1. Make Time and Look Beyond the Tools
Professor Kane had warned us from the start that this class would be intense, with a steady flow of work throughout the semester. As he explained the weekly assignments I felt the urge to jot a quick to-do list for the first time in a few months. And so I did. Understanding the class requirements, I wondered if I had enough time to commit fully to this course.
I spoke with another MBA student upon departing our first class, and she commented that she couldn’t imagine herself needing to know how to write blogs, or use Twitter at her job, and concluded she’d be dropping the course.
Fortunately for me, I was wrong. I found the time. Unfortunately, my fellow MBA peer was wrong as well. It’s not just about the tools.
Yes, there was continuous work throughout the semester. Yet, the workload never seemed burdensome or tiring. It was easy to do more than what was expected because as Clay Shirky wrote in “Gin, Television and Cognitive Surplus”:
We have always found the time to do things that interest us, specifically because they interest us. The invention and spread of public media that enable ordinary citizens to pool that free time in pursuit of activities they like or care about.
Additionally, while we may not be using Twitter or WordPress in our future jobs, I learned:
The strength of technologies – social, mobile, analytics, and cloud – doesn’t lie in the technologies individually. Instead it stems from how companies integrate them to transform their businesses and how they work
As future business leaders, the use of social technology is much less determined by the tools, but rather the important asset users receive. Internal social media isn’t just about the software. We must look at the role customers want any technology to play. In this course, these tools provided the access to learn from one another on a deeper level, beyond the classroom setting.
2. Constantly Reflect and “Think Outside the [Penalty] Box”
I am leaving this class more observant and aware of social trends. Throughout the semester I would go for runs outside or sit on the T and observe how people were engaging on social media and using digital tools. The MIT Sloan Review article about how the NHL leveraged Pinterest encouraged me to think how users were leveraging social media in areas or ways I least expected.
I began to notice the nuanced ways individuals and different generations use social media. I spoke with my 87-year old grandfather on why he loves Facebook, he explained: “I like keeping up with the activities of my family. It makes me feel young.” For my mother: “I enjoy looking at all the pictures.”
I learned how furniture companies like SteelCase and financial service institutions like State Street are also leveraging the power of social. I learned that email is definitely a form of social media and grappled with “how email is killing us” and what messaging tools should be used in corporate settings today. I learned from @ProfessorChang how some companies like Yelp and Trip Advisor tread a fine line when it comes to social media and public defamation.
I realize that social media is everywhere, and that we must look outside the box to understand the role it plays.
3. Download Periscope
@MelissaBeecher described Periscope as “unfiltered, raw journalism.” It was in that moment I learned how important it is to stay relevant and not be afraid to adopt new technologies. Periscope offers an entirely new way to connect and see the world. Her reflections on viewing the tragic events in Paris unfold on Periscope were captivating and powerful. While I may not like or use all the new social tools, I must not be hesitant to adopt to the ever-changing landscape.
4. Social Media Does Not Make Me Lonely
Social media does in fact allow us to maintain and build new connections. We are not lonely. Not only did I learn from my peers daily, but I also feel as if I could in fact have “small talk” and build on these connections in the physical world. @TaylorCKenyon enjoys being active and values exercise. @ is informed about world news. @ I’m sure will continue to follow his interest in Virtual Reality.@ likes technology and kept me updated on Facebook’s new features.@ is definitely an artist and probably can help me learn Photoshop.
I also learned that social media breaks down the “buyer to consumer boundary” and truly can build a “brand relationship.” My journey with sweetgreen on social media allowed me to connect with their social media lead, Erin Kim. The next time I am in New York I may just take her up on her offer:
i’d love to see what kind of work you do so stay in touch, and if i am in ever boston, i’d love to say hi – let me know if you’re ever in nyc!
As Nicholas Chistakis explained in his Ted Talk, “social networks are a vast fabric of humanity” and I could not agree more.
5. I am not overwhelmed
I logged into Twitter for the first time in 3 years after our first class back in September. I had been “while you were away” longer than the Twitter feed could even recognize. I fumbled trying to make sense of the new tools, features and inundation of content. I left that experience on Twitter overwhelmed and stressed. I even blogged about it.
But as the semester progressed, I learned to love Twitter. I feel more informed on world news, national events, and industry trends than I have been in awhile. The access to information is truly far-reaching. I had read earlier in the semester about the role of Twitter during the Boston Bombings and how people connected and collaborated using social media. I too witnessed the power of the crowd during the #ParisAttacks and saw “crowds of disconnected strangers organize and execute.” I plan to continue using Twitter after this class and I thank ISYS6621 for helping me ease back into using this social media platform.
Yes, the other MBA student who chose to drop this class back in September was right, I wont have to write a blog when I return to my job at Bank of America next summer. However, my experience and takeaways from this class will certainly be long-lasting. Thank you @profkane and #IS6621 for a great semester!