I attended Third Tuesday a few weeks ago, where one of the organizer's of the inaugural meshmarketing conference put a challenge out to the social media masses assembled: Tweet the reason should win a ticket to mesh marketing (worth $500) and they'd decide who should get it.
I like a good challenge in 140 characters, so I put my own spin on the old "teach a man to fish" aphorism and fired it off on my iPhone while sitting in the audience:
"Buy a man a mesh ticket, he'll learn for a day; Give me a ticket and I'll give it to a prof who can teach social media for life."
Long story, short...I won the ticket. So who did I give it to?
One of my Twitter followers, Andrea Tavchar, happens to be a prof who's currently co-teaching a social media course at Humber College's PR school. I've got a soft spot for that school having spoken there and hired several interns from the college over the years.
Andrea's commitment to teaching PR and advancing her students' and her own understanding of social media really hit home with me. In her own words:
I'm working on my PhD at OISE U of T, with a focus on social media and the relationship with youth literacy. I'm working on better defining my studies, but I'm only a year into the program, and I feel that there is so much out there about the social media phenomenon right now.
I am also co-teaching Humber's inaugural social media course. Michael Cayley was asked to take the lead on this, and I was asked, given my current studies and interest in social media, to co-teach. The course focuses on the development of personal brand, preparing students for the new networking opportunities available to them online. Given the rate at which social media is changing we want to ensure that the content covered remains relevant to students. As a result, we are incorporating twitter, blogs, facebook and ning [Humber PR's social network] into our course, as a method of communication and experimentation, but we are also discussing the communications framework within which social media sits and best corporate practices of social media.
Although interested in the social media phenomenon, I am no expert on this topic, but a teacher/student struggling to stay one step ahead of my students. I may have success in achieving that advantage in terms of the communication theory, but I have a handful of students in each class that use these tools more than I do, so there I'm always a step behind. However, at Humber we hope to teach students about strategic uses of social media for both themselves and their prospective employers, which is new to most.
Andrea seems like the kind of professor who would take what she'd learn at mesh marketing and pass it along to her students for years to come, don't you think? Enjoy the conference, Andrea.