Trends in Social Media

The newest trends for 2014 in the job market are centered on social media. According to Twin Engine, a digital marketing agency featured in Social Times, content marketing and big data will become the most significant in 2014. Because of this, The University of Florida now offers a masters degree in Mass Communication and Social Media. However, the Silicon Valley Business Journal wrote they feel a degree in social media is a waste of money and it is better to gain “real-world” experience. In the same article, 91% of the people surveyed said they would hire someone regardless if they had a social media degree.


The Creative Group tells a different story.  The blog reports there will be an increase in hiring within the creative field, especially in social media in 2014. Around 32% of marketing and advertising specialists have problems finding skilled creative professionals to hire. These specialists look for people who are experienced in a “range of digital skills, including mobile and user experience designers, and those who have successfully managed social media campaigns and communities.”

To become a Social Media Specialist, one needs a higher level of dedication than many other fields. According to Dane Cobain’s post on Ari Herzog’s Social Media Today blog, these positions are 24/7 jobs – including nights and weekends. Cobain describes his workday beginning with checking social media sites and email while still in bed each morning. His typical day at the office includes blogs, tweets, hash-tags, Facebook and more.

With social media so engrained in our everyday lives, is it necessary to offer a specialized degree? Most of the younger population knows how to surf the web, download apps and Face-time before they enter Kindergarten. There is a new generation of people who have never lived without social media and view what some see as a new trend as the norm. This is an exciting time with new careers opening up in a growing field. I predict we will see the social media field evolving in leaps and bounds over the next few years. Are you ready?

– Susan Willetts

17 thoughts on “Trends in Social Media

  1. I have to agree with the Silicon Valley Business Journal in this argument, I do not think one needs a masters degree in Mass Communication and Social Media. Just as you said in the blog, this generation is digital media natives and can operate various social media outlets in our sleep. I understand that there is much more to running a corporation’s social media account than simply knowing how to post a tweet or status update, if that were the case literally anyone can do it. I think the experience in running a social media campaign is very valuable. One would know what works well for a specific company and what things their consumers are looking for. It may not be the best idea to jump in head first but rather take a few classes about running social media for an organization rather than for personal use, but I do not think an entire masters degree is required. I cannot wait to see what social media evolves into within the next few years!

  2. I disagree with the Silicon Valley Business Journal. I believe that a masters degree in Mass Communication and Social Media could be highly beneficial to approaching the fields of marketing and advertising. There is no doubt that the prevalence of social media has increased dramatically in recent years. The presence of social media has produced the members of the digital age, who are often referred to as digital natives. Although digital natives are aware of how to surf the internet, download apps, Face Time, or update a status, this does not mean that they are all doing it effectively. Offering a masters degree in Mass Communication and Social Media could provide one with the knowledge and skills to exceed the expectations of employers, which could lead to innovative ways of using social media in a more effective manner. Saying a degree in Mass Communication and Social Media is unnecessary simply because digital natives already know how to use social media would be like saying a bachelors degree in Communication Studies is unnecessary because everyone knows how to communicate. Just because everyone knows how to communicate does not make them experts in Communication. Likewise, just because digital natives know how to use social media does not mean they use it effectively and to its full potential. Therefore, in the case of both Communication Studies and Mass Communication and Social Media, there are still crucial skills that must be learned if one desires to be considered an expert in the respective fields.

  3. I am shocked that a college is offering a masters degree program in Mass Communication and Social Media. I understand that there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of social media but it seems a tad pointless to pay thousands of dollars to train someone to learn these things when our generation could pick up the ropes in a matter of weeks. I agree with Amanda I think that giving a few classes to help further explain the inner workings and how to effectively use social media may be beneficial but a selective masters program that would accomplish the whole things seems a tad extreme. This once again just goes to show the import ants of social media, and technology as a whole to our society and the direction in which things are moving.

  4. Thank you for your replies! I believe including social media as part of a Communication Studies Degree is very valuable. As a COM student, I have learned about social media through blogging and Tweeting as part of class and feel gaining this experience is very beneficial. The question remains, is it necessary to have it as a separate degree? Susan Willetts

  5. I feel that it is difficult to go far with only knowledge on Social Media and making that your main focus as a major. With this being said, I do agree that it should be a part of a Communication Studies Degree because it is an unavoidable aspect of communication and almost every one’s lifestyle as of late. However, the fact that a university is offering a masters program under this topic of social media is questionable. I think that there is no need for such a specific field of study such as social media. I feel that if you are a well educated Communication Specialist you should therefore understand the inter-workings of social media outlets and how to manage mass communication. Rather than creating a specific subcategory of Communication studies, social media should me melted into the basic study of communication.

  6. I found this blog post particularly interesting because since I am graduating in May, I’ve been applying to various jobs in the communications/marketing/pr field and have even applied for a few social media specialist positions. I also came across on LinkedIn the University of Florida posting about their online Master of Arts program in Mass Communication in particular with Social Media. I decided to speak to someone at that university to know more about the program. My opinion is half and half. I agree it is very important to learn more about social media and its capabilities. A lot of time, people are using social media incorrectly by not using it to its fullest capabilities or using it for the wrong reasons. So I definitely think there should be a component in a communication degree focusing on social media. We live in a primarily digital society and I predict that this will only grow and advance in the upcoming years. The idea of having an entire degree dedicated to that field is still a little strange to me. Maybe in the future this will be a more popular degree to receive. I think there is more strategy that goes into tweets, Facebook, and blog posts than just posting “My coffee tastes good”. There has been studies proving that people check social media at certain times of the day so there are recommended windows of when to post so it can reach the maximum amount of views. Overall, it’s something that should be studied and not people “winging it” but I’m not sure if I would dedicate a whole degree to it.

  7. I definitely agree that offering a degree in mass communication and social media is a bit ridiculous. I’m not saying that they’re are not important or shouldn’t be taught, but an masters degree seems redundant to me. What does it consist of? I can’t imagine what someone’s schedule would look like, or telling someone “Oh I’m currently enrolled in Twitter101, Facebook230, Facebook301, and Instagram400?” I feel like each platform could be taught in complete detail through one or two classes- and SHOULD be. Even though we are a generation growing up completely submerged in social media, there is a good chance that most people don’t know how to efficiently use sites like Facebook and Twitter in a professional manner. We’re perfectly comfortable posting pictures of ourselves and tweeting about our encounter with a particularly agitating driver, but using social media as a marketing platform requires a different type of knowledge that should be taught in a class. I’m just not sure that it requires an entire degree.

  8. I don’t think I could ever condone a “social media degree,” but I think it’s a necessary skill for employers, prospective employees and business that incorporates hard and soft features. What I mean by those two terms is that you must be an effective and ethical communicator (soft skills), yet know how to utilize all appropriate features and platforms of digital social media technology.

    Whenever a company is hiring a social media specialist, I wonder what exactly that position entails. The person would have control of the company’s social media outlets, I get that, but why not give that responsibility to another communication or creative employee within the company. Are the technological hard skills becoming so in-demand that company’s need specialists? Is it something that is becoming so integral to a brand’s marketing, they can’t afford to NOT have someone who is highly skilled at using it? I think the answer to both of those questions is becoming more and more apparent upon seeing recent ad and marketing campaigns.

  9. I think it is astonishing to believe how prominent social media is becoming in the business world today. Almost every large corporation has a job title specifically responsible for social media correspondences. While I think these positions are necessary and valuable, I agree with the Silicon Valley Business Journal that an entire degree in this area of expertise may be overkill. Instead, I believe that Communication Studies majors should have to opportunity and option to either minor or have a concentration in these skills. With the rate our society is moving in the social media realm, we need these experts to stay current and on top of new trends.

  10. I think that offering a degree in Social Media is pretty ridiculous. I think that a degree in psychology or marketing would benefit someone much more than learning how to navigate Twitter or Instagram. Social media has opened up a lot of doors and a lot of job opportunities for people, but like the author said, kindergardeners know how to use these websites. You don’t need a degree to figure it out. Maybe a few classes on the side would look impressive to an employer, but what can a social media degree really teach you? A psychology degree can help people learn the way humans think, what grabs their attention, what really intrigues a human being. I think the shift to social media is huge and extremely important. But I also believe there are better ways to be proficient in the area other than dedicating your college career to it.

  11. Though it is crazy to think that social media could actual become a degree, it may be the direction we are headed. In my opinion, I think there could be a minor or a concentration in social media, but an entire degree based upon the idea that all you need to know is how to operate the online world, is a little astonishing. As communication majors we look past just the simple aspect of posting something online and what it communicates about the brand or product to a consumer. Would that be what they would teach with a social media degree? It is undeniably a trend that is growing in almost every field, but when is it considered too much? As a digital native, I think social media has taken businesses and brands farther than they probably ever thought possible, which is a positive in many ways and to have those skills can be helpful when trying to land a job. I do feel, however, that it would be going too far to have a entire degree geared towards social media. Rather, teach it as a skill set that will be utilized in a variety of jobs and possible a concentration or minor in a field that teaches you the deeper meaning of why brands use social media.

  12. I don’t feel that this generation requires formal education in social media, but the field should definitely be touched on in individual fields of study. The common college aged adult in the US has the basic skills to at least be literate in the social media market and further education into the benefits of such tools should be taught in the communication and business fields of study. I do not think that it requires a specialized degree. The ability to manage a social media campaign should be a skill listed on a Linkedin profile not a specific degree or specialty. Having that as a specialized trade could hinder a job seeker and limit opportunities within the field they seek to enter.

  13. I think for the current time that a Social Media degree is a great idea. Social Media has become a must for companies and businesses to get out their products to the world. I run the Facebook fan page and Twitter account for my father’s businesses and it is amazing how many people you can reach by just a click of a button. Facebook also has incorporated into their fan pages a tab that tells you how many people have viewed and interacted in a post. There definitely is a strategy and art to go by that allows you to reach the most people at one time. I think it is great to have this taught in college. It could open up a whole new door to social media opportunities for businesses.

  14. Susan,

    I definitely agree with you about the growing trend in social media. I foresee a definite increase in the study of social media in most degrees. Whether it is a Psychology major doing research on the influence of social media on suicide, a digital arts major learning new design trends for social media, or a Communication Studies major learning about the influences of social media in the marketing world this shift towards a focus in social media is already starting its formation. I think as time goes by this topic will only grow in popularity. Hopefully the more people that are educated on the topic of social media, the less likely it is to be destructive on our society.

  15. In my opinion a degree in Social Media would not be a bad idea. We all could agree that social media is getting larger and larger. It is also always changing. I think some feel a full on study of Social media isn’t needed because we feel as though we know everything about it and the we picked it up pretty easy. I’m sure there are several things about it that us as “basic” users do not know. After all the inventors of the social sites and apps like Facebook, twitter, linked-in, Instagram etc. seen something we didn’t and made billions/millions off it. Learning Social Media in depth seems very beneficial to me.

  16. I disagree with the Silicon Valley Business Journal when it says that a degree in social media is a waste of money. I think that just because our generation is considered “digital natives” and some of this stuff comes as common sense to us does not mean that there is no value to a masters in Mass Communication and Social Media. Knowing how to send a tweet, post an instagram, and download apps is really simplifying this career and making it seem like anyone can do it. Social media is always changing and becoming more and more prevalent in our everyday lives. Mastering in social media could really help a person to know how to do these things effectively, figure out what is appropriate to post, and learn how to make their post stand out amongst all the thousands of others. If this is something a person wants to do and be good at, a masters in the area would be the best way to do it.

  17. It would be very interesting to see a Social Media degree in the future. Social media is definitely going to be apart of our society from now on and I believe that we should start training the coming generations of communicators and businessmen and businesswomen in the methods of managing and regulating social media.

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