Western unveils new social media lab

Tea Wheat , Courier Staff

As many students and faculty at Western Illinois University may have noticed, there have been many new additions and improvements to the campus. One of the most recent additions is a new social media lab. The brand new social media lab is housed in Western’s Department of Communication.

The lab is designed to help students learn and engage more with social media. The lab currently has three computers that all link up to a mounted flat screen, helping to make collaboration easier. While space was made with students in mind, it is actually for both University personnel and community members.

The lab was invented by the Department of Communication and Associate Professor Josh Averbeck. Per the Western Illinois University news release, Averbeck talked about how the lab was made because of student interest and expertise of our faculty.

“Many of our students graduate with an interest in social media, but lack hands-on experience,” Averbeck said.

Starting this upcoming spring semester, students will have the opportunity to sign up as research assistants to help work with the department. The Department of Communication has an ambitious agenda and will require the help of multiple research assistants. The research assistants will work to produce content for the Department of Communication’s own social media accounts, provide consulting services to the community, as well as write monthly reports related to social media in the region.

“We have experts here and we should find as many ways to share our knowledge as possible,” Averbeck said. “We will also offer consulting and social media audits for regional businesses and organizations for their social media campaigns.”

The course is intended to complement the Computer-Mediated Communication course that the WIU Department of Communication offers. While many may feel that social media is a nuisance and a destructive force to society, others see social media as new way to learn and engage with others worldwide.

If you are interested in checking out the new Social Media Lab, it can be found in Memorial Hall. The new Social Media Lab also has a Facebook page, that the Department of Communication is using for all lab updates, and much more. This Facebook page can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/pg/WIUSocialMediaLab/about/?ref=page_internal.