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 or Twitter home page are probably the first to arise. As you learned in the last unit, Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only social media platforms on the World Wide Web, but they are the most widely known.

Although you may or may not be aware of it yet, a social media revolution is taking place right before your very eyes, and there are some new players in town. For a while now, the world of social media has been, to a large extent, dominated by the two social media giants that we discussed in the last unit—Facebook and Twitter.

When most people think of social media, they immediately recall social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter—and to a lesser extent, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest, but these sites aren’t the only types of social media at work on the worldwide web. If you’ll recall from Unit One, we defined 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, wikis, and forums, and briefly touched on the key characteristics of each. In this unit, we’ll delve more deeply into some of these “outcasts” of social media, discussing their prevalence, applications, and impact.

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 This once commonplace activity has been replaced by virtual sharing via social media platforms.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

Learn the basics of the most popular social media sites.
Examine how to best use social media for information, studying, and other school-related tasks.
Explore how to avoid common problems and dangerous situations on social media sites.
Extend social media from personal use to making it work for your professional life.

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