You know those end of something evaluations? Great reflective exercises they are. So, at the end of the teaching period and beginning of final MA by Practice semester, my experience at BCU could use some sort of an evaluation.
Last year I quit my pretty cosy full time job at Hewlett-Packard Romania (and lovely apartment) to move to UK and pursue my dream of a social media career. I had looked into this course a year before but was put off by some online articles not doing it justice. What tipped the scales in the end was the stuff I managed to unearth with my premium stalking skills: Dave, my award leader, sounded like a pretty cool professional on Twitter, I found evidence of quite a few social media events his students were attending, so all in all, BCU’s MA in Social Media seemed like the hands-on, less theory, more networking type of course I was looking for.
As you can imagine, quitting my job raised the expectation of finding a part-time job here, which did happen, all the hot tips being forwarded by my tutor. So pretty early into the course I had three social media jobs / collaborations which was much more then I had expected.
The course had a Google Calendar through which Dave was constantly pushing social media events, complemented by the occasional last minute gig announced via email. In all fairness, if I would’ve went to all of these events, my professional network would’ve been top notch by now. I can see how beneficial these industry gatherings are because whenever I put my geeky shyness aside I get to meet lovely, smart, creative people.
Thanks to the guest speakers Dave brought in almost weekly, we were acquainted with Birmingham’s key social media professionals and projects going on. If they’d be tagged with just one social media specialty, we probably had the full spectrum throughout the year.
Another important expectation I had from this MA was to broaden my social media horizons and give me a structured approach to the topic, all pushing me to be a better, more confident social media practitioner. Although I feel the course ended incredibly fast, just about when I was starting to get comfy with it, truth is that these 9 months of schooling prepared us for finding answers ourselves and since we’ve been asked to reflect on our work so often, we are aware of our strengths and weaknesses.
Time for an overview on the events I went to, Hansel and Gretel style:
A week after moving to Birmingham, still not steady on my feet, I was acquainted with the concept of hyperlocal at Your Square Mile;
Birmingham Social Media Cafe has been a very pleasant constant for me;
Hello Culture was eye opening for me, left completely buzzed.
Live blogging at Mock trials by Citizenship Foundation (thank you, Michael Grimes for the invitation), Google Plus for Businesses conference organised by Communicate Magazine and Capital Theatre festival.
Events organised by us:
(note to self: prepare your speech beforehand)
Poster presentation event:
On the downside, BCU generally disappointed and living in Uni halls for four months was an overpriced quite unpleasant chaos. Also, my motivation level would’ve significantly increased if the modules involved more team work and, key element, been more competitive. Probably that’s just me but it would have driven me more to be able to pair up and compete with my colleagues in innocent social media contests.
Do I now have the skill base necessary to be a good social media worker? I suppose the key thing here is knowing how to evaluate oneself, asses the marketplace and be able to plan your development to rise to the professional expectations. And that is the theme for my final MA paper, a project I am already very fond of working on. It is due in September so you’ll probably see a lot of experimenting and reflecting on my blog this summer.