A degree in Twitter? Don't be daft!


It is official, Britain has gone Twitter mad. No really, totally insane in fact. First there was the story, which I am assured is not some badly timed April Fool gag, that reveals the government is contemplating adding Twitter skills to the primary school curriculum while at the same time suggesting less time should be spent on history. Quite what benefit your average 6 to 11 year old will gain, in educational terms, by becoming a proficient Twitterer instead of learning about the Second World War is, quite frankly, beyond me. I am all for ensuring kids understand the nature of modern communications systems and are able to make the best of online information sources, but not at the expense of a proper education.

Talking of which, that bastion of the 'proper education' known as University life has also embraced the Twitter revolution. No, I am not talking about the student use of social networking but rather the study of social networking as a degree topic. Yes, Birmingham City University has apparently become the first in the country to start offering a one year degree course, a MA in Social Media, which will include publishing podcasts, establishing blogs and, of course, Twittering as part of the course work. Starting next year, the degree course has seemingly already come under attack from some potential students for being far too simplistic.

Aye, and there lies the rub. My real problem with teaching both primary school kids and university students about using Twitter is that it stinks of teaching granny to suck eggs. Surely your average kid knows more about social networking than your average teacher!

About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to Forbes.com, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...