Prior to taking my Social Media, Social Food course this semester, I had never really thought much about various social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, aside from them being places to post pictures and status updates. Initially I was unsure about taking this class since I’m not very active on any of these platforms. However, I then learned that no prior experience is required. This semester there is a range of students participating, each with varying degrees of social media experience and there’s definitely something for every student to learn.
The first few weeks of class consisted of analyzing different types of accounts and learning how users become engaged. We then chose accounts to follow on various platforms such as Starbucks, Guy Fieri, and Tasty and created presentations to compare the strategies and techniques that each of them uses. Prior to doing this, I had never realized how much thought goes into each social media post, and it was interesting for me to see what factors draw in followers. Overall, the course is very interactive and our weekly presentations have really helped improve my public speaking skills. Many of the techniques we have learned in class are really important for my future career. For example, we have learned different marketing strategies that are beneficial to businesses and corporations, how to build a strong social media presence for future employers, and how to use social media to your advantage, beyond just sharing your interests with your followers. I have never heard of a course like this at my home university so it was great to be able to expand on my typical coursework and learn something new!
After our midterm break, we started a project where each group creates its own Instagram account and blogs about food. It is a really interesting project because I absolutely never would have started a blog otherwise, and now I can see what it is like to actually be a content creator! We also go on weekly site visits that have introduced me to many places and things I never would have experienced otherwise, such as the Sant’ Ambrogio Market, our cooking class and gelato making at The Food Studio, and a coffee sampling at Dini Cafè. After each site visit, each group has to create a post and add to the page’s story. It is cool to track the insights of the page and evaluate response levels to posts. I have learned a lot about how to create a catchy bio and profile, what caption styles gain the most engagement and how to create a strong aesthetic to make your page cohesive. Not only has this course allowed me to see Florence from a culinary perspective, but it has also given me the opportunity to gain valuable skills for my future career.