UMA Social Science Program Announces New Social Media Concentration

The Social Science Program at UMA now offers a concentration in Social Media, starting in Fall 2022.

Smartphone screen showing various social media iconsThe presence, use, and regulation of social media strongly shape outcomes in politics, education, healthcare, business, and many other institutions. The need for individuals and organizations to understand their place within the social media environment is reflected in a strong and growing job market for people with skills in social media analysis and management. Students who study social media at UMA will be prepared to understand, analyze, and communicate with social media.

Two classes are being offered in the Fall 2022 semester that help fulfill the requirements of the concentration: COM 410, Communication, New Technology, and Interpersonal Relationships, and COM/SOC 375, Social Networks. Both courses are being offered online.

COM 410, Communication, New Technology, and Interpersonal Relationships

This course, which is being offered at UMA for the first time this fall, will help students understand why sometimes it’s easier to type things than to say them out loud, if people actually lie more online, how to ask your partner to stop scrolling through Facebook while you’re hanging out, and how to send an email that doesn’t sound passive aggressive.

Dr. Valerie Rubinsky, an Assistant Professor of Communication in the Social Science Program who teaches the new course, says, “Our lives are increasingly multimodal – for most of our relationships, we don’t just talk to people face to face, or just over email, or just through social media, we communicate across many channels and many modalities. The features of those channels constrain and expand the possibilities for effective communication, and understanding them can help folks learn to communicate more effectively with the people in their personal and professional lives.”

COM/SOC 375, Social Networks

Who you are as an individual helps shape your fate, but who surrounds you matters even more. This course introduces a way of measuring social context – the social network – that is a simple but powerful tool for understanding the social world. Everything having to do with social networks can be boiled down to two basic ideas: that people enter into relationships with one another and join social groups. Social network analysts make the audacious claim that if you can describe patterns of relationships and groups, you have all you need to understand most of our social world.

Social network analysis is one of the hottest areas of research in the social sciences right now, and students who understand social networks will be prepared for work in a number of fields, including the new social media industry. Take this course to get your foot in the door. “What you know about the world and what you can do in the world depends on who you know,” says James Cook, UMA Associate Professor of Sociology and instructor of the Social Networks course. “I’m eager to help students learn to measure and understand the social networks around them, because that knowledge is power.”

For more information about the Social Science Program or Social Media Concentration, contact Lorien Lake-Corral, Associate Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Social Science program, at

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