What’s the dream job for the incoming generation of entrepreneurs? For better or worse, it’s not CEO of a high-profile start-up in Silicon Valley. The burning ambition of the day is to become an influencer — a figure whose social media account gets so popular that they can post selfies or stream themselves gaming every day or so and watch the advertising revenue roll in.
More TikTok and Instagram stars are living that dream than you might think, and you can find them at conferences and conventions dedicated to the art and commerce of social media marketing. Now, there’s an actual university course that aspiring influencers can take to make this profession a reality.
The Washington Post reports that, starting next year, a college in Carlow, Ireland will begin offering Bachelor of Arts degrees in Content Creation and Social Media. According to the course overview from South East Technological University (SETU), the class will focus on “content creation and the harnessing of social media power.”
SETU plans to enroll 40 students in the course, but they expect many more to apply based on the overwhelming response to an initial summer program that also focused on the influencer economy. While many other colleges offer degrees in digital marketing, representatives at SETU told The Post they may be the first to focus specifically on this very timely career option. Courses will include public relations and crisis management, social psychology, celebrity studies and video and audio editing.
Undeniably, it’s an economy that’s growing. Many estimates value the influencer marketing industry at over $21 billion, and its biggest stars have more clout than celebrities with today’s teenagers. Some examples include the controversial Logan Paul and his brother Jake (now a professional boxer), who together earned $55 million last year.
And that pales in comparison to the $82 million earned by Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson, a YouTuber who got his start posting video game play-throughs and then graduated to elaborate real-life stunts and creative philanthropy.
For example, in this YouTube video with 216 million views, MrBeast and his crew adopt out every dog in a shelter:
They have a great time, they do some good and they make money. It’s clear to see why enterprising kids want to follow in their footsteps. More than half of Gen Z respondents see influencing as a viable career path, according to polls by Morning Consult as reported by CNBC. The question is, can they make it? Sounds like this degree could help them on their way.