Curricular Programs

Social Media Studies @ Duke supports a variety of courses across the university — both graduate and undergraduate classes — that cover topics ranging from content creation to critical theory to social media policy and more. In addition, as research, scholarship, and adoption of social media and its paradigms continues its rapid expansion both inside and outside of campus, the curricular offerings supported by Social Media Studies will continue to keep pace with student demand.

Below is a list of current course offerings supported by Social Media Studies:

English 253/I&E 253 – Social Marketing: From Literary Celebrities to Online Influencers

If you’re like the typical Duke student, you spend hours each day on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and other digital social media platforms. You’ve surely heard these platforms described as “revolutionary” and “world changing,” and you’ve also heard them described as “distractions” and “time wasters.” What you probably haven’t thought about is how similar they are to previous “revolutionary” communications technologies like novels, newspapers, poems, the telegraph, and even – to an extent – language itself. But the similarities between digital social media and previous forms of social media are more than interesting coincidences. Instead, “Social Media Marketing: From Literary Celebrities to Online Influencers” explores ways in which studying the masters of previous social media technologies — the Shakespeares and Whitmans and Eliots of the world — can help us understand how influencers on digital social media leverage the same platforms you use every day to market themselves, build their brands, and grow their audiences.

I&E 250/ISS 250/VMS 249 – Building Global Audiences

Marketing and publicity are so important to audience building that, 20 years ago, expanding beyond local audiences usually couldn’t be accomplished without huge advertising budgets. However, thanks to the Internet, you can build a global audience from your dorm room. This class explores how. Learn about social media, search engine optimization, virality, content marketing, growth hacking, and other digital audience building strategies. They’re difficult to learn and time consuming to execute, so expect to struggle. We’ll learn as much from our failures as we will from our successes as we discover what it takes to cultivate global awareness for an idea without ever leaving Durham. Permission of instructor required.

I&E 499C – “Develop” Capstone, Influencer Focus

Reserved for students in the Innovation & Entrepreneurship certificate program who have completed all other requirements and are actively building an established personal, professional, or brand-based social media account. Students will spend the semester working closely with faculty and mentors who are experts in social marketing to help them continue expanding and professionalizing their accounts. Topics can include: content mapping; brand partnerships; monetization strategies; and team management. Permission of instructor required.

PUBPOL 613S/SCISOC 613S – Technology Policy for the New Administration: Antitrust, Speech and Other Emerging Issues

A seminar that  explores the technology policy agenda for the administration that will begin in January 2021. The course will examine how the new administration should consider policy design for technology, and will evaluate the potential impact of various policy proposals in consideration. Topics include antitrust policy, harmful content, and free expression. Additional topics can include privacy, cybersecurity, law enforcement and national security, and artificial intelligence. The focus of the course may shift based on current events

PUBPOL 680S/SCISOC 680S – Introduction to Technology Policy

An introduction to technology policy and ethics. The course covers current issues in technology policy, such as privacy, antitrust, harmful content and free expression, law enforcement, human rights, and market entry. Students are expected to approach these policy issues from the perspective of a decisionmaker in the field, and to integrate ethical considerations into concrete product and policy decisions.