If there is one takeaway from the class, it is that I have a very different and positive new perspective on what Social Media means from a personal and business context, versus the stereotype I and many others probably had prior. I’m sure Prof Kane will love hearing that!
Like most of us probably did, I went back and read my first post to see the initial thoughts, and it is interesting how some of my holdups and pauses were more stubbornness of technology narrow mindedness, saying I don’t have enough time, or X or Y app isn’t important enough to go to even if I have the time, etc…and yes, while that has mostly not changed, I do have an appreciation for Social Media’s place in this world.
I mean I freakin created a Facebook and Instagram account for a dog, and I don’t even have a personal Instagram account! I read up on more technology, sports stories, and political news in the last 3 months than probably the last year combined, and I don’t even consider myself a hermit in the least. But this course, to hearken back to the first sentence, shows the speed at which news is being disseminated across all channels and you have to understand that impact. There is certainly something to be said for at least keeping pace with it, if you aren’t able to get out ahead of it…because you certainly don’t want to fall behind it.
So no, I’m not saying we all need to create Vine, Slack, permanent Twitter, Instagram, etc accounts, but we do need to appreciate their power and influence. Back to that darn dog, the power of social media has opened up my puppy to folks outside Boston who never even knew I got one. And then want to follow and be friends with her which is pretty neat as another way to keep in touch with people outside my immediate, local circle. And pictures speak a thousand words, and as we’ve learned, people don’t even like using words and talking on “sarcastically speaking” generationally-obsolete devices like telephones or letters – I still remember the pen pal days! As the barrage of Ted Talks seemed to hammer home, many fear the interactive and personal and prefer to hide behind a screen and type, edit, and retype, if they even do that. The amount of time it takes me to post an Instagram picture of a dog with a corny tagline is less than it was to write this sentence! And then hey, if it isn’t well received or “liked” enough, I don’t have to get depressed because the dog avatar wrote it, not me.
So what is all this ramble getting me to? It is that Social Media is what you make of it. It is what you want it to be for you and how you want it to enhance your life. Whether that is to keep connections with friends far and wide or whether it is to make shopping easier, to each their own. But also, how even if you aren’t big on Social Media, that it can still make an impact, personally and professionally. And how others can put things up good or bad that may impact you without you even knowing.
From a business perspective, we have certainly seen its implications, impact, and ramifications. The individual projects classmates presented clearly showed that, e.g. through the fashion marketing campaigns. My presentation on activist investors shaking stocks and markets on a tweet clearly showed that. An NFL draft member getting a bong photo illegally posted clearly showed that. Social Media is so vitally important moving forward if for nothing else to be aware of for reputation and identity safety.
Final story, which I will never forget. I remember asking my CEO about 2 years ago if we could have a company LinkedIn page. He literally laughed at me and said why would we use something so petty like that. I didn’t even ask my follow-up and end-game question on adopting Twitter or Facebook and sheepishly walked back to my desk like I personally offended his family. A few weeks later, after a lengthy discussion on the merits of Social Media, coming from a guy who attests to not be literate in this world, the boss budged on LinkedIn because it “relates to business” (with about 50 “buts”, caveats, and North Korean style privacy barricades put up), and said everything else is pointless, useless, and has no place. He had no interest in seeing the research and statistics and concluded: how could a centuries old, brick and mortar business of investment management ever need these fancy, superficial, millennial creations that in his mind just wastes time, energy and has a cost of compliance. Well, illiterate Andrew back then even knew that was wrong, and semi-literate Andrew at the conclusion of this class definitely knows that is wrong. Whether he likes it or not, passively, directly, or indirectly, his business and all industries of the world are going to be dramatically changed by Social Media in the years to come. So buckle up….