I tried my best yesterday not to get distracted, and I actually did pretty well at it. However whilst having my lasagne at lunchtime I turned to Twitter and saw a tweet telling me that the University of Birmingham had launched an MA in Social Media.
My first thoughts were that it didn’t sound like the sort of course Birmingham would offer, so I read an article (Telegraph I think?) and from that saw that the course was actually from Birmingham City University, and then I visited the course website and discovered who some of the key people behind the course were.
By this time I’d had several other tweets telling me about the course. (There was also some false positive RSS matching – it’s definitely not just Mashable that don’t check their sources – as a side note one of the nice things about moving out of London to Leicester is that the number of false positives should drop tremendously.)
For me as a marketing person within HE what struck me as odd was that the University’s marketing department or press office didn’t seem to be following along and/or helping with any correction of facts. All of this activity seemed to be left to the academics. Although to be fair the academics certainly practice what they preach and I was only really watching a portion of the Social Web. As an aside, the course leader @jonhickman sent me an reply within a few minutes when I asked why @brumcityuni were quiet today when a lot of people were talking about the University.
After I’d eaten my lasagne I let this slip out of my mind and got back to my spreadsheets and carried on working. Then I was out until late in the evening playing volleyball.
However on getting home I discovered a few more tweets mentioning the course including a link to this excellent explanation by Neville Hobson about why this sort of course is needed from a PR perspective. I think Neville’s spot on but I’d argue that this course may well be needed from other perspectives as well – e.g. HR.
Thanks to Neville’s blog I was reminded to go back and look at the video that was on the course page – it really is excellent. It’s on vimeo where you can also see some stats. If you’re a numbers freak like me you’ll also be hoping that Jon Hickman and Paul Bradshaw (and some of the others who did such excellent promotional work yesterday) publish some of their other numbers.