The Digital Journalism Blog

Social Media #takingover

By: Hollie Huntley

From the creation of social media education to the way it impacts our relationships, social media is changing our world. This print story is focused on the construction of the social media marketing program at Bradley University as well as how social media is used in the workplace. The video story features a Bradley student talking about how social media had impacted her relationships. Two online components include a timeline of the social media history and an interactive graphic with facts about social media usage around the world.

Social Media: Taking Over Education and the Workplace

The question college students face on an almost daily basis is what are you majoring in? Typical answers include math, biology, education and maybe even political science. But what if someone said majoring in Social Media Marketing? Well, at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, having a concentration in social media has become a regular answer.

“In 2010 it was a conversation we had amongst faculty saying this [social media] is big, something is going to come from this, it’s something we need to pay attention to,” said Heidi Rottier, marketing professor and head of the social media marketing program.

Being an avid social media user herself, Rottier was the right fit for this position and began doing research on potential curriculums.

“I started looking at what kinds of programs are out there and I didn’t find a lot,” said Rottier. “That told me this was something. This puts us ahead of the game for our students.”

Rottier created the description of the class and presented it to the University in 2010.

Then, in the spring of 2011, Bradley University implemented the Social Media Marketing program which offers students the opportunity to minor or have a concentration in Social Media Marketing.

Now in its fourth semester as an official program, it has grown to have 18 majors and 35 minors within the program.

“It gives our students an advantage over other graduates,” said Rottier. “If they can go out in to the marketplace and say “I’ve had a class on this, I’ve been specifically trained to do social media” that sets them apart.”

Social media becoming an area of study has come directly from the growth and response of companies becoming more prevalent on social networks.

“It has become a great way to interact with companies,” said Rottier.

As the ACBU President and Late Night BU coordinator, Bradley Public Relations student Erin Guth knows first hand how social media has started to impact companies and organizations.

“Its an easy medium to communicate with,” said Guth. “I use it to promote events because we make Facebook events for each event on campus. I’ll use that to invite all my friends so we can have a high attendance not only on the Facebook event page, but hopefully that will translate to high attendance at the actual event.”

Besides using social media to promote on-campus events, Guth is a marketing intern at Hult Marketing in Peoria.

“I help with posting on Facebook and Twitter, upkeep Pinterest and Instagram, and LinkedIn as well,” said Guth.

Guth utilizes HootSuite for content management which provides her the chance to blast the social networks Hult is using.

“I would say about 25 percent of the time I spend at Hult is used on social media,” said Guth.

Even having one fourth of her internship focused on social media, Guth says much change has happened since she started.

“Last year I barely worked with social media at all,” said Guth. “It’s a new thing. They realize interns are college aged and we know how to write in a 140 characters for Twitter.”

A transformation from personal online use to educational and corporate purposes, social media has played a huge role on the current generations. As Rottier talked about the use of social media offering students an advantage in the workforce, Guth also agrees.

“Applying for other internships and jobs, social media is always one of the responsibilities within the communication field and I don’t think that has been there in the previous years,” said Guth.

Social media usage has been on a clear increase over the past 10 years. With the creation of Friendster to Twitter, it has become clear that social media is here to stay, not only as a way to talk to friends.

Change in Communication and Relationships

Sophomore Bradley University student Andrea Fietsam talks about how social media has influenced her life and changed her relationships.

Social Media on a World Scale

This Interactive Map lets users see a world map with bolded numbers, hovering over the numbers will cause a box to pop up and have the corresponding statistic within it. The statistics are listed here:

2.9: Japanese internet users, on average, spend 2.9 hours per day online. This is more than any other country

31: 31% of time the French spend on mobile apps are used on social media

50: More than 50% of Americans use Facebook

15: Over 15% of online users in Africa have Facebook

40: Facebook revenue has grown over 40% in the last financial quarter reaching $1.585 billion

33: Use of social media in South America has increased by 33% in the past year

Brief History of Social Media

Here is a timeline of social media history.



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