It’s safe to say that I learned more from this class than I ever expected to. I came into IS6621 with a few communications and social media internships under my belt, and I thought I had a decent understanding of the ways social media and business intertwined. But there’s so much more to social media than I knew.
So, in keeping with our presentation format, I decided to list my three biggest takeaways from this course:
- Social media isn’t just for external messaging; it relies and thrives on employee engagement as well. Social media has the potential to improve the corporate culture, to engage employees and this can transfer into positive external messaging as well. Also, social media within organizations can create new ideas and new innovations, linking together people that may not have worked together. But what’s important to note about social media and corporate culture is that first you must have a strong community; social media will enhance this community and culture, but if social media comes before the culture is strong enough, then it actually reduces ‘what little emotional capital was present.’
- Social media isn’t just Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. One of the things that I was struck by in the very first class is how expansive the definition of social media is. Defining social media as everything from email to the sharing economy of Airbnb really changed my understanding of social media as a concept. It also changed the way that I viewed some of the business objectives for organizations in social media.
- Strategy vs. procedure: One of the concepts that really resonated with me is that in order to have an effective social media presence, there has to be a strategy in place that reflects the business’s core mission and pursues key business objectives. While we’ve all grown up in the era of social media, and are usually among the first adopters of each new platform and technology, that does not mean that we instinctively understand social media as a business tactic, a fact I think that a lot of organizations overlook. There were so many social media opportunities that I learned about companies taking advantage of that I never could have imagined.
This course also really illustrated how social media has affected almost every industry, from fashion to sports to politics and everything in between. I loved reading the blog posts and listening to the presentations each week; everyone connected their passions to the world of social media. From launching possible careers in fashion to entertainers growing their fan base, to new apps and recruiting revolutions, it was interesting to see all the ways that social media has impacted our world.
What I love most about social media though, hasn’t changed throughout this course, it’s actually been strengthened by everything we’ve learned. Social media’s ability to connect people in all different ways, to create shared experiences or to keep up on others’ separate experiences is what makes social media so remarkable to me. While there are obvious negatives like trolling and cyberbullying, the power of social media to allow for innovation and advancements, for charity and crowdsourcing, is amazing. That companies can tap into the positives of social media to build their brand and achieve business objectives is something that’s also easier said than done, and I really admire the companies that have harnessed the power of social media—just establishing a presence on the different platforms isn’t enough.
To write my final reflection, I went back and watched one of our first Ted talks—Professor Kane’s “Social Media…You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet.” What stuck out to me after our semester of learning about social media was the line that social media is, above all else, an opportunity; an opportunity to ‘change the way we do things.’ After the past few months, one of the greatest takeaways I’ve had is that we’re still only really just beginning to tap into the world of social media, that it will continue to evolve and change and change the world as we know it too. I know that I’ll continue to watch this industry very carefully, because I believe Prof. Kane when he says when it comes to social media, we haven’t seen anything yet.