We’re kicking off our Novel Approaches in Teaching series at Northeastern with a glimpse inside a social media class hosted using a social platform feature: Twitter Spaces. Implementation and Management of Social Media Channels and Online Communities, a graduate-level course at the College of Professional Studies (CPS), was recently taught by Professor Bob Cargill. An adjunct professor, copywriter, content creator, social media consultant, and public speaker, Professor Cargill has worked for some 500 or so different clients over the years. 

As a student of the class, on behalf of the NU Media team, I interviewed Professor Cargill to find out how the idea to host a class on Twitter came about, the benefits of doing so, and what he thinks the future of learning will be.

About Twitter Spaces

Twitter Spaces is a feature on Twitter where users can have live audio conversations. Twitter Spaces are public and allow any user to join as a listener. To become a speaker, a listener can request permission from the event’s host. The Twitter Spaces hosted by Professor Cargill were held once a week over three weeks. The students in the class used the platform to discuss the latest happenings in the world of social media. Marketing professionals across the country joined the Twitter Spaces, including those from AMA Boston and Jordan (a sub-brand of NIKE Inc.). Listen in on one of the previously hosted Twitter Spaces to find out how it went!

Q: How are Twitter spaces useful for learning?

A: Twitter Spaces is an ideal educational platform for a multitude of reasons:

  1. Students can join in an infinite array of discussions via this Twitter feature just to listen and learn. This is an opportunity to connect with people from across the globe and hear different perspectives on important topics and issues.
  2. It is convenient, easy, and free to use.What could be better? Recording a class discussion via Twitter Spaces is an invitation for the public to participate, providing an audience for our students that they would not have otherwise. A bigger audience for a class discussion adds significance to what each student says, helping them to realize the value of what they have to share as individuals. Their experience, expertise and education matters to others outside the classroom, a realization that gives students a well-deserved ego boost – recognition for a job well done.


Q: How did you come up with the idea to conduct your class on Twitter Spaces?

A: I spend a lot of time on social media for personal and professional reasons. I am constantly trying to incorporate social media into my teaching as a way of connecting my students to the world outside the classroom. Twitter Spaces is a popular, relatively new feature that I have used on numerous occasions on my own and as a member of the board of directors of the American Marketing Association (AMA) Boston. The discussions we had in class seemed like a perfect fit for Twitter Spaces. I felt this would add even more significance to what the students had to say, which I knew would be great for them and thought they would appreciate. Social media is an extension of ourselves, regardless of our profession, situation or stage in life. Social media is powerful, popular, and pervasive.


Q: How do you think social media should be integrated more into the classroom learning experience? 

A: Social media allows us to document what we are doing as human beings, on a day-to-day basis. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and the like are rapidly becoming the go-to way of communicating with one another. Everybody has a phone in their hands or within arms’ reach, where they can access their social media accounts quickly and conveniently. Specifically, in the classroom, students could be sharing what they are learning either live or after the fact with their respective networks of followers, friends, and fans. Students could also connect with their peers, professors, and the school’s administrative team members. Recording the learnings from the classroom – writing about them, talking about them – and sharing them via social media helps a student recall and retain that knowledge, not to mention the potential for exponentially increasing the reach of those lessons to a much broader audience. I encourage my students to share what they learn in the classroom with their social media audience. Doing so gives them invaluable experience in articulating their expertise to the general public, helping them build their personal brand, and leaving a favorable impression of the school they attend in the minds of their audience.


Q: There’s a lot of talk about the metaverse and Web 3.0. What do you think the future of learning will look like?

A: With all this new, emerging technology related to social media – Web 3.0, specifically – the potential for online education is unlimited. We have already seen the possibility of replicating the in-person classroom experience online come to life successfully. We can do that via Zoom using Canvas and other online learning tools. That is just scratching  the surface of what we may be experiencing down the road. Real-world animated simulations, avatars, gamification, virtual realities, augmented realities…time will tell just how far we will go in this direction!


About Bob Cargill

Bob Cargill was the New England Direct Marketing Association’s Direct Marketer of the Year in 2009. His work has been recognized with over 40 awards from the New England Direct Marketing Association, including Gold for his blog on marketing, Gold for Best Tweets, Silver for Best Copywriting and two Silvers for his video series about social media on LinkedIn. He is a past president of both the American Marketing Association (AMA) Boston (2018-2020) and the New England Direct Marketing Association (1999-2000). Professor Cargill’s latest  venture is his new book called Twenty Jobs, Twenty Lessons – a Long, Strange Career in Marketing, from Junk Mail to Social Media. This book, according to the author, is about marketing, advertising and social media, but also business in general. Cargill offers advice to readers on how to pivot in the face of a big obstacle, how to bounce back from defeat and how to succeed against the odds. The book is available to order NOW in electronic and print format on Amazon.