Social Media Through a New Lens

Did you receive Ryan’s snapchat? Did you see the photo of Joe’s new car on Instagram? I’m planning a birthday party, I’ll invite you on Facebook. Did everyone read the tweet Jimmy Fallon tweeted last night?

Okay, so our everyday language has become jampacked with social media terms, even if we are unaware of it. Words that were once deemed as nouns describing a platform have since become verbs: tweeted, snapchatted, instagrammed, Facebooked. When I wrote my first blog , I illustrated the business side of social media by focusing on maintaining good customer relations through examples such as SouthWest’s presence on Twitter. To me, that was the business side of social media. Yet over the past few months, I have come to realize that social media has both its ups and its downs. Social media is developing and we are witnessing its growth. Just like a teenager has to learn as he/she grows up, so does social media. Just within the past few months, I have seen social media at what I perceived as its best and also social media at its worst. I cannot simply state that the best outweighs the worst or vice versa. These are just stages, life cycles, in the evergrowing development of social media.

There were some social media moments over the past few months that stood out to me. One of which was Super Bowl Sunday. The biggest night for football fans and the biggest night for advertisers. Companies pay large sums of money all in hopes of securing new customers through witty commercials. The Super Bowl was progressing like any other night when <BAM!!> Power Outage! The Super Bowl went dark. Unscripted. And a nightmare for advertisers who thought that viewers may switch the channel. One company emerged from the darkness. OREO. One of the greatest uses of social media to market a product: OREO posted the infamous tweet. It was quick, simple, and emerged at such an important time. Social media proved to me that it can support instantaneous marketing.

Then there are the heartwarming moments of crowdsourcing. “If we get a million likes, our parents will buy us a puppy.” These stories capture the hearts of users and humanize social media. Then, there is the negative side of other individuals using social media to state their goals of fundraising money, yet use the money for alternate uses or actually do not fundraise at all. We have all witnessed the “retweet this message and we will donate money” scam.

In conclusion, I do not think any event this semester has illustrated the growth of social media, including its best and worst moments, quite like the tragic events of the Boston Marathon. This is when social media began to “test the waters” strongly. In its best moments, we witnessed crowdsourcing to identify the suspects’ clothing items, we watched tributes to the victims, and we stayed informed with constant updates during a chaotic and frightening situation. Then we saw the horrific side to social media: the rumors, the false identifications, the graphic images, and the feeling of uneasiness not knowing if what you were reading was true or false. Personally, however, I feel like social media turned a page during that week. Social media brought everyone together. We always discuss the use of social media to build community and I cannot comprehend the feeling of community within Boston during the past month. Through the use of hashtags such as #BostonStrong, the Twitter-world helped many seek possible answers and comfort in knowing that everyone stood united.

So while social media may include checking to see the latest pictures on Facebook, social media expands well past that. Just within one semester, I have witnessed countless businesses test the waters and expand the uses of social media in more clever ways in order to further their business. When I wrote my blog in January, I would have never thought about the use of instantaneous advertising and the use of social media to help solve criminal investigations to the extent that I have already seen. Social media will continuously grow with time and the possibilities are endless, especially for businesses.

Thank you for a wonderful semester!


  1. leomi621 · ·

    I think that the Oreo tweet is possibly the finest example of what instantaneous marketing truly is. I also liked how you compare social media to a growing human being, and how it is still far from maturity but shows a lot of promise for the future. We all make mistakes growing up, but its still too early to tell if this teenager will do more harm than good, great post.

  2. Funny, I just read Ashley’s post and you two came away with very similar insights. I think it probably goes to show there’s something there. I agree that Oreo and the Boston Bombing were the most significant events this semester in terms of social media. I’ve enjoyed having you in the class and hope to see you around next year!

  3. I came to a very similar conclusion as you in my final reflection on #mi621. Social media has its ups and downs, and sometimes it is hard to say if one outweighs the other. We saw many great examples of how it can have a positive impact on businesses and individuals. I was pleased to see that my blog “A Puppy and the Power of Social Media” made it into a few final reflections. It is a great example of humanizing social media and uniting for a cause. We also saw the pitfalls of how social media can be misused and damaging, especially in the wake of the Boston Marathon Bombings. It is my hope that social media will outgrow its “teen” years and mature because it is an invaluable resource. And as you put it, the possibilities are endless. Nice final reflection!

  4. So funny reading your blog. As Prof Kane said, I drew upon many of the same examples as you did in this post. The value of social media is endless, but we both seemed to reach two conclusions. First, social media needs to be reactive and flexible, while at the same time relevant and timely. Secondly, social media has a fantastic humanizing factor that can be tapped to appeal to people’s emotions. Great blog!

  5. I agree with your conclusions. Before this class, I didn’t consider the business or world implications of social media as much as now. I mostly thought of it on the person to person level and checking photos on Facebook. I think the Oreo tweet was so significant because now we realize we are capable of this sort of instant advertising with businesses. I’m excited to see when something like that pops up again.

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