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Social Media: Bringing the Classroom to Life

At the forefront of today’s ever-changing world is a powerful tool known as social media. This tool connects billions of people and is used in a variety of ways, such as spreading personal information, breaking news stories, and creating viral marketing campaigns for multi-billion dollar companies. Recognizing the growing impact that social media has on a daily basis, YU offered a new course for the Fall 2014 semester dedicated to educating students about the incredible opportunities that social media can afford individuals and companies.

For the first couple months of the semester, the class participated in the Credit Karma challenge. Credit Karma is a service that informs its approximate 30 million members about their credit scores while also giving them free financial advice. The company invited the Yeshiva University Social Media class to compete in a competition along with 19 other university clubs across the country to create an Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) for their company. The first place team would take a trip out to San Francisco to present their campaign strategy to the board of Credit Karma, while the second place team would land interviews with Credit Karma for a chance at a virtual internship with the company.

The class was divided into six separate teams, with each group taking responsibility for a different component of the campaign. The six components were Technology, Good Karma Viral, On-Campus Promotions, Off-Campus Promotions, “Credit Karma U,” and Public Relations. While each team was responsible for its share of the campaign, ultimately the different teams had to collaborate to complete the tasks. For example, the technology team designed the website and various social media pages to adhere to the the viral campaign of #goodkarmagoodcredit that the Good Karma Viral team decided upon. The idea is to get people to Tweet a picture of something they bought for someone else and tag that friend and use the designated hashtag. This type of “pay it forward” campaign had demonstrated success with regards to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and #feedthedeed. Another example of team collaboration was the “Credit Karma U” team and the Off-Campus Promotions teams. Since the “Credit Karma U” team was tasked with collecting information about the company and various other topics regarding finance, they provided the information to the Off-Campus Promotions team, who set up a “Personal Finance” booth in Washington Square Park to attract the attention of people passing by.

Working on a campaign structured like the Credit Karma challenge allowed students to gain practical skills useful for entering the workforce. Jason Wasser, a student in the Social Media class echoed this when he said, “As a senior graduating in January, the Credit Karma campaign gave me the opportunity to work alongside a team focusing on a real campaign. Additionally, working with a team gave me valuable experience for my future in the advertising industry.” By the end of the campaign, the class not only succeeded in signing up a number of people for Credit Karma’s service, but also increased awareness about the brand throughout the university.

With the conclusion of the Credit Karma Challenge, the class turned its attention to various other projects that will enhance their experience in the social media space. Students were assigned to work on different causes for the rest of the semester. The first group will be working on a product called Pint Pal, which insulates a pint of ice cream, keeping the ice cream cold and your hands warm. Another will be assisting the National Council of Young Israel to increase their presence in social media in an effort to attract a younger audience. The last couple of groups will be trying to crowd-fund for those affected by Ebola in West Africa. As Ebola continues to affect large numbers of people, there need for donations continues to grow.

With the important role social media plays in the world, YU has taken a big step forward by creating space to educate their students in this area. With the Social Media class, students now have the opportunity to gain authentic experience both inside the classroom and beyond, which will be beneficial for their future professions.