A Personal Reflection: Life, Knowledge, and Social Media

“I am going to work in sales next year for Oracle Corporation, where I will be doing inside sales for the first year and hopefully working my way up after that. I know my primary forms of contacting a potential Oracle customer will be by phone and email, but I want an edge. I want to use social media as a major way to contact potential customers, introducing them to products that will help better their businesses. Knowing what to look for on Twitter and blogs will certainly help me. I am really hoping this class gives me a solid understanding of not only how businesses use social media, but how I might be able to use it next year as well. I think a whole semester of new information and insights from not only the classroom but also my classmates’ twitter and blog posts will greatly help with this!”

This was my closing paragraph about my wishes, and my expectations for ISYS6621 in the opening weeks of class. I can sincerely say that “Social Media for Managers” has been one of the most unique and enjoyable classes that I have taken in my four years at Boston College. Social media is continuing to become an increasingly more important part of individuals’ lives, thankfully, all around the world, and we have seen massive changes in just our four months in this class.

Blogs:

Personally, blog posts were the most rewarding part of class. I went through so much personal reflection, experienced so many episodes of much-needed nostalgia. My favorite post that I wrote during the semester was my blog titled “The Sandlot Theory.” This post, through my exploration of personal thoughts and beliefs about the changing habits of America’s youth, I was able to relive my childhood, and share captivating stories with my father and my uncle. I really do hope we can bring back sandlot baseball! I think everyone, myself included, could use a little less time on my cellphone, Facebook, and Instagram, and a little more time hanging outside or doing activities with friends.

Blog posts gave me the opportunity to learn about subject matter that I knew nothing about. My favorite post of the semester was written by Professor James Gips titled, “Camera Mouse and Social Media? Suggestions Most Welcome.” Professor Gibbs was looking for suggestions on how to promote the camera mouse, a product he designed to help those with severe disabilities use computers and have access to the Internet. A simple increase in promotion through social media will allow hopefully thousands of individuals gain access to man’s greatest invention.

As I look back through my blog posts, the topics and the style of writing, there is a huge improvement in the quality related to the topic and the analysis. I think it comes from not only an increase in knowledge on the subject matter throughout the semester, but also an increase in the willingness to open up and share my true thoughts and feelings with my classmates. My final post, exploring Bruce Jenner’s interview in which he revealed his desire to live his life as a woman, allowed me to focus on a topic that I was uncomfortable with and did not know much about, but also to examine where my views on the subject matter came from and my ability to change. This, for me, was pretty special.

Twitter & Class Readings:

Twitter and the class readings gave me an opportunity to explore subjects surrounding social media that I would not have otherwise thought to investigate. Trough Twitter, I was “forced” to find new topics in the form of articles, and news on social media in the business world. I put the word forced in quotations because what started as a mandatory small assignment every week quickly became enjoyable and I learned an incredible amount of new information. My favorite website to share information from was techcrunch.com. Everything was so current and interesting. Twitter also gave my classmates and myself the opportunity to promote our blog posts as well.

My favorite form of class assignment was the different TED talks that we were asked to watch. I find that with my personal ability to retain information, I get much more out of a 20 minute talk/video than I do out of an article. My favorite TED talk was Dan Pink’s 2009 talk titled, “The Puzzle of Motivation.” I have found that my personal success in school, high school sports, and past jobs and internships has come from motivation within myself as well as the unrelenting support and motivation of those I have surrounded myself. Dan Pink discussed how contingent motivators, those that state, “If you do this, then you get that…” only work for certain things and often do not work at all or can do harm. The business operating system is built entirely around extrinsic motivators, the “if/then” system, but it really only works for tasks with simple rules and a clear destination. White collar jobs, like the technology sales field I will be going into next year, requires more right-brain thinking, requires creativity, and extrinsic motivators no longer work. These jobs require “intrinsic motivation” – ‘the desire to do things because they matter, they are interesting, they are part of something important (Pink TED Talk).’

Before watching this video on motivation in the business setting, I knew there were extraordinary sources of motivation in my life, from within and my surroundings, but I never quite knew why I was motivated, what made my clock tick. After watching Pink’s talk, reflecting on it, and watching it again, I realize that the small pieces of success I have achieved in my green, raw, and somewhat naïve 22 years have been the direct result of intrinsic motivation. I have not chased the grade, I have not chased the money with internships, but I have chased the desire for the improvement of my self as a being and those that I have worked along side. Knowing this now as I head on to the next chapter of my life, in a business world where I hope to be leading, motivating, and inspiring those that work with me and for me, I will remember to pay close attention to the motivation that my team needs and responds to in order to better themselves and the company.

Individual Presentation:

I chose to give my individual presentation on a topic that I knew nothing about; I spoke about the use of the mobile platform in sub-Saharan Africa and the affects and improvements that it had and still has on the communities and economies in that region. I feel like I can have a genuine conversation with experts on the matter now, and am glad I chose this topic. It allowed me to open my mind past the small world I sometimes allow myself to live in. Each presentation from class gave insight into some subjects that I was familiar with but did not know a great deal about, or new topics that I had never heard of, like Twitch.TV and WIGO.

Final Thoughts:  

I feel blessed to have been surrounded by such an energetic and hard working group of classmates. I learned more from my peers in this class than any other course that I have taken. It really was “social” after all. I come away nowhere near an expert on business and social media, but with a better understanding of what to do and what not to do in the workplace involving the subject. I think I have hit my goals that I formed heading into the class. I believe I can use this knowledge gained to not necessarily contact potential customers at Oracle, but to have an uncanny sense of what is going on around me in Silicon Valley and beyond by using the tools of vast information from the different platforms we have explored. To Prof. Kane and my fellow classmates – THANK YOU!

2 comments

  1. Awesome post! Seems like you really took advantage of this class and came into with a great attitude. I couldn’t agree more with your feelings on our fellow classmates. We really had a great group of people that all contributed in so many different ways, yourself included. I remember your presentation vividly and it was one of the one’s that I used as an example to help me create my own. I think you’ll have a clear edge going into your work at Oracle with the knowledge you have now, especially with your understanding of when and when not to use it as demonstrated by your Sandlot theory. Thanks for the very open look into your thoughts and memories throughout the semester and good luck next year.

  2. Great reflection. I also love your “Sand Theory” blog a lot (just to make you feel even better, i voted it the best blog that week :)
    Anyway, I think we are fortunate to be in this class and learn so much about SM and the social matters all over the places. That will definitely help you stand out in your profession after grad at Oracle. Good luck

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