Programs for Social Media Warfare Education

Social media warfare troops will need cyber skills, military intelligence and civilian intelligence skills, language skills, cultural knowledge, and propaganda skills. Developing these skills and knowledge will take considerable training and time. Cyber skills are certainly something that people can be trained in but intelligence analysis skills take longer to develop and requires technical knowledge, cultural knowledge, and multi-lingual skills. Propaganda skills can also be learned but not everyone will have a natural propensity for becoming a propagandist. Military academies have been a part of educating military leaders and specialists for a long time. Training military and law enforcement in social media warfare tactics is covered in Chapter 3, “Military Applications of Social Media Warfare” and Chapter 13, “Law Enforcement Response to Social Media Warfare.”

A review of various course offerings in social media from colleges and universities shows that many disciplines have incorporated courses on social media. There are hundreds of short courses provided through continuing education programs and extension services. There are also courses being launched that are part of formal degree programs that address social media, including

  • ? Social Media in the Healthcare Setting: This course introduces the healthcare student to concepts related to social media channels available today as they apply to communications in the field of healthcare. The course explores basic concepts in sociology and online privacy, how to investigate and use specific social media channels, as well as reviews of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the legal aspects of social media. Using specific examples, students are exposed to how businesses in healthcare adopt social media strategies and develop policies for responsible social media use by staff and patients [6].
  • ? Social Media Marketing: This course focuses on new digital and social media tools in the world of business and provides students with a foundation and skill set in the evolving world of social media tools and strategies. Topics covered include what social media is and why it is important; how to use social media tools to build relationships and increase productivity; the importance of building an online community; creating and executing social media campaigns; trends in mobile applications; and real world case studies of the effective use of social media within business-to-business and business- to-consumer settings [7].
  • ? Social Media Masters of Arts: This program covers social media as culture, online enterprise and innovation, and social media as practice; it includes work in a production lab, and it requires a master’s dissertation [8].
  • ? Social Media Management Certificate: This course covers using social media tools effectively, writing for social media, social media strategies and tactics, measuring and calculating return on investment (ROI), strategic communication planning, policies and procedures to manage risk, and a capstone course in social media [9].
  • ? Social Media Certificate: This course is designed for individuals who aspire to work with social media as content creators, marketers, analysts or administrators in the business, non-profit, governmental, or educational sector. Learning outcomes include a working knowledge of current social media platforms as they are used in workplace, consumer, and informal setting; familiarity with strategies of social media deployment; a command of quantitative and qualitative measures of social networks; the ability to analyze patterns in social media, and a portfolio of work demonstrating these capabilities as applied to real-world social media [10].
  • ? Social Media Marketing Certificate: This is a nine-module certificate program. Topics covered include constructing a strategy; leveraging listening channels; crises and landmines; content development; measurement and ROI; social media platforms; mobile opportunities; engaging influencers and change management; analyzing social media marketing opportunities; exploring the behavioral and psychological factors that drive social media, and designing effective communication strategies of social networks [11].
  • ? MS in Social Media and Mobile Marketing: This program is designed for marketing, advertising, information technology (IT), and management professionals who seek to meet the challenges presented by new media’s impact on the marketplace. The program integrates digital and traditional media skills and offers specialized training in segment and target markets for social media and mobile strategies; understanding the interaction of key media elements in the advertising industry; effective strategies for integrated communications using traditional and new media; setting objectives; brand strategy; media plans; and tracking and measuring campaigns using industry-standard metrics and techniques [12].
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