Teaching Social Media:
A Case Study
Presentation to the Mass Communication Division
Western Social Science Association
Sheree Martin,J.D., LL.M., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Samford University
April 12, 2013
My Internet History
Word for Windows: http://www.crystalxp.net/news/en739-evolution-microsoft-word-logo-interface-home-page.htm
My Internet History: Early Social
Image Sources : http://stopmebeforeiblogagain.com/a-brief-history-of-social-
Teaching Social Media
Spring 2010: I began to incorporate Twitter
requirements into several classes I was
Based on my classroom survey data, about 1 in
10 students were using Twitter at the time.
Fall 2010: I added a WordPress blog to a
I was given the opportunity to develop a new
special topics course which I named
Social Media Practices
First offered Spring 2012
I've taught it twice. Scheduled for a third time
for Fall 2013.
My professional background is in business law
Nearly half of doctoral course work in
Culverhouse C&BA courses (management and
New ideas, "Third Way"
Three Core Underlying Goals
Throw away rules
● research, discover and analyze effective social media and content
marketing practices for businesses, nonprofits and personal
● explore the many social media networks and tools available for
building relationships with customers and constituents.
● develop creative ways to use social media in a strategic way to
● have an applied understanding of the social metrics and
analytical tools available for evaluating the effectiveness of social
● apply their knowledge by the active use of and experimentation
with social media tactics
95 Theses and More for Context
"Markets are Conversations"
Brand Case Studies
Niche Social Networks
Tools & Resources
Metrics & Analytics
"Nuggets" & Participation (10%)
Students are expected to become active, self-
directed learners and monitor various online
blogs and thought-leaders.
Share "nuggets of wisdom" with the class orally
and via the class blog.
● Added Fall 2012
● One month
● Two clients, two events, two teams
● 20% of grade: Too high for effort BUT...
● Students discovered the challenges of
gaining friends, fans, likes, shares, RTS on
Twitter and Facebook
● Opportunity to quickly get into Facebook
Insights and Twitter analytics
● I have ideas for improving next time
Content Marketing/Inbound Marketing
● Focus is on creating informative and useful
free content to share with current and
● Answers questions about products, services
● Builds awareness and trust.
● Shows how the product/service meets a
● Published on website, shared through social
Working on an arrangement with HubSpot for
● Rene Willet of The Weather Channel
● David Griner, Luckie & Co.
● Hafez Adel, ReTargeter
● Wade Kwon, Birmingham Blogging Academy