Over a year ago, I was walking out of a board meeting for a non-profit organization and talking with a fellow board member. It so happens he’s the father of a woman I went to college with so we’ve known each other a long time. He asked what I’d been up to and where I was headed. I told him I was going to Sonoma State University for my Professional Social Media Certification class.
He asked, “Oh? What class are you taking?”
I said, “No, I’m teaching the class.”
Maybe he still thinks of me as a college kid though almost 20 years has passed since then but the look on his face was priceless. I felt like I’d “made it.”
I’m proud of this course. Sonoma State was the first accredited university in the United States to offer a social media certificate beginning in January 2014. I am one of 5 instructors teaching the content and I love showing the students how social media strategy works in practice. I bring the real-life lessons I learn from my array of clients in the fields of government, wineries, for-profit businesses, non-profits, sole proprietorships, big chains, and more so they can experience what’s social media is like in “real time.”
Even though I teach the class, I find it hard to call myself a social media expert because I learn something new every day, often from the students themselves. The undergrads know their way around some ropes I’ve never even seen while others are experienced marketing professionals and business owners that add depth to the conversation.
Never Too Young to Learn
In the fall of 2014, I began teaching an extra curricular workshop at Windsor High School in their Arete Digital Media & Design Academy. Potentially it will be offered as a full length class in the school year 2015-2016 (budget is pending). I am over the moon about having the opportunity to teach teenagers to use social media at a professional level and prepare them for the security concerns that will arise even if they don’t go into the field for their careers. Again, I believe this is the first high school social media class offered in the U.S.
I have been campaigning for the smart and safe use of technology in schools for years and I’m grateful that I get the chance to shape the way students young and old experience these potentially life changing tools. I’m also stoked to be the first social media teacher in a few different places, to break ground and pave the way.
What can I say? I just love to teach.