Twitter. Facebook. LinkedIn. YouTube. Google+. The seemingly endless list of social media platforms is difficult for many people to navigate, let alone know how to use effectively.
Enter Youngstown State University’s Department of Communication, which this fall semester is introducing a new minor course of study in Social Media Campaigns. The department, said chair Adam Earnheardt, hopes to harness the energy and desire students have to understand these new communication platforms.
“Our new minor introduces students to various social media outlets and how to use them to communicate with various audiences,” Earnheardt said about the program that was approved in the spring by the Academic Program Committee of the YSU Academic Senate.
“It also teaches them how to build effective communication strategies, how to implement those strategies, and how to measure the effectiveness of those strategies. We also teach students how to do research using social media.”
Students enrolled in the minor take an initial course in communication theory. Next, students take five upper-division courses in media relations campaigns, media relations writing, designing communication research, computer-mediated communication, and new communication media.
“We think it’s a fantastic compliment to students enrolled in other majors at YSU,” Earnheardt said. “Consider the many implications social media have on business relations, the health care industry, the sciences, the arts. Social media permeates just about every aspect of our lives.”
In Earnheardt’s computer-mediated communication course, students create what he calls “mini social media campaigns” surrounding an event on campus or in the community.
“In recent semesters, most of the students created campaigns for community service-related events like Relay for Life and the Pink Ribbon Cheer Classic,” he said. “Some students even developed pseudo campaigns for large, well-known organizations like Wal-Mart and the Air Force.”
For more information about the social media minor, Earnheardt invites questions via Twitter (@adamearn), Facebook (www.facebook.com/adamearn), and email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The new minor will appear in the 2012-2013 YSU Undergraduate Bulletin.