively online.

Note that Ms Luke is a make-up artiste first and a YouTuber second. Similarly no company, whatever its legacy, is suddenly going to drop its requirement for core skills and be seduced by social media. 

Calculators, emails and now Twitter

Social media is just the next technological development to impact on the workplace. When the excitement has died down, what would be the point of knowing about the kit rather than the core skills themselves? Did we appoint people in the 1970s who knew how to use calculators or shortlist candidates in the 1990s who were good at sending emails?  Why appoint someone skilled in Twitter if they cannot write, market or sell?

No. All we need are people good at the core skills who happen to have set up a blog, a Twitter account and/or used LinkedIn.

It does not seem much to ask. But it ain’t an MA.

Photo credit: David the Pimp Daddy

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About John Welsh

John Welsh has spent his entire working life in business-to-business media, first traditional publishing, having edited three magazines over 14 years, and, second, exhibitions since 2007. He started this blog on 22 June 2008 and ended it on 18 May 2010.
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3 Responses to Is an MA in Social Media strictly necessary?

  1. David Law says:

    Good post John.

    I think there is definitely scope to study social media within a degree or MA. I think journalism degrees will benefit from modules in social media. It is important for journalism students to know the importance of blogging.

    I wrote my dissertation on participatory journalism and social media. I did a Culture, Media and Society studies degree. It gave me the opportunity to study what I was really interested in and doing so, I became aware of the impact social media is having on traditional mainstream media and marketing.

    I think social media should definitely feature in media studies and journalism courses because it is having an impact on these industries.

    An MA on Social Media will just be a step on from this. It wont be so banal as to teach someone how to use twitter, or set up a linkedin profile. It will be teaching about the wider impact of social media, and what it means for media. And it will enable students to research into how social media is changing media.

  2. Pingback: From Single Mother To Social Media Celebrity | Real Fresh TV | Social Media, Multi-Platform Marketing and Internet TV Specialists

  3. Funnily enough, we’re launching an MA in Social Media from September. You heard it here first.

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