I&E 250 – Building Global Audiences


For my gateway elective, I chose to take Dr. Aaron Dinin’s “Building Global Audiences” course. The main goal of the class was to familiarize ourselves with the core concepts of online brand building, in particular social media as powerful marketing tool. Having come of age with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social network giants and amassed a few thousand followers throughout the years, I had preconceived notions of how this course would play out. Instead, these previous expectations were turned on their head, and I soon wondered if I had actually registered for Dinin’s other class “Learning to Fail.” In addition to lectures on social marketing concepts, crafting personal brands, the making of social media personalities, competitive analysis, with real life examples to illustrate these ideas, we were split into groups and tasked with a daunting project: helping a Duke faculty member grow their social media audiences. My group worked hand-in-hand with Claire Catenaccio, a professor in the Classics department, in creating an audience over Instagram. This project required time management skills, creativity, extensive teamwork, as well as analytical skills to assess whether or not our strategies were working to their full potential. In the end, although we had significant difficulty turning Professor Catenaccio into an Instagram influencer, I came away from this experience with a more robust understanding specific social media marketing strategies for both our own use and those used upon us by larger companies’ advertising teams. We live in a world powered by data, and as more and more marketing take to the internet, it will become increasingly important to familiarize ourselves with how we can shape and be shaped by these data collecting and marketing tools. Without taking “Building Global Audiences,” I am not sure I would have realized that until it was too late. By understanding the usefulness of social media and the path towards creating that next viral meme, article, or persona, I will be able to use the tangible skills I learned in this class (and even through our “perceived failure”) as I navigate the world of entrepreneurship later in my career.