Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Northwestern University

What is Social?

Northwestern University via Coursera


The “What Is Social?" MOOC is for business owners, executives, and marketing professionals who want to significantly improve their abilities to grow their social strategy using effective, proven methodologies. This hands on, "how to" program won’t just tell you how to grow your professional persona using social – you will actually do it! This course is the first in the six-course specialization, Social Media Marketing: How to Profit in a Digital World.

While the course can be audited for free, paid learners will receive additional content beyond the course basics. For MOOC 1, the toolkit includes a special video from Alessandro Acquisti on Big Data and a set of studies done by IBM on engagement and social marketing strategies with bottom-line profits.

This course has been designed to give you the tools, insights, knowledge, and skills to immediately impact your organization. In addition, we will help you network with thought leaders in social. After completing this course, you and your organization’s staff will be able to position, engage, and grow relationships with the consumers of highest value to you.

Today, we are living in a period of massive disruption. New technologies are changing the way people engage with each other and with the organizations that interest them. This course will start you on the path to growing your own social strategy using effective, proven methodologies.

Additional MOOC 1 faculty include:
* Judy Ungar Franks (President, The Marketing Democracy, Ltd. & Lecturer, Medill Integrated Marketing Communications, Northwestern)


  • Introduction to Social Marketing
    • In this first module, you will learn about the goals, structure, and deliverables of the Social Marketing Specialization MOOCs, as well as gain an understanding of how the MOOCs in the Specialization will each build on one another to create a truly unique and immediately applicable experience.
  • Social Trends
    • In this module, you will learn not only how the digital revolution has disrupted the marketplace, but also how you can make sense of this disrupted digital world.
  • The Business of Social
    • In this module, you will learn how to view social as holistic, consumer/stakeholder focused, flexible, global, real-time and integrated. You will then complete a peer review assignment which will ask you to define your target audience on social.
  • Social Overview
    • In this module, you will learn to understand the importance of big data and how to deal with all of the quickly changing social sites used today. You will also learn the difference between social networks and communities as well as the reasons that they form. Then, you will set up the social sites that you will use throughout the Specialization.

Taught by

Randy Hlavac


4.1 rating, based on 13 Class Central reviews

4.6 rating at Coursera based on 4042 ratings

Start your review of What is Social?

  • Theresa

    Theresa completed this course.

    I scored the 'What is Social' MOOC extremely high, which is usually not my norm, so the Course really impressed me. It is only the 1st of 6 parts and I already can't wait for the 2nd part. The only thing that I have a gripe about is the inability to...
  • Profile image for Annie Giudicessi
    Annie Giudicessi

    Annie Giudicessi completed this course.

    As someone who works in marketing this class is fantastic! It gives you great information and insight on Social Media and it's functions within business. I refer to myself as a social media addict and this class still taught me so much! If you're trying to advance your skills in social media for your business or for personal/professional growth I highly recommend this course. The video lessons are helpful and by paying for the specialization in advance I was able to gain the tool-kits that were filled with great information and resources that will be useful for not only myself but will help me when teaching my organization and clients about the benefits of social.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    Very unimpressed with this - not at all what I expected for a paid $500 course. Quality is low and information like this could be found free online. Was not anything special and the course constantly wanted me to promote them on social media.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    The course gives a nice overview over different topics about social media like the different channels & kinds of social media and some tools. At some point I would have liked to go deeper into detail.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    It's a good introductory course about what does being social mean, it opens a door for you to see whats behind the most talented social accounts, their Community Managers and the tools they use to engage with their clients and customers, very good course.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    The course was enriching especially if you feel overwhelmed by social media marketing. It will give you perspective and help you understand what social as the name indicates truely is.
  • Profile image for Michelle Lynn Schmeer-Van Slyke
    Michelle Lynn Schmeer-Van Slyke

    Michelle Lynn Schmeer-Van Slyke completed this course.

    I learned so much from this course, it's really making a difference already. It's amazing to see how social really works. I have learned a lot about Twitter and social media monitoring specifially. I look forward the next 5 courses.
  • Mam Ngorr Joof

    Mam Ngorr Joof is taking this course right now, spending 14 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Oh this was a very educative moment with me.Thanks alot for given us more understanding,therefor will make best use of this great opportunities for without the access to university opportunities to learn more skills
  • Stella Lillig is taking this course right now.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

  • Israel Palma

    Israel Palma completed this course.

  • Catherine Nikitina is taking this course right now.

  • Ashley Eidler

    Ashley Eidler completed this course.

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.