COLLEGES + UNIVERSITIES

Is an Irish university’s influencer degree counter intuitive?

Oct 3, 2023, 4:00 PM

a person uses tiktok in front of a laptop -- SALT LAKE CITY -- Starting next year students in Irela...

Adam Botkin, a football TikTok influencer, edits a video for a post at a Chipotle Mexican Grill while eating dinner in Missoula, Mont., on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. Botkin, a former walk-on place kicker and punter for the Montana Grizzlies, gained notoriety on the social media platform after videos of him performing kicking tricks went viral. (AP Photo/Tommy Martino)

(AP Photo/Tommy Martino)

SALT LAKE CITY — Starting next year students in Ireland will be able to study for a degree inspired by social media influencers. The degree caters to Gen-Z’s investment in social media, but one Utah student says it’s unnecessary.

South East Technological University, SETU, in Carlow, Ireland is set to offer a three-year degree inspired by the popularity and success of influencers.

Why does this influencer degree exist?

Influencers are heavily involved on social media. They have many followers and are often trusted by millions of strangers. SETU is instituting the new program because of the high demand from Gen Z students who have expressed their desires to become social media influencers.

But Brigham Young University advertising student Aliza Nickles said she thinks this degree is counter-intuitive, going against what most aspiring influencers want.

“If you want to be an influencer, the whole idea is to not have to go to school. And to not do the 9-5 job.” 

The influencing-inspired degree is vaguely titled “Content Creation and Social Media.” But its description shows a clear focus on the world of influencers.

“Experts tell us that the global influencer market is currently worth around $21 billion,” the description reads.

Apart from getting broad training in digital media and communications, the description says students will get the chance to turn a hobby, influencing, into a career.

What will the degree offer?

According to SETU’s description of the program,  students will learn the basics of influencing, including content creation, social media, and journalism. 

Required courses for the degree include digital marketing, photography and video, social psychology, and media ethics and law.

Students with a degree in digital media will have “endless” job opportunities, the description said. Potential careers include content creation, journalism, and of course, influencing.

The program will be available to students starting in 2024.

As for Nickles, she said she doesn’t think the world needs more influencers

“I feel like it’s important for people to learn to trust themselves. And not be reliant on others for what they think.”

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Is an Irish university’s influencer degree counter intuitive?