Course description

Social Networks and Communities


Understanding relationships is vital for organizations and is particularly critical to the success of marketing and/or public relations activities. However, new forms of communication and cooperation have made it more difficult for organizations to have an overview or control over their relationships. Analyzing and detecting social networks and communities allows organizations to make sense of the social and information networks arising from the pervasive availability of the Internet and new interactive applications whose use by consumers and other stakeholders can be a benefit for organizations but also can put their reputations at risk. The course introduces basic theoretical perspectives and research methods of social networks and their applications with a focus on communication networks.

Against this background the course will cover particular aspects of social networks and communities impacting corporate communication, marketing and other communicative aspects of product and service development, and reputation.

Target groups
Bachelor students with an interest in corporate communication (for example, public relations, customer relations, public affairs), marketing (especially advertising and branding), journalism, media and technology. The course is ideal for students who intend to pursue a career in marketing and communication, but also in communication related tasks in consulting or strategy-related corporate functions.

Course content

  • Defining social networks
  • Creating and Sustaining Social Capital in the Web 2.0
  • Principles and Applications of the Social Internet
  • Social Networks: Forms of Analysis and Applications
  • Communities, Peer Production and Collaboration Processes
  • Trust on the Internet
  • Attention Economy - The Future of Content
  • Communication implications of digital business models
  • The (Counter-) culture of the Internet
  • Engaging social networks online

Learning outcome knowledge

After completing the course students should have gained a basic understanding of:

  • What is changing in marketing and communications, but also why these changes are occurring.
  • Major current economic, technological and social developments in the Internet, and the ensuing implications for enterprises in general and for marketing and communication in particular.
  • Scientific and cultural backgrounds on the properties of social networks, the (sub-)culture of Internet communities, the characteristics of digital media to issues of transparency, attention and power
  • Basic tools for researching and analyzing social networks


Exam organisation

  • Written assignment: 100%