Welcome to #MobileSocial in 2018

Christmas is in the rear-view mirror, New Year is around the corner, and the new Spring 2018 term is about to begin at Simpson College.

And that means it’s time for another semester of #MobileSocial at Simpson.

What’s new about the course this year? Let’s start with the name.

#MobileSocial represents a renaming and refocus of the Comm 315 course that was known until Journalism 2.0 until 2017. We did this for a couple of reasons:

  • We created Journalism 2.0 several years ago as a multimedia journalism course, failing to grasp that Journalism 2.0 would eventually morph into Journalism 3.0, 4.0 and beyond. By my count, we’re in the fifth or sixth iteration of journalism away from print and broadcast domination. The boundaries blur after a time.
  • What is clear and unlikely to change in the foreseeable future is that journalism — both the traditional news business as well as the variety of strategic-communication fields — now is focused on mobile technologies and social media.

It’s clear that instruction in the tools and techniques of mobile technologies and their leveraging through social media platforms is what we should be doing in the Multimedia Communication program at Simpson College. This will be a course of critical import to students in all of our majors — Interactive, Multimedia Journalism, Public Relations and Sports Communication.

The students seem to like what we’re doing: A course that had only eight students in 2017  will have 19 across two sections in Spring 2018. So it’s time to get back to work.

Here’s what students will be doing in #MobileSocial in Spring 2018.

  • They’ll build websites either for themselves or an organization or cause for which they’re working or are interested. These won’t be the half-effort, myname.wordpresss.com sites that students abandon as soon as the term is over, but sites at which they’ll function as journalists and strategic communicators and continue to maintain as their careers develop.
  • They’ll also create professional Facebook pages and populated them with content related to beats, niches, interests, organizations or causes.
  • They’ll be living, eating and breathing Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, not just as places to tweet their lunch menus, hot takes and cat videos, but as tools for gathering information, distribution, promotion and curation.
  • By the end of the term, they’ll be using all of these platforms to cover complete news stories, promote their causes or organizations, or engage audiences with what’s interesting to them.

We’ll be following the work of some of our talented graduates who are using mobile and social on a daily basis as part of their work and getting their tips on how to do it. Here journalist Steffi Lee ’15 of KXAN-TV uses Twitter as a key tool of her reporting, distribution and promotion.

And public relations graduate Mariah Young uses Twitter nearly daily in her work promoting the services of her employer, Dwolla of Des Moines:

As with all new courses — even rebooted ones — we’ll have stubbed toes and occasional headaches. But it’s going to be an intense experience by which students will be able to demonstrate that they’re able to bring mobile and social skills to future jobs, rather than claim social-media experience because they use Facebook.

Any ideas for how the course ought to proceed? Join the conversation below and help us out!

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