A New Major is in Town and its name is Social Media

Carrie Schmelkin : Gossip from the Hallways
Carrie Schmelkin
Web Editor, TMC

A New Major is in Town and its name is Social Media

Thumbnail image for Twitter screenshot.jpgIf you are a college student about to embark on the daunting journeyof gainful employment (hopefully), you are probably busy day in day out scouring the job listings in search of your dream job – or at least one that pays just enough for you to move out of mom and dad’s house. Some of you will find a job right in line with what you majored in: a job at a hedge fund for the economics major, a position at an art museum for the art management major or a role as a project manager for the construction management major.

But if you majored in journalism, or even more specifically magazine or newspaper, you might find yourself pounding back glasses of wine as you nervously notice a trend; there are scarcely any jobs for print publications out there even though you just spent four years and hundreds of thousands of dollars learning about how to create a killer FOB (front-of-the-book for all you non-magazine majors) and in-depth above-the-fold feature story.

What you are noticing instead is the plethora of job listings for positions such as “Social Media Manager,” “Social Media Consultant” and “Social Media Assistant.” You might be thinking ‘Is this for real?’ ‘Can I really make big bucks tweeting and Facebooking all day long?’ And the answer is yes.

In fact, Business Insider recently released the top seven social media jobs that currently exist as companies are calling for everyone from a Social Media Strategist to a Content Curator to a Community Manager – and the salaries are pretty cushy.

So why the need for social media managers all of a sudden?

Because businesses cannot survive without a social media presence. Even if you dislike Facebook and Twitter for what they have done to the individual – allowing them to hone his/her voyeuristic tendencies, stalk freely and unabashedly post inane thoughts – these sites have done wonders for business. Social networking sites have allowed startup companies to become million-dollar companies in months at substantially lower costs and have allowed established companies to attract new markets.

Perhaps most importantly, though, social media sites have given companies the green light to join the conversation. As opposed to companies sitting back and hoping that their consumers are saying pleasant things about them, brands can now actively monitor the Web and ensure that each customer is given one-on-one attention.

With companies forced to turn to social networking – or else forced to take a back seat to competitors –it is only natural that a Social Media Manager position has been given just as much weight as the IT guy.

As a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, I had to check in with my alma matter to see if it offers a Social Media major, for surely my school must understand the importance of giving kids this competitive edge in the marketplace. I was shocked to see that this major does not yet exist. While I do commend my school for amending the “newspaper” major to “newspaper and online journalism” and for offering other majors such as “broadcast and digital journalism,” a forward-thinking school like Newhouse needs to stay ahead of the curve and offer a social media major.

For slowly in the education world, the idea of a social media major is creeping up and pretty soon many schools will see the value in offering this line of study. So, my advice to all you students out there is to ask your advisor what social media classes exist at your school. Find out if you can secure an internship within the social media field. And for all you soon-to-be college students, if you are interested in the subject, search for schools that are one step ahead and already offer this innovative major.

The jobs are out there and the businesses need you. And then you can get to brag to your friends “Yeah I tweet for a living.”

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1 Comment

Wow, Carrie, you could not nailed down the matter, more precisely than that! I am one of these whose dream job was to work as a journalist in a magazine and you totally seem to understand my pain now, this seems as an outdated job for real! But you are right, we have to make the best of it and I am going to try my best in achieving it:)!

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