Be Inspired

Q&A with Social Media Strategist Molly Stark Dean

Using social media to impact a global community

From New York City to China, Molly Stark Dean has been a thought leader in the emerging social media industry for over ten years. As a social media strategist and guest lecturer at the University of Missouri in China, Dean shares her knowledge of social media growth strategies with international editors, reporters, producers, webmasters, developers and managers.

Dean is now bringing her social media prowess to Mediabistro as a guest instructor for the new online training course, Produce Social Media Videos.

 Vital Stats

Name: Molly Stark Dean
Company: University of Missouri
Title: Lecturer
Company: School of Journalism China Program
Years with Company: 2

Hometown/where are you from?
East Dorset, Vermont
Present hometown/where do you live and work?
Brooklyn, New York


College: New York University
Major: Reporting the Nation (MA)

College: Suffolk University
Major: Communication Studies (BS)

Social Info

Instagram: @mollystarkdean
Twitter: @mollystarkdean
LinkedIn: Molly Stark Dean

What was your first real job? 

My first job was overnight desk assistant at Fox News Channel.

Please describe what you do in your current position in 1-3 sentences.

I teach content management systems and social media marketing in China. The China program goes to different news organizations throughout the country. I speak through a translator and present my strategies to an audience of media professionals.

Is this where you always thought you’d end up? Or has your career been a wild ride of curveballs and left turns?

I did spend a semester in China studying Chinese, but I never thought I’d be back, let alone teaching there. My career has been the typical revolving door media story; however, I went into every job thinking that I’d be there for a long career.

What inspired you to break into this role?

I studied in China during my undergraduate degree.

What about your job gets you excited to jump out of bed every morning? What makes you want to hide under the sheets?

I get out of bed knowing that I can empower others with the skills that seem second nature to me. In high school, I taught adult computer classes and educating fellow journalists seems second nature to me. The first class I taught was only 10 minutes long. I was so nervous that I sped through the whole thing pretty quickly. After I began to teach more, I became more confident and perfected the pacing.

How do you stay on top of trends in your field?

I’m a huge fan of email newsletters. I start my day reading those. Then I check out what’s trending on social media.

What do you want to get better at/skills you want to develop and why?

While I was at Reuters TV, I took an advanced Excel course. I learn more about that program every day.

What leaders or companies in your field do you follow? What do you like about them?

I follow Sheryl Sandberg (Chief Operating Officer of Facebook) and Campbell Brown (Facebook News Partnerships Lead). These female executives set a great example for the futures of both news and social media.

What’s the biggest misconception people have about this field/role?

The biggest misconception people have about this role is that real social media results can be seen using little financial investment in tools and staff.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone looking to break into this field?

Always keep your mind open to learn new things every day. Social media is always changing, and you have to keep up with it.

Why did you choose to become a Mediabistro instructor and why do you think it’s important for people to learn the skill you are teaching?

I became a Mediabistro instructor because I see the same social media video mistakes all the time. As our internet gets faster and more reliable, social video is on the rise.

What tips do you have for students taking your course?

Save the workbook lists and use them for all future social media videos.

What are you reading and/or watching right now?

I’m reading “Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much” and recommend it to anyone who wants to do big things with less resources. I watch TV a lot: reality, drama, comedy, super heroes, and above all, news. I am also loving the movie “Tickled.”

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