As #IS6621 and my time as an undergrad come to their storied close, looking back makes the beginning feel like just yesterday and also approximately 30 years ago. Despite the fact that I titled my blog post on opening thoughts ‘Beginnings,’ I felt it would be rather distressing to name this one ‘Endings.’
If there’s anything you definitively never stop learning about, it’s social media. Opt in or opt out, the digital age is irreversibly intertwined with the way we live our lives. In re-reading that first blog post, I interestingly don’t feel my opinions have really changed. I’m still averse to how entrenched smartphones have become, and I’m still overly vigilant about my use of social media. The difference now is that I have a colored perspective. I’ve considered social media’s dark side, its legal side, and its intelligent side, and I’ve learned to think critically about its impacts in and outside of business.
As I consider myself just a few short months ago, these are the things I’d want to tell that brand new IS6621-er.
1. One semester is, in fact, not an eternity. One thing I wish I had begun to do earlier was keep a running list of blog topic and presentation ideas. Too many times (well, I guess only like 3 out of 5), I sat down to write aka wait for inspiration to tap me on the shoulder.
I realize that “don’t procrastinate” is not the most profound thing I’ve ever said, but I will say that I overestimated the number of actual blog posts I’d have to write. After I started actively taking note of concepts I found interesting and worth digging into for a blog post, I realized there were some way more interesting things that I only wish I had thought to write about.
2. Not all content is created equal. As a considerably inexperienced Twitter user– I had an account for MI021 and one my friends made for me (and tweeted from for me…)– I definitely wasn’t sold on Twitter up until a few weeks in. It also took me some time to realize that for some tweets, the gold is in the tweet, and for others, the gold is in the linked article. The lesson for me here was that some articles were linked as the endpoint; others were linked as a reference. This didn’t really matter when I was reading them, but when writing them, I realized it was important to know how to use 140 characters to either share a thought and the best nugget of information or to motivate people to click the link and read the article. The difference can be a fine line.
3. Nobody knows nothing. Something I absolutely never considered prior to IS6621 is tech discrimination. In fact, this #IS6621 tweet is what initially brought it to my attention. So many times, I’ve instinctively believed that people my parents’ age and beyond can’t possibly have anything to offer to my knowledge of the digital age. Even still today, I often find myself more surprised than I should be when someone older than me (other than Professor Kane) has something to teach me about social media and the digital world. Having talked about and observed our younger siblings and the new generation of social media masters, I’m beginning to understand how my parents feel, and have a renewed appreciation for social media users of all ages.
All said and done, I’m glad I don’t have a laundry list of course concepts that I learned in IS6621. I’ve found the best classes I’ve taken to be the ones that have compelled me to think critically, challenge my own thoughts and values, and sometimes turn them on their head. The value is simply in just taking and participating in the class, and the best part is that there’s always stuff to talk about, there are always different ways to look at something, and of course, there are always snacks.