A computer is connected to a projector displaying a Skype conversation with CEO of Fancorp, a brand advocacy company. The guest speaker was for Michael Brito's Developing Strategies for Socia Media Class.

Edelman Digital Executive Teaches New Social Media Class

A computer is connected to a projector displaying a Skype conversation with CEO of Fancorp, a brand advocacy company. The guest speaker was for Michael Brito's Developing Strategies for Socia Media Class.

A guest speaker from Fancorps, a word-of-mouth marketing and brand advocacy firm, connects with a new social media class via Skype (Michael Brito photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

This semester, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications introduced a new social media elective taught by industry leader Michael Brito.

“Developing Strategies For Social Media” takes a look at fostering more effective and meaningful conversations with the social customer by breaking down the internal structure of an organization.

The author of Smart Business Social Business: A Playbook for Social Media in Your Organization, Brito has worked in a variety of social media capacities and for major brands including HP, Yahoo! and Intel.

Brito is senior vice president of social business planning at Edelman Digital, the interactive arm of the world’s largest independently owned public relations firm.

“I already know that everything I learned so far this semester will add to my experience in whatever career I chose in my field,” said Jean Philippe Rastrullo, Public Relations ’13.

Brito talked to SJSU Today about what students who take the course should expect and what role the class plays in today’s world. The following was edited for length and clarity.

SJSU: What is the purpose of the class and why do we need to offer it now?

Brito: I get a lot of resumes from students when we look to hire people and I am noticing there is huge disconnect in what they are teaching in universities [and what is needed professionally]. We are looking for people who use tools and understand the influence of the social customer. If they are not using Twitter or blogging, it’s hard to justify bringing them in. What I am seeing in the industry is that companies are focused on how to change behavior, but there is still a disconnect in how to change behavior using social business. A lot of companies are trying to figure this out and I think that is where the opportunity is.

SJSU: What are some of things you are teaching in your class?

Brito: This is the first class where public relations and journalism students are learning about social business, not just marketing and overall communications. In my class, we talk about the customer and the brand and how the brand communicates with the customer. We also talk about the business and how the business is changing the way it operates internally to enable all of that great communication.  In addition, we spend about 15 to 20 minutes a week talking about students’ personal brand.

SJSU: What kind of tools are you using in the classroom?

Brito: We created a hashtag so that anyone in the industry can watch the class. We are also using Pinterest, a virtual tool where the entire class can post pictures, infographics and articles to post on a pinboard. We are using Skype video chat for guest speakers and different vendors in the space.

SJSU: What is your goal for the class?

Brito: My goal for students as they leave the class is to prepare them for jobs.  I want to share with them how to stand out from the rest to get them jobs and internships. I want to enable them and prepare them to blow that hiring manager out of the water based on what they have learned over the last four months.