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University launches Google-gaming and Twitter course

A 'new paradigm for information searching'

Top three mobile application threats

Exciting news from the world of academia, which is sweeping away old, elitist notions of learning and making itself more relevant by the day.

The University of Salford is launching a course in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) skills and how to game social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The ten-week Search & Social Marketing Programme costs £1000 for the Foundation course or £1500 for the Professional course - or a bargain £2000 for both.

Students will learn about the "New Paradigm for Information Searching", a "Social Graph for Channels", and buying traffic ("Pay-per-click: if you need results fast").

"It’s the first in the UK to earn accreditation from the global leader the US-based SEMPO Institute," boasts the University, justifiably. There's no need to be bashful.

Tutors include private sector experts from Latitude and PushOn, experts in "holistic" SEO, viral marketing and pay-per-click, while in-house tutors include Dr David Kreps PhD, whose resume tells us that "his background in Cultural Studies and Sociology bring an Actor Network and Performativity oriented approach to his research in Information Solutions".

The University already teaches a Master of Arts Degree in Social Media, but it wasn't the first to do so - it was beaten to the punch by Birmingham City University. (See I CAN HAZ TWITTER DEGREE.)

As educational institutions face public funding cuts, they're increasingly looking for new sources of income. One that seems to too lucrative to resist is the world of Web 2.0 marketing; the buzzword brigade who enthuse about Malcolm Gladwell books also have large budgets and a deep sense of insecurity - they have no idea what they're doing.

It's a marriage of nature's natural bureaucrats. Which makes it a perfect fit.

The marketers gain a valuable, officially-blessed hierarchy: their jargon becoming a formally institutionalised language, while their in-house guild becomes the academic authority. For their part, the Universities become increasingly loath to teach the economics or history behind the ideas of Web 2.0 (which owe much to Californian New Age cults, for example) that they're promoting. Already reduced to certificate-mills, they see their authority diminish further.

So in the end, no one really learns anything. The successful students are less able to understand the internet or business than if they hadn't taken the course. Their employers are £2,000 worse off, of course - a cost ultimately borne by you and me. ®

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