An interesting article published today in the Wall Street Journal highlights the growth of courses surrounding social media. Obviously, Facebook is one of the primary resources studied when learning about social media. Schools such as the University of Michigan and the Rochester Institute of Technology are offering courses in social computing and social media. Facebook has attracted such a large percentage of student’s time, it has now become a focus of study for scholars. Some students are even being observed while spending time on Facebook. While I wouldn’t want to be the person performing the observation, it helps illustrate how mainstream social media has become.
From a computer science perspective, it is extremely useful to learn about FOAF (friend of a friend) algorithms for optimizing social network search capabilities. There is currently a high demand for social network developers given the rapid growth in new sites launching on a daily basis (read Mashable and you’ll see more).
Bottom line: the social networking phenomenon has become so mainstream that it is being taught in school. Facebook is at the center of most of these studies.