The End

Throughout the class we’ve learned about social media’s seemingly limitless capabilities and reach. Social media has grown from a simple space where people play on their virtual farms to an inseparable part of our daily lives.

This year alone, politicians are expected to spend upwards of $1 billion dollars online ads with social media sites accounting for $558M, or nearly 60 percent of that total. Terrorist group ISIS has built an effective online propaganda campaign fueled by mainstream social media platforms, growing its recruitment and spread its message to the masses. The CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has promised to donate 99% of his Facebook shares over time, valued at $45B . The global power of social media is undeniable and will continue to grow.

Already Facebook is making plans to increase its influence in developing areas by providing free WiFi via an army of solar powered drones. Facebook’s free WiFi strategy also includes the use of low-earth-orbit satellites and even infrared laser beams to boost Internet connections in remote areas. As this initiative known as Internet.org expands, social media giant Facebook will not only be compelled to form newer partnerships but also to invent newer technologies. One of Facebook’s main competitors, Google, has responded by acquiring Titan Aerospace, a company developing drones capable of flying non-stop on solar power for up to five years. Five years ago I would have never imagined that the same company that brought us Farmville would be competing with everybody’s favorite search engine over who can build the best fleet of flying robots.

Google vs facebook

Social media’s reach knows no bounds. It has been the focus of workplace issues for several companies while simultaneously being leveraged to improve workplace communication. A college student’s life has been forever changed because of his love and (drunken) passion for jalapeno bacon mac and cheese went viral throughout major social platforms [vid here]. NASA released the most detailed image of Pluto in the history of mankind on Instagram. Even as of writing this post, social media’s influence can be felt on Boston College’s campus. Several BC students have taken to Twitter to shame the Chipotle for being the root cause of the campus’s recent E. Coli outbreak, most notably affecting Boston College’s basketball team.

 

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Boston College athletics does a good enough job struggling without Chipotle’s help

 

Many of you have written about the adverse effects of social media and have decided to remove it entirely from your lives. There are several legitimate reasons for doing so. Studies have revealed that social media can cause anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Many of you have also discussed how social media has become more annoying than useful overtime, as your Newsfeed becomes littered with photos of babies, happy exes and regurgitated news articles. To those of you who feel this way, I strongly advocate you reconsider. After taking this course, I feel that there are far more pros than cons to using social media, and I anticipate that I’ll be using social media more than ever before. Using only this class as an example, we’ve seen how social media has been leveraged to grow professional networks, support businesses and promote crowdfunding campaigns. Like any tool, social media is contingent upon the user. Too many annoying posts of babies/exes? Block them. Feeling anxious over people’s happy post? Adjust your perspective of social media with the understanding that many use it to promote personal “highlight reels.” Not enough interesting content on your feed? Edit your Likes/Interest/Followed accounts. Social Network companies have spent loads of time and resources developing highly responsive algorithms to curate content specifically tailored to you. Give the system enough time and inputs and you’ll notice the difference.

It’s been a fantastic semester getting to know all of you. I hope all of you enjoy your breaks and have a Merry Christmas!

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7 comments

  1. Great post! I have to agree with you, there is a lot more pro than con in the world of social media. Social Media simply does put everything on the table. There really isn’t any thing that we can’t discover through some search on social. Bringing news/information to the forefront aids in reinforcing a free society. Happy Holiday’s to you.

  2. Thanks very much for sharing your reflection on the semester! I really liked the end of your blog post where you discuss those that might be considering departing from social media due to anxiety, depression, or other negative side effects. I definitely agree with you that there are a ton of benefits that these platforms offer their users, however I don’t think that people should remain active on social sites just because of this. I certainly think that some personality types and career paths lend themselves more or less to social media, but as much of a fan of social media as I am I think it is important to acknowledge that those operating outside of the trendsetters of social media aren’t necessarily behind the curve. People are different and want different things out of their communications.

  3. Thanks for sharing! Something that is so fascinating to me is the inescapability of social media. You talked about how many people from our class and in general do not engage actively in social media, and in fact, many outright speak against it. It’s seen as distracting, and unnecessary, forcing us to constantly stay plugged in online. But I believe this simply won’t be possible in the near future. It will not be a privilege to be plugged in online but necessary for our day-to-day lives, with social media rapidly expanding to work places and everywhere else we could possibly escape from it in the past!

  4. Your second paragraph speaks to the alarming power of social media and our reliance on social media to reach others and group, for better or for worse (as seen in ISIS’s use of social media.) However, I’m interested to see how social media and the law evolves in order to combat these types of issues. In addition, the whole Google vs. Facebook rivalry and the concept of free wifi everywhere, is really going to change how our world works in the future.
    For those that claim they are going to quit social media, you should remind them that based on what we learned, this would also include text messaging, emails, and the internet in general. Social media is integrated in everything we do, so really, no matter how badly you want to escape it, you won’t be able to. Based on your future predictions for social media, it sounds like falling behind this trend is highly undesirable.

  5. Awesome post. It’s interesting to think about everything that has happened on social media like you mention. SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED. From extremely important news to a kid getting arrested because he wanted a certain mac and cheese. The variety of content on social media is incredible and it’s power to be whatever the user wants it to be is nothing short of amazing as well. People create several identities and bully other people. People motivate people and raise money for charity. Social media’s power will grow forever and you make a great point about its potential.

  6. Love the closing cartoon! Good closing thoughts.

  7. ariellebudney · ·

    Nice post! I agree with you, I think the pros to social media definitely outweigh the bad. I think a lot of the negatives of social media stem from a misuse of the platforms. It’s a problem when a tool to facilitate free speech is used for bullying and shaming. After the norovirus outbreak at BC, Twitter users immediately started blaming the football team for eating a Chipotle in the first place, despite the fact that it affected the basketball team. Social media allows us to share our immediate reactions, which are sometimes not completely thought out and can come across as tone deaf. Businesses can be vulnerable to this; often things get posted before they are properly vetted, and can lead to serious backlash on social media if they are perceived as insensitive. Thanks for sharing!

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