Students Studying Twitter And Social Media In College

Trying to decide what you want to go to (or back to) college for? How about social media? If you want to become a community manager it makes sense! Or maybe you want to be a data analyst? Either way – these programs have you covered!

We recently came across a social media certificate course that’s been on our ‘to do’ list to share with you and then today we happened upon a data analytics course focusing on Twitter, so we knew it was time to start sharing these educational opportunities before they started piling up!

There are likely additional offerings elsewhere, no doubt, but these two will at least get you started.

We’ll start with Twitter (of course). The UC Berkley School of Information offers a class called Analyzing Big Data With Twitter where professors and Twitter engineers teach students about cutting-edge algorithms using Twitter data as an example of how data analytics is done. Why bother? Well, as the course description notes, “making sense of ‘Big Data’ is of increasing interest and importance to technology companies, a wide range of industries, and academic institutions.” Here’s what students taking this course will learn:

Topics will include applied natural language processing algorithms such as sentiment analysis, large scale anomaly detection, real-time search, information diffusion and outbreak detection, trend detection in social streams, recommendation algorithms, and advanced frameworks.

[Student teams will] complete intensive programming and analytics projects using the real-world example of Twitter data and code bases . . . and students will have the option of presenting their final project presentations to an audience of engineers at the headquarters of Twitter in San Francisco (in addition to on campus). Project topics include building on existing infrastructure tools, building Twitter apps, and analyzing Twitter data.

Does this mean these students will have access to Twitter’s Firehose? Well, the course description also says that access to data will be provided, so quite possibly! That should be enough to pique any data geek’s interest.

Next up – the online Undergraduate Certificate in Social Media from Central Michigan University. They just launched the certificate in March and their first wave of students are just now completing the first course in the five course, 15 credit hour, certificate.

Eric Joyce, social media developer at the school’s global campus tells us that “the concepts taught in the program take a broad, philosophical approach to social media as a whole. Courses focus on the impact social media have on society, how social media professionals can manage their message, the current legal and ethical issues surrounding social media, and culminates in students creating a fully developed social media strategy.” Nice. We know a few “gurus” who could benefit from this certificate program.

Guess this means that those of us working in social media right now will have bragging rights as we tell the next generation tales of how we were self-taught in all this online techno-babble before it became a ‘degree.’ Does that trump walking uphill (both ways) in the snow for miles to get to school?

Do you know of other social media-style offerings? And are they going to eventually replace more ‘traditional’ degrees?

(College students with computer photo from Shutterstock)

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