RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – A new degree at Arkansas Tech University is teaching students how to control clicks and show out on social media.
Starting in the Fall 2023 semester, the digital content creation major became available for students at Arkansas Tech University.
Some might think this degree is about getting millions of followers, but educators said it is more about combining the creative with the business side of social media and might be the most practical degree they are offering in the Mass Communications Department.
Dr. David Eshelman is the department head for Communications & Media Studies at ATU and he noted that the education landscape is changing to keep up with the technological revolution.
“I don’t think any of us predicted our entire lives would be contained in our pockets,” Eshelman said.
According to Goldman Sachs, as of April 2023, the content creator economy is worth around $250 billion and is expected to roughly double in size within the next five years to nearly $500 billion.
Arkansas Tech University student Hunter Paige was one of the consultants when ATU started its new digital content creation degree. The 20-year-old has more than 800,000 followers combined between TikTok and Instagram promoting country music and brands.
She said it started when she was in high school just posting a video of her family dancing to music. It got 500,000 views, and she kept doing what was fun.
“The money started slowly coming in, I was like, ‘Oh wow,” Paige said.
Some of her most recent collaborations were at the Toyota Headquarters and with musician Walker Hayes. Paige was also one of the consultants when ATU started its new Digital Content Creation degree. She was a guest speaker to impart lessons she had to learn on her own like reading contracts and protecting intellectual property.
“It’s not just, ‘Oh, I blew up one day.’ It does take strategy that you’re going to learn here at college,” Paige said.
Students in the 30-hour program take courses in social media, public relations, performance, influencing, digital ethics and filmmaking.
Even if they don’t decide to become their own boss, Eshelman said social media experts are in high demand. This degree helps the university tackle that market more directly.
“Every company needs social media,” Eshelman stated. “You can do social media even in the state of Arkansas.”
Additional information about the new degree program is available by sending an e-mail to Eshelman at email@example.com.