Social Media: The poor man’s graduate program?

I’m not going to preface this post by stating that I’m some sort of social media marketing guru or expert, as I do not think one can legitimately call themselves that in a field that is constantly changing and evolving. I will say that I make a concerted effort to keep up to date (mostly via social media) with the current trends, new technologies, and best practices.


The beauty of social media is that it is entirely what you make of it. Some folks’ social pages are filled with videos of babies doing daft things or cats looking cute. Others’ timelines are all family drama, restaurant specials, or narcissists competing for attention. Then there are those of us who use individual social media platforms is specific ways. My personal Facebook page, which I honestly do not post directly on to as often as I used to (thanks to multi-platform capabilities of Instagram and Twitter), are family and friends, a few news pages, local orgs and businesses, and some international education and travel bloggers. I use Pinterest for marketing, DIY, style, recipes and decor ideas. I also have a “virtual resume” board, which I happen to love, but not many other people are interested in a collection of all my online accomplishments! I love LinkedIn for its stalker capacity. I mean that in the non-creepiest way. I am genuinely interested in certain companies and job positions and am curious about people’s career paths. My Google+ page is used for… well, let’s be honest, I don’t work for Google, so I don’t post on there all that often. However, I do have the connected YouTube account, use Hangouts on an almost daily basis (long distance relationship) and can’t wait to see how Google+ continues to evolve in the near future.

My Twitter page is a hodgepodge of all my interests: culture and travel, socio-political and justice issues, higher education and international exchange, and marketing and social media. Scrolling through my page at any given time could read like the syllabus of my own individually curated master’s program. I could (and sometimes do) spend hours clicking links and reading article after article–or at least save them to pocket.

But just what does all this reading and sharing and following do for us in the long run?

I will tell you, I am taking an optimistic view. While it may not amount to a $150,000 piece of paper (a typical degree), social media is an incredible tool for learning; whether it be social debate, practical and ongoing knowledge in a particular line of work, or research and discussion on scholarly articles. The knowledge gained through social media really does have to amount to something, even if we can’t put our finger- or a price tag- on it yet.




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