“Education costs money, but then so does ignorance.”  Sir Claus Moser

Having done a lot of study, of different subjects and in different learning environments, I have to admit there have been times I’ve thought I’d done enough studying and learning.

But if ever there was an era when continuing education was not a luxury but an imperative, this 21st century surely wins the prize.

And I know from experience that, in this fast-moving world, with such a daily tsunami of information, opinions and general noise about social media as about many other topics, I can benefit professionally and personally by participating in a structured, disciplined learning process.

Certified Social Media Strategist badgeAll of which is by way of saying I’ve just become a student once more, this time with the Social Media Academy, where I have enrolled for the Certified Social Media Strategist program.

I’m doing the Australian version, which started yesterday and I am under the gun to get on with the challenging program of lessons.

The Certified Social Media Strategist class is described by the Academy as follows:

The Strategist Class is the “Core Education Program” of the Social Media Academy, a comprehensive 6 weeks online education program with online workshops covering social media from a holistic point of view. Class includes methods, models and frameworks for social media assessments, strategies and execution plans for all industries.

We’ve already had our introductory webinar and I am excited about the way the course has been structured and the support being provided, not least the custom-built e-learning platform.

Do I need the Certificate?

I really don’t know. I am pretty sure it won’t hurt for clients and prospective clients to know that I have been through a process like this, have had to submit assignments for assessment and have some external validation.

But what attracted me more than the prospect of having another certificate were

  • the comprehensiveness of the course
  • the strategic conceptual framework (I like good tactics, but I like to know where they fit in the big picture)
  • the knowledge, experience and seriousness of purpose of the people running the Social Media Academy
  • the quality of graduates whom I know
  • the focus on providing guidance on how to help business from small to large corporate
  • the inclusion of course material on practice-building

Social Media Academy bannerIt’s a big time-commitment over a couple of months. I figured out I have to spend a minimum of twelve hours a week and in practice probably a bit more, just to keep up. But I believe it is worth it.

I’m hoping to share here on the blog some insights and realizations as I go along. Some of those may well be somewhat embarrassing.  I am quite prepared to find – and actually hope I will find – that there are a number of things I do in social media which I could do a lot better, and things I’m not doing that I should be doing, and so on.

And while I mightn’t need the certificate, I quite like the idea of having it!

If you are interested in knowing more about the Social Media Academy’s courses, they offer a free orientation session, with varying times to accommodate people around the globe in different time zones.

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).