Introduction to Social Media

Course Overview

Units at a glance

Think social media is all about posting status updates on Facebook? Think again. Although Facebook was one of the first social media networks and remains one of the most popular and influential platforms, it doesn’t define the field. Social media has evolved into a channel for personal and professional communication and has grown to encompass several solid platforms and tools.

When someone mentions social media, what are the very first things that come to mind? If you’re like most people, visions of your Facebook timeline, Twitter homepage, Instagram feed, or Snapchat story are probably the first images that pop into your mind. As you learned in the last unit, Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only social media platforms out there, though they have long been the leading giants in the social media industry. These two social media platforms have become staples in our daily lives with terms like ‘tweet’ and ‘status update’ being so commonly used that they were added to the Oxford Dictionary.

A social media revolution is taking place right before your eyes with new social media apps and platforms exploding onto the scene daily. For years, the world of social media has been largely dominated by two giants—Facebook and Twitter. However, several other apps and platforms are not far behind these giants with rapidly growing popularity. The most notable of these social media players are Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest. These three visually-based social media apps have quickly become common household and workplace names, similar to their predecessors.

When most people think of social media, they immediately recall social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest. But these sites aren’t the only types of social media at work on the world-wide web. In Unit One, we define social media as “any online conduit for communicating with companions or associates.” We also identified some other types of social media including blogs, video, podcasts, photo sharing, and professional forums, as well as briefly touching on the key characteristics of each.

There’s no denying the fact that social media has changed the way we communicate with one another. For instance, when was the last time you brought a tangible photo album over to a friend’s house to show off some new pictures? It’s probably been quite a while ago if ever, right? This once commonplace activity has been replaced by virtual sharing via social media platforms. Photos aren’t the only things we’re sharing online, though. Status updates, videos, articles we’ve read—these are all things that we can now broadcast to the world with the click of a button. Does this ease of use make for better interpersonal communication, or is social media ruining the natural way we humans have communicated with each other for centuries? Big questions deserve big answers. Let’s dig in.

In the last unit, “The Social of Social Media: How Social Media Can Be Used for Interpersonal Communication,” we talked about how the two major players in the field of social media—Facebook and Twitter—can be used for keeping up with friends and relatives. In this unit, we’ll look at how businesses are using these and other social media tools to gain exposure and enhance their bottom lines.

In the last unit, we discussed the role social media plays in marketing. We looked at how several popular brands have leveraged social media to gain exposure and attract new customers. In this unit, you will have the opportunity to experiment with the same social media strategies Fortune 500 companies are currently using. You will develop a product concept as well as a well thought-out strategy for marketing this product via the social media tools and platforms we’ve examined in this course.

In the last unit, we discussed how social media can be used by businesses to gain exposure and even increase revenue for their companies. You don’t have to own a business or a website to benefit from the social media revolution, however. In this unit, we’ll discuss how you can begin to use social media right now in order to increase your academic standing and prepare yourself for your future career.

In our last unit, we discussed how to use social media to your benefit during the course of your academic career. Social media can prepare you for the workforce as your academic career winds down and your professional career begins. In this unit, we will discuss the role social media has in the workforce and how you can use social media to jumpstart your career.

In recent years, social media has transformed the workplace. From finding jobs, networking with colleagues, and marketing products, social media has become an integral part of becoming and remaining employed in today’s global marketplace. In the last unit, we talked about how you can use social media to network, land a job, and remain knowledgeable about your chosen industry. In this unit, we’ll discuss the importance of building a personal brand for yourself as a professional in your field. We’ll also discuss specific strategies for using social media to brand and market yourself.

Course Highlights

Discover why status updates and tweets have become so popular and what they can do for you.
Learn about the impact social media has on our society.
Take your messages and selfies to the next level with photo-based social media sites.
Use social media to launch a fresh image for your business and attract new customers.

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