Did our grandparents ever imagine taking a “social media” class in college?

Doubtful. Back when our grandparents attended college, that is if they ever attended college, social media would have been an unknown term. Merriam-Webster Dictionary online defines social media as “forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).” Social media may have many different definitions. What I like about this one in specific is that it refers to it as “online communities.” I believe this is the heart of social media at its best.

Many of my non-communication student friends ask me all the time, why on earth would I take a social media class? Before I even get a chance to respond they proceed to presume that it must be just a fun elective, which probably allows me to be lazy… Wrong. As I have come to understand these past few years at Marquette University, is that social media is everywhere. It highly affects our personal lives among our social media “friends” but it also, unconsciously, affects our buying behavior. That is exactly why social media is such an important course to take.

Most right-brined Business majors are yet to understand the power that social media, and communications in general, have over consumer behavior. With applications such as Twitter and Foursquare now companies have the ability to track consumer buying behaviors, and how profit might be maximized. Unfortunately many businesses have yet to get the memo.

By 2012 I am sure every company has heard of the benefits of social media. However, for some reason that I am yet to understand, some companies out there are still reluctant to join these online communities. With technology like that of Google Analytics, online traffic and trends can be tracked with the click of a button. This opens up a world of opportunities for companies who would like to target their audiences effectively, and helps them keep track of what their consumers actually want. That right there will lead them to success faster than they can even imagine.

So, why did I decide to take a social media class? Simple. Because in every single job search I have done for the past year, social media “savvy” is the main job requirement. Finally, going back to my initial question, I am sure my grandfather never dreamed of taking a social media class in college. However, the minute he “friend requested” me on Facebook, and added me on Skype, I knew this was the beginning of a new technological era.

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