This past week, President Barack Obama visited college towns across the country to talk about education, the importance of a college education, the usefulness of advanced degrees, as well as student loans and the burden of paying them off. The real point of the visits, according to Sandra Fish, is actually “about persuading Congress to extend an interest rate cut on federally backed student loans.” One of the most relatable messages of the speech, according to attendees, was the President’s admission that he and the First Lady finished paying off their own student loans just eight years ago. He was mentioned in tweets almost a quarter of a million times last week, proving this is a hot-button issue for many Americans active on social media sites.
Facebook Update: We Have Jobs
The explosion of social media has become the new obvious. However, while media is agog with the explosion of users and the time spent online, the information technology community’s attention is drawn to the obvious: the number of trained and educated employees necessary to maintain these media platforms online. Whether one’s degree in IT is an online degree or earned in a classroom, there may be corresponding jobs available in the social media field. According to Susan Peyton’s article, “Where the Social Media Jobs Are,” on the site for Small Business Trends, there’s now officially an “Internet Marketing and Social Marketing” category of employment. The most popular positions include Social Media Strategists, Brand Managers, Online Community Managers, Marketing Managers and Content Writers. Starting salary ranges vary significantly according to geography, education and experience, from a minimum of $22,000 to over five times that amount.
LinkedIn Career Update: New Credentials
An article attributed to PayScale on the AOL Jobs site, “Emerging Jobs in Social Media,” concurs with most of Ms. Peyton’s piece mentioned above, but does present a unique point of view on both the direction of the employment trend and tips for garnering a position. According to PayScale, “a background in marketing, computer technology, copywriting or journalism is often a plus in landing Web 2.0 jobs.” This background need not be official employment by another company in the same line of work. Rather, the entrepreneurial spirit of the Internet is recognized by including successful personal Facebook pages or individual portfolio blogs as excellent references for consideration.
The same article identifies a list of the six most common jobs in social media, from the highest in salary and responsibility to the lower entry-level positions. The list begins with Social Media Strategists, identified as “the top of the heap,” followed by Community Managers, Bloggers, Social Media Marketing Specialists, Search Engine Marketing Associates and finally Online Customer Service Associates.
All of these social media platforms—from Facebook and Twitter to Delicious and Pinterest—with their dedicated users and enormous social popularity are changing our ideas about communication, trends and society. With some planning and dedication, they can also affect the lives of individuals prepared with experience and education as employment options. A career in social media may prove to be a long-term solution for someone interested in the field of computer science or information technology.