Interview: Why Isn’t Social Media Taught in Business 101?

We had a chance this week to pull aside one of our interns and ask her a few questions about the internet and social media, and to get a fresh outlook on online networking for businesses.  We were surprised to hear some of Stephanie’s answers:

Social Defender: Thanks for taking some of your time for this interview.

Stephanie: No problem, it’s been a fun experience as well as a learning one so far, and I’m glad I get the chance to share about it.

SD: First question, you’re a young, college kid – how does social media play a part in your and your peers’ lives?

S: It’s SO important for us!  Everyone’s on Facebook and Twitter on campus – we wake up, check our Facebook, we get back from class and send out a tweet (some of us are even on social media in class!), and before we go to sleep, we have to get our friends’ updates.  It’s pretty bad actually.  I know a lot of college kids who have to deactivate their accounts or ask a friend to change their password for a while so they can study.

SD: So you would say social media is an important mode of communication for your age group?

S: Yes, definitely.

SD: Then what about businesses?  Do they need social media to communicate?

S: Of course – businesses are made up of people too, so it makes sense that they engage with their customers through online media.

SD: Tell us about the topic of social media in your classes…you’re a business major, right?  Social media had to have come up in your business classes, correct?

S:  Yes, I am a business major, but social media never came up in any of my “business 101” courses.  I don’t know if professors don’t think social media can’t play a part in the business-sphere, but even at my university, which I hate to brag but is one of the top universities in the US, professors barely mentioned online networking.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t taken upper division classes since I’m still an underclassmen, but social media is so important, it should at least be mentioned in the intro courses!

SD:  You’re our marketing intern here at Social Defender.  Tell us about your first experience when you started working with our company.

S: Well, I knew about the marketing aspects of my job, but I had no idea that businesses use social media!  Before this job, when I imagined social media, I thought of it as Farmville (which was really popular when I first got Facebook) and as a way to connect with your friends who went to different colleges.  I am honestly really grateful that I’m learning all of this – now I can throw around terms such as SEO and social media ROI and sound really smart in class (laughs).

SD: So you think that this is a problem, that your peers aren’t as updated on the latest business tactics as you are?

S: Of course I am – college kids are the next entrepreneurs.  I’m glad I have the experience and upper hand now, but kids should take the information they learn in college and apply it to their jobs once they enter the job market – that’s what an education is for!  So if graduates don’t have this background or don’t figure it out by the time they enter the job market, they’ll be at a big disadvantage in our competitive world.

SD:  Thanks so much for your input, Stephanie.  And thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.

S: No problem, my pleasure.

And there you have it.  Why aren’t colleges (and even high schools!) teaching kids about social media?  We think social media is more than a fad – it makes sense that communication follows our innovations and new technology.  Businesses thrive on communication – so why aren’t our future entrepreneurs learning about the newest, most effective way to engage with customers?

Tell us what you think – should schools teach social media management?  We’d love to hear your feedback!