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Twitter obsession or career opportunity?

By: Aaron L. Pope

Algonquin College has just approved a new program presented by the School of Media and Design, geared to people interested in learning how to make the most of the myriad of new communication technology.

Among the many new courses that will be offered at Algonquin next fall is a graduate certificate program that is being developed by the staff of the School of Media and Design called mobile and social media management. It is a one-year course that will be spread out over three terms instead of two.

John Willman, the program coordinator of the bachelor of information technology program, has been getting ready for next fall by consulting with industry professionals on what social media platforms are in high demand, and on how exactly how the course will be delivered. Hint: mobile applications.

“One of the key things for people coming into this course is that this is not an introduction course,” said Willman. “We want them to be using mobile devices and social media now. We’re going to expect that they have a Twitter account, and Facebook.”

From the perspective of a consumer, social media seems pretty straightforward. It’s a great way to stay connected with friends and acquaintances, to share pictures, videos and documents and a way to keep up on current events.

But according to Willman, this is not always the case for companies and entrepreneurs. It isn’t enough for companies to know that someone has logged on to their website and did a little browsing.

“Communication is not like it was five or even three years ago,” said Willman. “Now people have to take into consideration how to communicate using mobile devices and strategies that you use to communicate.”

In order to best serve customer needs, companies and individuals have developed applications to track all sorts of metrics when it comes to what people are drawn to on a website. These applications will track all sorts of things from how you found the website, how long you were on the site and what links you actually clicked on. This is done to ensure the site is maintained properly and kept relevant.

“Whether someone visits your home page or not is not necessarily important,” said Willman. “It’s what they do [on the website], are they clicking on the appropriate buttons? Are they actually sharing information? Do they come to visit you and then re-tweet [your content]? Are they blogging about it?”

This course will help its students learn and understand how to engage their customers on a more personal level. For example, one of the courses offered in this program is called mobile analytics. This course is designed to help understand the actions of a website visitor.

The mobile and social media management program will be open to anyone with an Ontario College or an advanced diploma, degree or equivalent. The design of the course is meant to cater to people who are already working in the field of communications and classes are offered both online and in person. Unlike most hybrid courses, students will have the choice of going to class or watching it online.

“If I want to get across one thing, it’s this,” said Willman. “This is a really exciting way of delivering this program, there’s no other program like it at the college as far as I know, online, in the class, synchronis or asynchronis.”

The Algonquin Times is a newspaper produced by journalism students for the Algonquin College community.

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