13 Thoughts I had Teaching my First Semester of Social Media Marketing

The one thing I consistently looked forward to this semester was JMC 4970 Social Media Marketing as an adjunct professor for the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications. And for the duration of the semester it has been my very happy place. I love getting to see and work with students on a consistent basis and teach them all about the job I love. Throughout this semester I’ve had many thoughts. Today I’m going to share 13 of them with you:

  1. “How do I get them excited about social media marketing?”


This proved to be something I didn’t have to worry about. If there’s one thing these people know it’s social media and they’re naturally good with it – all the networks!

2. “I want to show them the behind the scenes of my job as much as possible.”


Sure they see what I produce in my role at OU but they don’t know everything that went into that piece of content unless I tell them. OU is a giant campus with many things happening. It’s important that my students learn how to find the nuances of whatever company they’re working for so they can better market what is best for that company, boss, industry, etc.

3. “I’m going to grab their attention with enthusiasm…I hope.”


I LOVE the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast. On a recent episode, she was discussing how college students won’t remember any of their professors in a year (sad) and none of what they learned in five years. She then discusses two very special moments in her college career that she remembers flawlessly and comes to the conclusion that the reason for this is the enthusiasm her professors showed at the time. If there’s one thing I’m passionate about it’s my dog Jovie but if there’s another, it’s social media. 😉

4. “Their “hot/nots” are the primary reason I know about anything happening in the world right now.”


Each class period several students would present (very informally) something in the moment that was hot and something that was not in the world of social media. This was good speaking experience for them and great info for me. It was a real inside glimpse of their generation’s likes and dislikes. What was cool to them and what wasn’t and why. Helloooooooooo, social science research at my fingertips!

Occasionally someone’s “hot” would be another person’s “not” and that was ok. I was consistently impressed at the respect and care they showed each other. They may not always agree with one another but they always accepted/respected each other. It makes my heart happy on both a personal and professional level.


5. “These people are the only hope for the future of social media.”

The Future

You’ve heard me talk about it before – people on social media can be terrible. And it’s not people college-aged. It’s usually people who are their parents’ age. If you’ve been around the last 20 or so years you’ve probably also heard President Boren discuss kindness and what it means to be a Sooner. I tried to stress the value of kindness and grace in this class as often as possible because I truly believe changing the attitude on social media is going to come down to a mass number of individuals changing it by being forces for good. These students get it. They live it. They demonstrate it and I’m so proud to have had this group of students in class. They’re going to be game changers.

6. “For the love….READ THE CASE STUDIES.”


During the first half of the semester there were many assigned readings from the text book – 15 chapters worth. In each chapter were some really good case studies. As case studies are some of my very favorite things (there’s so much to learn!) it’s no surprise I was excited to not only read but also discuss these in class. What was a surprise – but probably shouldn’t have been – was that I was the ONLY person excited for this. In the end, they must have read them because they were on the test and most everyone made good grades.

7. “No laptops next semester.”


Three of my colleagues graciously agreed to come and speak to my class this semester. Each of them commented on the students being on their laptops. Originally I thought “This is a social media class. I’d love for them to use social media to tell others what they’re learning.” Boy was I naive. To my knowledge that never happened. But what did happen was *probably* a lot of being on social media, messages, Reddit, etc. Morgan then shared an article from NPR called “Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away” with me and the fate of the Fall 2016 class was sealed: No laptops or phones. I add all class materials to D2L so they can access them later. Handwritten class notes or bust!

8. I hope they realize how awesome they are.


Because they really, truly are insightful, thoughtful, brilliant and all-around awesome.


9. “Ugh. Snapchat.”


I’m just going to say it: I do not like Snapchat. Luckily, my students are total pros at it and I always loved hearing them discuss what was cool on it or what people were doing or how it worked. Ultimately I think it would be fab to have an active UofOklahoma snap account but I have yet to figure out how we could/would fit in that space. I don’t want it to seem forced or be uncool so for now, it hasn’t happened.

10. “I never realized how much work this is.”


Lesson plans and prep. Getting my lectures and presentations ready. Answering emails, grading papers, staying on top of upcoming assignments, D2L, tests….it’s a lot – especially on top of an already more-than-full-time job. But, I’m happy to report, it was all totally worth it and after a couple of weeks I had a system worked out. Time management was key, as with anything else.


11. “Grading papers takes years.”


Even though it did take a loooooong time and many of my weekends were spent curled up with my favorite gold grading sharpie (because gold stars for all!), a mug of Numi tea and a huge stack of papers, I did enjoy reading what each student wrote. They were full of thoughtful insights, non-jaded takes on topics and were refreshingly vibrant. Idk where that part of me went…..


12. “It’s so rewarding to see things click for them.”


Like on the first test when many wrote about the importance of original content or everyone got case study questions correct or when they shared original ideas in class or when their final campaign presentations came together. I just love it.

13. “I’m your biggest fan.”


There are a lot of firsts in our lives and many claim “you never forget your first.” First movie you saw in the theatre (Aladdin). First concert (Ray Bolz…ugh, I know). First time teaching a college level class. I’ll never forget these students and our journey through my first semester together. I think we all learned a lot and I can’t wait to follow the rest of their college journeys and careers. And even though our class is over, I’ll be here for whatever they need – letter of recommendations, help with other assignments, job searches, etc.

Happy teaching and happy learning,

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