I am finishing up my Junior year at MTSU as an Organizational Communications major. This semester, I was privileged to be a part of the first social media communication class offered at MTSU. At first, I admit, I was skeptical. I was not exactly sure what I could be taught about social media and I was afraid it was going to be a waste of my time. However, the opposite proved to be true and I learned a lot more than expected.
First of all, whether we like it or not, social media has become a large part of our society both personally and professionally. There are several different platforms being used, including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, and several others to create and share information. It is important to not only understand how these are being used, but also to be able to adapt and use them as required. The ability to adapt and communicate effectively is what being a communications major is all about, and if we do not learn the social media platforms, we will not be able to do this. Not only is this exactly what being a communications major is all about, but I believe any major can benefit from learning how to communicate online in some way, just as we are required to take a class in general communication (COMM 2200).
Furthermore, communication is also about engaging. We engage with each other face to face in the classroom, we are encouraged to engage with professionals both inside and outside of the classroom, and we will have to engage with the real world when we graduate. By engaging, I mean we have to not only listen, but we have to speak in a way that gives our listeners something of value to them. Social media is another place to engage, and it even allows you to go more in depth with your “followers.” Not only can you bring information to the table, but you can send people directly to websites and other resources to back up your facts or to further their knowledge as well. Twitter isn’t just about sharing what you had for breakfast, it is about listening and engaging.
Learning how to engage online is how we grow and build our network. Our network is how we will make connections in the real world. Our future is in social media. Our employers want us to be able to communicate online. They want us to promote their businesses and get them more business, and we cannot do this by simply applying the limited knowledge we have. We need to learn how employers operate and what they expect from us, and then we need to learn how to deliver that. The world is changing, and we need to change with it.