Wow. I can’t believe how quick this class and semester have passed. It feels like yesterday when I wrote my first blog post, listened to fellow classmates’ first presentations, and made my first (and forever classic) #IS6621 Z tweet.
Throughout this semester, I have been amazed at how much I have learned. Without an actual education on how diverse this topic truly is, many people only think of platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as “social media”. Through Professor Kane’s expertise, I have come to realize the countless areas that social media permeates – from customer service to social justice and from fashion to corporate business. It is truly amazing the power this constantly developing tool has on our society.
As I reflect to write my final blog post for #IS6621, I can’t help but finish with the topic that has guided my class presentation and previous posts: pop culture. Why always this topic? I have come to realize that as a sophomore undergrad, my business mind is still developing. I am still working on my core requirements, still discovering my interests, and am learning the basics of what business truly is. Therefore, I realize that everyone in this class is on their own business journey – relating social media to a variety of topics that are important to them. I think that this is the strong suit of this course – seeing different perspectives on social media from people of different educational and career levels.
Thinking about pop culture and its use of social media after this course, I have reached a dilemma. Do the benefits and connections social media provide outweigh the misrepresentation and negativity that also come with it?
Benefits and Connections
Social media has so many benefits to help the everyday person to the top global corporations. One thing I have learned this semester is how important social media is in building a brand – for any SM consumer. JetBlue is one of those companies. (How could I write my last #IS6621 blog without mention JetBlue?) It is amazing how they used social media to create a voice, a positive company-to-customer relationship, and overall brand – especially through Twitter. Just like how we’ve see with examples from many of our classmates, JetBlue makes a personalize effort to connect with their customers. This by far is one of the best efforts I have seen this semester by a corporation. It effectively shows that social media can be used to grow a business (and quite quickly).
Like I mentioned in my first post, social media has the ability to create and maintain connections. After a mission trip to Ecuador, I was able to stay in contact with a 7-year-old boy named Adrian. While I am not a Spanish speaker, social media has allowed me to communicate through effective translation tools. As we have seen, companies are able to do this, but in a different capacity. Through online, social ads, they are able to effectively track impressions, clicks, and even know when purchases have been made. Also, internal social platforms have helped to increase productivity and communication within company walls. While most of these are not relationships filled with love, they are connections that help develop a strong consumer base and internal work relationships for these businesses around the globe.
Misrepresentation and Negativity
On the other hand, I have seen many examples of how social media has been a negative force in the world. Over the past year, riots and protests for race relations have been a hot media topic. First seen with Ferguson and now with Baltimore, media coverage has overwhelmingly been about the violence and negative actions that occur. While these are important to broadcast, the do not tell the whole story. In each of these locations, hundreds of people take place in peaceful protest – however these actions are often lost in the actions of the few who become violent.
When we see these stories, many people feel the need to share it with their online friends. With the accessibility of social media, this has become fairly easy to do. Sometimes too easy. In an article by Wired, author Anthony De Rosa states:
“It’s very alluring to want to take a piece of seemingly newsworthy information and instantly share it. If you’re not a journalist, you’ve got less at stake to toss it back out there without concern for your reputation to take a hit. But sending misinformation out into the world can be harmful no matter how many followers you have. The more people who retweet a false fact, the harder it is to debunk and get to the truth.”
It is the ease in which these negative (and often incorrect) stories can emerge which is the problem.
Turkel’s TED talk “Connected, but Alone?” also proves how social media can be a negative force. I’d just like to mention one thing she said. “We sacrifice conversation for mere connection.” Just think about that for a second. It is so true. We are able to control our reality and with a simple swipe, we can get lost in another world. Social media may make things easy, but if we lose sight of ourselves and the physical world around us, the internet may take us to a place we don’t see coming.
As I reach the end of this post, I still don’t know where my head is at. It is impossible for me not to see the limitless potential of social media. However, I believe it can become too powerful of a force – at least in personal use. While I may begin to limit the amount of social media I consume personally, I believe it will only become more of a business weapon. I can’t wait to see where social media can take us – in the world of marketing and beyond.