Have you mastered the art of selfies, but still find yourself falling flat on followers? Don’t fear, there’s a college degree to help you succeed.
Today influencers are the internet people many millennials look up to, and with their astounding revenue it’s easy to see why. However, a university in China is taking things to a new level. The Yiwu Industrial and Commercial College (YWICC) near Shanghai is now offering a social media degree, which it says will help students become social media celebs.
YWICC is not your typical university. The “classrooms” are dance studios, makeup rooms, and catwalks. The program is hands-on with courses like lens expression and pendulum skills, make-up modeling and impromptu oral expressions. Along with the curriculum students are taught about luxury brands (the boutique products like fit tea you see advertised by the Liked and followed) and camera etiquette. The associate degree program takes three years to complete. Still think your selfie game deserves more followers?
Shanghai’s Jiang Yilei, known as “Papi Jiang,” is one of China’s most popular online celebrities. She has a following of 44 million, along with product endorsements including New Balance footwear. It is estimated that Jiang influences 20 percent of online purchases. Jiang has set the bar, and YWICC students are working hard to follow suit.
Social media degrees are not new. They are, however, evolving.
- Rutgers University in New Jersey offers a “mini-MBA” in social media marketing.
- Austin Community College in Texas has a two-year degree in social media communication.
- Southern New Hampshire University offers a bachelor of science in marketing, with a social media concentration.
The United States social media degrees are aimed toward the business side of maintaining networks. On the other hand, YWICC is equipping students with skills that will help them achieve online fame. In a country with 700 million smartphone users, it’s a struggle to become a “wanghong,”a person who is hot on the web. Wanghongs represent an industry worth billions. Given the impact of social media, YWICC’s curriculum is worth keeping an eye on. Who knows, maybe in a few years there will be a “selfie for job applications” class.