About the class

This is the course blog for an upper-level class on Social Media taught at St. Edward’s University. The class was launched in the Fall of 2007, shortly after Richard Edelman, CEO of the largest independently owned PR firm in the world, had told an audience of PR professionals that:

 The media, communications, and marketing landscape in which the public relations industry was developed is being knocked down […] It is the decline of media based on a top-down model of communications. In this model, a small group of elites are briefed in advance with messages that are too often tightly scripted to brief the national newspaper, broadcast networks and newsmagazines. The message is then simplified and communicated to a mass audience via advertising or as “earned” editorial. This model is premised on the audience being passive receptors for the message […] In the emerging model, as epitomized by YouTube, MySpace, Oh My News and Wikipedia, ordinary people provide content to others. Ideas and information are passed virally. This consumer generated content alters the laws of control of message. Many are calling this new social and user driven media ‘Web 2.0.’ – Edelman, April 2006

This class was developed in response to these fundamental changes in the communication industry. The course explores emerging social media technologies and studies their application in contemporary PR practice. Technologies we cover include: blogs, microblogs, collaboration tools, podcasts, RSS feeds, viral video, social bookmarking, location-based services, mobile platforms, and other evolving technologies. We also study how to use such technologies to monitor conversations on the Internet, engage online communities, identify influencers, establish thought leadership, optimize content for search engines, and measure performance across social media platforms.

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