Before taking this class my use of social media was dwindling. Besides Instagram, I rarely used any other form of SM regardless of the purpose. This class not only reinvigorated my use of social media, but it allowed me to look at SM from a totally different perspective. Reflecting back on my post regarding initial thoughts on social media, I examined the positives and negatives of social media from a purely personal standpoint. I mostly discussed how social media serve mostly as a distraction, pulling me away from fully engaging with my surroundings. I went into this class hoping to have my perspective changed, and Professor Kane and #IS6621 did not disappoint.
I began to notice how fast social media changes and adapts to the needs of the users. Even during the small duration of this class, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all underwent some sort of transformation. Whether these innovations were new types of filters for Snapchat or a the addition of the Twitter heart, social media never remains static. I also realized how dramatically we react to even insignificant changes of social media. For whatever reason, changing the Twitter favorite feature or the timeline for Facebook hits home for a lot of people. I think people react so simnifically to these relative insignificant changes because SM has become such an integral part of our lives. Because most people are checking their Facebook timeline multiple times a day, or even multiple times an hour, any change disrupts their routine. I am sure that if I was to sit in on this class a few years from almost every aspect of the class would be different in some way.
While we learned about big data, I began to fully realize how much information I am giving sites like Facebook. In one of the Ted Talks we watch, a lady who worked at Facebook said something that I found particularly interesting. In summary she said we [Facebook] probably know more about you than you know about yourself. Because so much of our life works through Facebook, they are able to essential piece together our personality. By looking our friends, our likes and dislikes, and other information, they know the personalities of about 1 billion users.
I found it interesting that so many people find it easier to communicate and interact via social media. Even looking at our class, I find that a lot of the interactions fellow students have on social media trumps discussions in a lot of my other class. Quoting Professor Kane, social media allows us to move past the small talk that often inhibits our initial reactions with fellow students. By getting to “know” each other through Twitter and Blog posts, we are able to have deeper and more in depth conversations in class. In my freshmen year Portico class, part of the grade required us to tweet out every week, but did not include responses to fellow students. I found that in this case social media did a significantly worse job in fostering the in-class discussion because it lacked the interaction factor. In a lot of article and interviews we read, companies were trying to create company interaction via different social media outlets. While it worked in some cases, the conversation must be organic for the interaction to have any real impact.
It was incredibly interesting to witness the role social media played amidst the Paris attack. These attacks were horrific and caused an incredible amount of damage, social media helped create a sense of community around the world. It was interesting to hear Professor Kane talk about the role social media played amidst the Boston bombing, and see that while the platforms might have varied, the theme of support and unity stayed the same.
In more recent news, it has been interesting to watch the BC Norovirus saga unfold through social media the past few days. While it started with a news article about our sick basketball team, BC students have been trending on Facebook the past few days. I have been amazed by how many people saw this news and connected with me. Social media does such an amazing job connecting our world, whether that means communicating in a classroom or across the world. I hope everyone is able to survive finals as well as the BC plague. Thank you to everyone for a great semester.