• University of Southampton

The Power of Social Media

Explore the impact of social media on the world and learn how to put it to good use in everyday life.

27,074 enrolled on this course

Graphic showing a mobile device and the concept of social media networks
  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Social networks have emerged over the past 10 years in various forms to play a fundamental role in our lives.

But do we actually understand these networks? And are we using them in the right ways?

This course will teach you not just about the qualities and differences between social networks but also the impact they can have on our lives.

Understand different social networks

On this course you will explore the various properties of networks in order to understand more about how we can measure online power and influence.

Through doing this you will discover that networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have very distinct qualities. You’ll learn how organisations can use these qualities to learn more about the people participating in the network, and the communities they represent, and will be encouraged to reflect on what your participation in online social networks tells the world about you.

Explore how social media can be used positively

The media are quick to report on negative aspects of social networking such as cyberbullying or identity theft, but we hear less about the benefits that occur when networks are used to enhance employability or raise awareness of good causes. On this course you’ll explore how social media can be used for good, not just at a personal level but at a societal level.

Learn how to manage your own social networks

Throughout the course you’ll learn different ways for managing your own networks in a professional way to help your own career development.

In fact the course itself is a social network. We encourage you to interact with other learners from all around the world to directly put into practice the lessons of the course and build your own online networks for learning and professional purposes.

Learn with well-known experts in Web Science

You’ll learn with well-known experts from the University of Southampton’s Web Science Institute, including lead educators, Associate Professors Lisa Harris and David Millard, and contributors, Professors Dame Wendy Hall and Sir Nigel Shadbolt.

Other University of Southampton Web Science courses are Web Science: How the Web is Changing the World and an Introduction to Linked Data and the Semantic Web.

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What topics will you cover?

  • How the major social media networks are evolving
  • What our social media profiles say about us
  • Introduction to the properties that allow networks to be described and compared
  • Analysis of a simple Twitter-like social network to identify which of its participants is the most powerful and influential individual
  • Using network analytics of social networks as predictors of events in the real world
  • Building a personal brand or community around a product or cause
  • Advantages and disadvantages of using social media for marketing purposes
  • The role of social media in the development of our own professional networks

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the various properties of networks in order to understand more about how we can measure online power and influence
  • Identify influential individuals within a network
  • Explore how social media can be used for good, not just at a personal level but at a societal level
  • Develop your own networks in a professional way to help your own career development

Who is the course for?

The course is intended for existing users of social networks, who want to understand a bit more about how their social network activity might be used by others, and also how it can be made to work more effectively for them.

It will appeal to computer science, web science, business studies or marketing graduates, students and practitioners wishing to expand their knowledge.

Who will you learn with?

I am an Associate Professor of Computer and Web Science at the University of Southampton, UK. Researching online social systems and digital storytelling.

Director of Digital Learning @UofEBusiness @UniofExeter. I champion Digital Literacies, Social Learning, Open Access & MOOCs. #PFHEA #JISCsocial50 #Innovator #Disruptor

Who developed the course?

University of Southampton

Southampton is a place for ambitious people keen to stretch their intellectual abilities and help change the world.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

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