Semester Learnings and Life After ISYS6621

Last week, I introduced 4 key reasons why I have avoided social media up to this point, so to summarize for those who read other blogs:

  • I did not feel I would add value to social media conversations
  • I did not feel that social media would add value to my knowledge/life
  • I blamed social media for electronic dependence so I boycotted in protest
  • I was simply afraid of trying to learn and keep up with all of the new platforms

Looking back on this semester, it is nice to see how much my perceptions have changed with this list. Right away, my apprehensions from reason #4 were erased, as we were thrown right into the mix on Twitter and blogging and I had no time to be afraid. I can’t say that I am an expert at using either auroraplatform, but I certainly learned a lot about social dos and don’ts. For example, pictures mean everything on these platforms as the gatekeeper to gathering an audience. Post a plain picture and you will be passed, but post something funny or awe-inspiring and you have people for at least a few sentences after they click through. I also discovered that you will always have one friend who stays up-to-date with applications, so you can always lean on them to learn the basics. Reason #4 was low-hanging fruit, though, so what about some of my more experiential deterrents?

Well, after being a part of #IS6621 for the semester, I can truly say that reason #2, social media adding no value to my life, is a myth that has been busted. The conversations that I have been a part of on Twitter have been not only enjoyable, but educational as well. Yes, we spent class time discussing red cups and stars vs. hearts, so some of my disbelief is still there. However, I also would never have known about ghost apps or about private mode on Venmo without being actively involved in the social media discussions. I also wouldn’t be aware of how fast companies are willing to help people via social platforms. I would still shamefully be the person calling the 800 number to get my phone bill fixed as opposed to tweeting out a simple message to Verizon and having them answer back within minutes.

Along these lines, I also reversed reason #1 and found my own voice on social media. I’m not going to be the person who inundates your news feed with new posts every 10 minutes, but I feel comfortable engaging in specific conversations where I know I can add an educated opinion. Through blogging, I found a vehicle where I can continue my style of writing without restrictions on what I have to say. Maybe I won’t blog social media strategy memeevery week, but I now know WordPress is a great way for me to organize my perspective and share it in a hopefully creative way. One of the most valuable things I have learned is that, as a future brand manager, I should not necessarily push my brand to be on every platform if it doesn’t make sense with what I am trying to accomplish. It taught me to think strategy first and then to find the right medium to support that goal.

And finally I come to reason #3, our dreaded dependence on our smartphones. One day I was walking to school and I decided to check up on Twitter to see if anyone had posted anything interesting. I was reading a classmate’s article, crossing a street, when I almost walked directly into a girl who was also deeply engrossed in her phone. The near collision made me realize I was turning into the thing I feared. So, I confess that this reason to avoid social media is still alive and well in me. However, I have come to realize that there is a place and a time to use it, like when I used Skype to talk to my girlfriend in CT or to catch up on news when I wake up in the morning. And ultimately, we as individuals are responsible for choosing appropriate times to bury our heads into our phones. Thus, my fight against electronic dependence will continue, but I will hold people accountable for their absenteeism and not shun social media in protest.

Eight months ago, I made the decision to take Social Media for Managers because I wanted to be a good brand manager and to know what modern tools to use to reach consumers. I leave the class feeling comfortable with my role within social media and with a greater appreciation for the positives it can bring to people. The class may now be ending, but it has opened a new perspective for me to carry as I go back out into the working world next year. Now, leave me alone so I can go try a new Chicken Alfredo Tasty recipe I saw on Facebook.

Tasty

10 comments

  1. Matt – I enjoyed reading how you addressed/came to terms with your initial reasons for avoiding social media. In addressing #2, you mentioned learning about Private Mode on Venmo and the rise of ghost apps. These examples are particularly interesting because both were pieces of information you learned outside the class from your peers. I think this point alone highlights an enormous advantage to the ISYS6621 class – we often learned more outside the class, and then used our Thursday night sessions to recap and apply meaning. Your story about almost walking into a girl while checking social media is definitely relatable. I felt as if I was on my phone more this semester but justified that it was for class. I think it will be important for all of us to do as you have said, remember not to become the person you fear. We must be mindful of how and when we use the all-encompassing world of social media.

    also, let me know how the Alfredo recipe is!

  2. This is a great post! Although I missed your post last week, I have to admit that all the four reasons making you keep away from social media before this class also makes great sense to me. I ever doubted the capacity of social media to either add value to me or offer an opportunity for me to add value to others. But at the end of this semester, I really learn a lot from Pro.kane and all my classmates not only in class but also via a variety of social platforms. On the other side, I was really enjoy sharing my knowledge and thoughts to others on certain issues and receiving honest feedbacks. Social media makes me become more open-minded and get ready to learn something new anytime! This class is really beyond the limitation of time and the boundary of geography, and takes place anytime and anyplace. Now I feel that I’m actively seeking for meaningful filtered knowledge instead of getting stressed by overwhelmed information.
    Just like you, I’m still keeping an eye on controlling the time and efforts spent on social media to avoid oversharing or addition. I agree that it always makes sense because I was ever addicted to social platforms and couldn’t help checking my news feed on them once a hour. That seriously distracted me from my normal life and made me eventually decide to withdraw from those platforms. Fortunately, this class makes me not go too extreme and helps me keep the balance between getting isolated and abusing social media. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Matt I was really eager to read your blog post about your final thoughts on social media. Us being really different: I love social media, and you know I can’t get away from my phone even for 5 minutes, and you being really judgy of me and making fun of my obsession with snapchat and my phone in general. So, first it is nice to see that you enjoyed the class, and that your feelings of social media are changing slowly to the positive side of it. I feel this class has also made me understand your point of view about the dependence of phones and how it destroys social interaction and how rude and unsafe (I like your walking into the girl story) it can be. I also share your opinion about learning valuable things in this class, as both of your examples in your blog. I think another thing that was interesting was the fact the we have the opportunity to read other peoples blogs, and find new and amazing insights about topics that we normally wouldn’t even read about (you know that the snapchat update with the filters is the best thing ever hahaha).
    As both, students seeking to be brand managers, I think we have to embrace that social media is here to stay, and realize that consumers want to engaged with their favorite brands, and in the future (hopefully) we are going to be the ones making the great decisions about how to create this types of connections for our consumers. So I am happy that your social media point of view is slowly changing to the positive side.

  4. Great thoughts! I’m glad your view on social media changed over the semester. I definitely agree with the advice to lean on an up-to-date friend. Peers are a great resource to develop social media skills and see strategies that grab attention and engage followers/friends. I definitely understand your second reason why you stayed away from social media. Over the semester, I started to appreciate the value of social media. Although it can be ridiculous at times (Starbucks cup debates, I’m looking at you) there are many ways to use social media to engage with others and learn about new trends and applications.

    As far as developing your own voice on social media, I think quality is more important than quantity. Inundating Facebook/Instagram/Twitter with thoughtless posts is simply annoying. A well-developed post that is thought-provoking goes a long way. I’ve also found myself nearly running into someone else when I get distracted on my phone. It’s always a moment that makes me rethink my choices. The balance between staying up-to-date and staying present is always hard to find.

    Enjoy the alfredo!

  5. It’s great to see that this class has altered your opinion on social media; I think that’s the desired result in any thought-provoking college course. I want to respond briefly to two of your main points. First off, I think many people share your fear of trying out new technologies but, as you’ve learned, they really can add value to our lives. One of the best ways this is seen is through improved customer service from companies like JetBlue and Chipotle. Secondly, I was just as concerned as you that I didn’t have anything valuable to add to the social media conversation, but I’ve learned that these platforms allow me to reach a wider audience who may be very interested in what I have to say. About a month ago, I decided to publish my first #IS6621 blog post on LinkedIn. To my great surprise, the post received over 1,000 views, 400 likes and 70 shares. Who would have thought that a 21-year-old could have such an impact on the business world?! I feel extremely lucky to have these tools at my disposal as a begin my career because, when used correctly, they can help us perform to our full potential.

  6. Great post Matt! I read your last post too and I think you did a great job of bringing this full circle and linking everything back to our learning from the #IS6621 class. In your last blog, I commented that I shared almost all of your apprehensions with social media and we were pretty much on the same page with the use of social media in our daily lives. This is not to say that I didn’t have the apps on my phone. I do, but my relation with them is passive at best. I completely agree that this class has made me warm up to a lot of tools that are available to us to make us of in professional settings. I’m not a 100% sure that I will continue to use all the tools for my personal network and might return to passive mode again, but I appreciate that if need be I can use these tools in a much better way than I would have without this class. #snacktimewillbemissed

  7. Your post touches upon so many I felt over the semester as well. I think I relate the most with myth #2! I too believed that SM added no value to my life and I was overly dependent and had an irrational desire for wanting people to like my Instagram post . well we were definitely proved wrong throughout out the course as we were shown countless times how SM can add value to both your lives and create change for meaningful (and not so meaningful- SB red cups) causes. It is playing an active role in our lives and therefore has to add value. Great Post Matt!

  8. Much like Puneet said above, when I started ISYS6621, I shared an identical list of concerns that you listed above. And, much like you, I’ve alleviated all of those concerns with the exception of our society’s dependence to smartphones (I regularly tell my fiancé to put down her phone!) The one takeaway you mentioned that I connected with the most is that, from a brand perspective, just because a new social media platform exists, doesn’t mean that it’s a must for your brand. It’s a significant investment for any brand to launch a new social network. Involvement in a wide breadth of social networks at a very shallow level is an inferior tactic to a deep involvement in several platforms. If you go deep and provide sound content users will stay, but if you’re caught doing too little across too many networks they’ll be on to the next thing.

  9. Really nice post. I do confess that I also wrestle with the digital dependence thing. I can say that there is a bit of a novelty factor associated with them, though. I get very engrossed in a new platform then say “OK I figured that out, it was fun but time to move on.” Ironically, by staying up on new platforms, I manage not to get sucked too deeply into any one of them.

  10. Thanks for the re-cap at the beginning, Matt, it was very helpful. It’s really great to learn that you intend to keep blogging in some capacity, best of luck with that and your next semester!

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