August 30, 2011 8:24 AM   Subscribe


Some of you know that I'm the lucky recipient of a rare blood cancer that is indolent, incurable, terminal and slow growing, but painful, I also suffer from fibromyalgia and sero-negative reactive arthritis and FINALLY have given up the idea that I can still work my sales job with or without an ADA accommodation. I'm not so lucky to have a husband to support me and my severely brain-injured 35 yr. old son or any support network, only 'youse guys' to ask for guidance. On Sept 1st I will have to choose to either ask for a telecommute only position with the company I've worked for for over a decade in some other area or give up and go on long term disability. (The company I presently work for has NEVER given a telecommute position to anyone that I know of thus far.) I can't pay the bills with that and will have to find a home for my son and one for me, a camper perhaps. I enrolled in SMMU on a trial basis and it looks like if I can get through this course at $275 per month I could find a position that suits me within the marketing arena which I know well from a traditional venue. I planted the seed to my boss around this idea of me working from home on promoting the company with social marketing, but doing it from home. She is not allowed to discuss anything with me prior to me being released from sick leave. ARRGH!!! I've tried flexjobs and there are some positions that would work except for health insurance. I loathe pity and still have a sharp mind and wish to remain independent. Has anyone actually taken these courses and if so, have you gained any benefit from them? Any suggestions as to what to do next at 58 yrs old?
posted by ~Sushma~ to Education (15 answers total)
seems like alot of money for something you can discover on your own... i'm not sure if it's a fraud, but it seems like they are charging you for little effort on their part. their certification is probably worthless in the real world.
posted by fozzie33 at 8:34 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Social Media Magic University?

I'd say that's probably a scam.
posted by box at 8:36 AM on August 30, 2011 [8 favorites]

My friends and I have a rule about anything that calls itself a "university" and proceeds to have a .com address: Scam. That website screams rubbish through and through. The only hits for Social Media Magic University were nearly all SEO crap sites. The two items I found about SMMU that weren't SEO crap were:

One forum post on LinkedIn where someone was complaining about being spammed by SMMU.
One forum post on Digital Photography review discussing whether this site and others like it were a scam. The consensus was that this was a waste of money at best and a scam at worse.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:37 AM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

Anything calling itself a University and has "Magic" in its name had damned well better be teaching you how to saw a girl in half. Otherwise...SCAM.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:40 AM on August 30, 2011 [24 favorites]

I don't think this is truly a "scam" any more than any other marketing-ish self-improvement-type seminar is a "scam". Which is to say that it's a very expensive way of getting very little if any benefit, but I don't think they're actually lying to anyone about that.

So don't do it, but I don't think it's any worse than any of the other similar things out there.
posted by valkyryn at 8:46 AM on August 30, 2011

Best answer: SMMU looks nearly worthless. Why don't you go through this list of free university courses on marketing/social media and take some of them? It was compiled in 2010 but I see most of the courses are remaining current.
posted by michaelh at 8:49 AM on August 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

The only benefit of having a social media degree is if it were to open doors for you that lead to employment. I doubt that this university can do that for you, so i'd say it is a scam. Right now, having a solid portfolio that you can show to potential clients is a much better way to get your foot in the door. If you want to work in social media, you should start getting immersed in it: start up a twitter account, get on facebook, google+ etc and start following others who are doing what you'd like to do. Join in on conversations, ask questions, and see if you can build a network of people who are doing what you want to do. This will build skills and contacts and could lead to employment.

It sounds like you're also asking a second question: "is social media a good career for me given my current situation?" I don't know the answer to that one. But there are other ways that you can make a living from a computer and the internet. Sell stuff on if you're crafty, learn to design websites if you're tech savvy, etc. There's lots of options and probably many people here who can help you get started finding a good fit for you.
posted by cubby at 8:51 AM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: While I totally understand the value of having a course or certification for your employment situation, this is not that class. You cannot put something from Social Media Magic University on your resume without potential employers laughing out loud.

FWIW I say this as someone who teaches four modules of a 12-week digital marketing degree course with virtually the same format. The institute I teach at is a nice mid-weight institute to get a professional qualification, is well regarded, and has credibility. I am sure that MeFi can help you find a simialr course locally to you or online if this is something you want to pursue, but do not part with money for this one.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:20 AM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

I don't know if there's a specific "scam template" for websites, but I encounter an awful lot of websites that look very similar -- loooooong SEO-driven pages, etc. -- and they all tend towards the informercialish / get-rich-quick end of the spectrum.
posted by holgate at 9:28 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

So a few years back, I friended a friend of mine from elementary school. Dude was knee deep in pyramid schemes and managing to make a living off them by screwing other people. So I've been on the up-and-up about all the different scams out there for quite a while by watching this guy.

With the advent of legit (and not-so-legit) online universities, they're, social media schooling is the new territory they've staked. Everyone is offering classes on blogging, teaching you how to amass Twitter followers through shady programs, etc. etc.

Working on promoting your company in social media? Fantastic idea, seriously. Paying some jackass scammer to teach you how to do it in the worst possible way? Bad idea.
posted by griphus at 9:50 AM on August 30, 2011

Not that there aren't legit classes teaching this, but this isn't one of them. Stay the hell away from anythign with the word "entrepreneur" in it as well.
posted by griphus at 9:52 AM on August 30, 2011

Best answer: Very little on Twitter with their #SMMU hashtag, but there is this

#smmu smmu uses answering service for calls; no smmu person. Doesn't respond to support requests re billing errors. Beware this service.

Quite amusingly this is scrolling along on the front page of their web site. And no response has been made -- you'd think anybody oh-so-hot at social media marketing would be out there with a public "@you -- We are very sorry for difficulties. Please telephone our billing dept at XXX-XXX-XXXX and we will fix immediately"
posted by kmennie at 10:29 AM on August 30, 2011 [9 favorites]

Response by poster: @SMMagic is the Twitter feed.
posted by ~Sushma~ at 5:45 PM on August 30, 2011

There is a special irony in that they claim to be experts in social media, and yet have a near-zero presence themselves.
posted by miyabo at 6:56 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Not really true @miyabo-but suspicious at worst...I've garnered around two dozen new Twitter followers of good quality, a bunch of LinkedIn folks and generated activity in looking at my resume since I attended the webinar. Regardless, "michaelH" information is awesome, and I'll do it on my own. Thank you MeFites for your gracious and valuable information.
posted by ~Sushma~ at 7:17 AM on August 31, 2011

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