Friday, May 02, 2008

The Psychology of Facebook: A College Course...

The greatest reason why the Ivy League colleges are the Ivy League colleges is their bureaucratic flexibility and rapid-response to creating courses that are extremely current.

Check out the syllabus for this new course being offered at Stanford University: The Psychology of Facebook.

For ten weeks we will focus on persuasion psychology in Facebook. In other words, we will examine Facebook as a system that can foster attitude and behavior change. This generally has two facets: First, Facebook, Inc., has persuasive goals. For example, Facebook seeks to persuade users to upload profile pictures. Second, the users themselves have persuasive goals. For example, when a person uploads a profile picture, what persuasive goals drive the photo selected?

The list of weekly topics include:
  • Psychology of Profile Pictures
  • Psychology of Status Updates
  • Psychology of Poking
  • Psychology of High Trust Context
  • Psychology of Commenting
  • Psychology of Posting & Sharing
  • Psychology of News Feeds
  • Psychology of Profile Pages
  • Psychology of App (Application) Adoption
  • Psychology of Facebook as Ritual

Kind of makes you want to go back to school again, doesn't it?

From experience, having created a course on Internet Politics at City College, I can say that institutional resistance to creating cutting-edge course topics is actually quite minimal. What is needed is simply more instructors with the expertise and the willingness to teach them.

Stanford's initiative ought to be praised, and their lead followed.


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