Being a college student means different things to different generations. Many of our parents have shared stories about the trauma of writing term papers on typewriters and using real, tangible paper; whiteout is not the savior it once was in the days before Microsoft Word. For us, life at school without access to a computer would be equally traumatic. In a social world filled with statuses, tweets, blog posts, Yelp-ing, foursquare-ing and being linked in, it’s a wonder our minds haven’t yet exploded.
However, the skills we acquire as social media aficionados are important and valuable in today’s job market. According to an article published online by CNN, job postings seeking social media skills rose 87 percent from last year. It’s only fitting that our education keeps up with the skills necessary for us to remain competitive job candidates in the “real world” — even if that world is increasingly virtual.
Social media classes should become a standard requirement in higher education; although navigating Facebook and Twitter is already second nature for most of us, there is a relatively new yet vast market of field-specific applications, networking websites and other useful online tools unknown to many students. Fluency in these tools and websites, now regularly sought out by employers, would be a boon to our networking capabilities and future career opportunities.
The concept of social media has become so much more than a trend — it’s now an intrinsic part of our culture and the way we communicate. As such, it deserves an anthropomorphic and qualitative examination in the classroom. Social media is here to stay, and our education needs to prepare us with the necessary skills for an increasingly social world.