Interview: Getting to know Vanina Delobelle, a PhD in Social Media

Left Image: Vanina Delobelle, graduates from Université de Corse Pascal Paoli PhD, Management, Area of research: Social Media and online communities for Marketing in the internet space (with honors) – March 2008.

Vanina Delobelle contacted me regarding my recent On the Move series for the social media space, and I was pleasantly surprised to find finally meet a PhD in Social Media. I offered Vanina a guest post, and she’s offered her perspective on why and how the process went for her. Aside from being an academic, she’s deploying her learnings as Global Product Director in charge of social media at Monster based in United States and you can see she’s already conducting research on social media’s impact on job searches.

Vanina, how’d you get into social media?

I started to blog in 2003 and lived the emergence of social media. Behaviours were very different, tools were enabling to engage people better and this new wave was very exciting. At that time I was running a marketing consultancy company targeting SMB and I realized that these new tools could be adopted very easily for low cost strategies. I was feeling as well that social media will be more and more important in companies’ strategies. In contrary to what happened in the past, social media were emerging from SMB and could be extended to large companies. The market was very new and still a lot of people did not see the power of social media and I wanted to convince them. This new world was so exciting that I wanted to study further these new trends and I decided to take the opportunity to turn this into a graduation. I already have a Master International Business Administration from a French Top Business School but no other graduation than a PhD could help me get an intensive knowledge in such an area.

Regarding your PhD in social media, what were your goals, what were you hoping to prove?

My research was very innovative, there were not many people working in this space at that time. It has been hard to find scientific researches that could help me. This trend was mainly driven by business. I wanted to prove academically these new behaviours. I started my PhD in 2004 in France. I started to analyze how start ups were behaving with the social media and then I wanted to show the interest of both entrepreneurs and consumers in using this interactivity.

What were your findings?

Consumers want to take part of conversations happening with companies, they want to be involved, they want to share and this is the company’s interest to do the same with the market. My research was a scientific validation of Pinko marketing and social media use for companies. We could also define some kind of new marketing model for a web 2.0 company. Today we can see that companies can get so many benefits from setting up a social media strategy. I would even say that it is not even possible for a company not to consider it as the market has changed and they have to change as well to survive. They need to open their windows, they need to share, they need to communicate differently. Blogs, forums, social networks, wikis, microblogging…are tools they have at their disposal and that users are using extensively so they have to do the same. Social media are changing the company externally and internally and the benefits companies get by using these tools is huge.

How will you apply this to your day job, what’s next?

This research has been a first step as the market is changing every day. I keep on updating my knowledge in this area. I think also that the big next step for social media is going to be social shopping in the consumer area. If you simply look at the Maslow Pyramid, once you managed to build a network, the next step is to use it. I have extended my research these last months in this area in merging social media and e-business…this is for my personal life. Professionally I am working for Monster and after my PhD got the opportunity to join their HQ based in Boston in order to take the responsibility of Global Product Director Social Media. I am very happy with this new challenge and seeing that companies start to realize how important Social Media are. Social Media strategies are starting and there are great opportunities in this space.

Where can we find you online? I’m sure folks will have questions for you.

Slideshare: Presentation about Social Media Strategy:
My Blog: http://www.vaninadelobelle.com
My Twitter: http://twitter.com/vanina
My slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/vaninadelobelle


If you know someone that’s focusing on social media in college as a major, please leave a comment, I want to know.

17 Replies to “Interview: Getting to know Vanina Delobelle, a PhD in Social Media”

  1. While I think it is great that there are degrees coming out in social media, I am hesitant to embrace the idea at the same time. The scholarly angle of looking at social media is almost locked in historical loss, rather than actual usage.

    In specific terms of the social media space, I would think that there are thousands of professionals currently in the social media realm that should have been rewarded with advanced degrees.

    From the recruiting angle: I’ve been following the media space of Monster since 99 when I was developing Monster with state agencies, and there are companies that are hip-deep (if not head under) the social media aspects of recruiting like Jobster and Jobfox. I’m actually thinking they are much further ahead of the curve because they are not spending time working on credits for school.

    With such a quickly evolving industry, our credentials are going to start having a pretty big chasm of differences amongst practitioners pursuing different aspects of the business.

  2. I am planning on studying the changes in the response and strategy being adopted among Indian companies. Would love to receive insights, links and connecting with people in this space.

  3. Hi,
    I am planning on pursuing my PhD in Social Media Marketing. There are very few research literature's available on the same. However I wanted to ask you on where to start it all from? I mean i have to zero in on a specific topic for my doctoral program and i was hoping if i could get a starting point. I have done my MBA and B.E. from a reputed college and am planning to pursue PhD from U.K.

  4. Hi,
    I am planning on pursuing my PhD in Social Media Marketing. There are very few research literature's available on the same. However I wanted to ask you on where to start it all from? I mean i have to zero in on a specific topic for my doctoral program and i was hoping if i could get a starting point. I have done my MBA and B.E. from a reputed college and am planning to pursue PhD from U.K.

  5. Hi,

    I am pursuing my doctorate in social media. My focus is exploring how event companies use social media to enhance business processes. I would love to connect with social media researchers. Please do contact me @ jasper(at)merlien.org

  6. Hi,
    I am looking to do PHD in social media with focusing in business models. I would like to study in california so I can have a look to Google Company or Ebay. Is there any University suggested to study this major in California??

  7. Thanks for the post. I am currently doing Ph. D on social media. I am from india. As the figures say that indian consumers have low internet penetration than compared to countries like US, UK, etc.. hence active social media usage is also low. But India companies are penetrating in social media much faster.

  8. hey khushbu,

    I am current a Media Planner in a media company and i have desire to pursue Phd in Social Media,i will be highly obliged if u could tell me how i can go forward to do the same.Please let know.

    Arush Seth

    Delhi,India

    arush54@gmail.com

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