What’s most interesting about this course is that you can never be a complete master of it, but that’s completely okay. Social and digital business is always changing and there will always be more to learn. We may be leaving the class, but we will still be immersed everyday in everything we have been discussing. From discussing personal implications for our own accounts, to analyzing how companies are leveraging digital tools, it is obvious that this conversation continues beyond this course.
I enjoyed how our readings each week focused on a unique topic related to social and digital business.Here are my favorite topics we discussed and my key takeaways from this semester.
1) The Sharing Economy
The sharing economy has grown rapidly over the past few years with the introduction of so many new services, so I am interested in how it will change our future even more. Even established companies like Patagonia, Lego, and Pepsi are starting to implement new business models based on the sharing economy that include consumers. Since producers and consumers can connect easily with social media, it makes sense that more and more companies are participating and putting more emphasis on this collaborative economy. It’s interesting that this sharing economy is possibly making us more trusting, as we are willing to take rides with strangers using Uber Pool, and willing to rent our apartments or houses on Airbnb to people we have never met before.
One last piece of news: Small businesses and mom-and-pop shops on Shopify can now offer same day delivery via Postmates. Shipping and delivery costs can be high for small businesses, making it difficult to compete with large retailers. One of Postmates’ 25,000 couriers nationwide picks up the package from the merchant and delivers it to the customer within the same day. The on-demand market is growing and services like Postmates benefits all parties in the process.
2) Managing Virality
Throughout this semester we have seen many recent instances of viral videos, a marketer’s dream. Between The Running Man challenge, Ted Cruz’s awkward farewell campaign video (embedded below if you haven’t seen it yet), and the obvious Damn Daniel, social media proves to be excellent at spreading content rapidly. We have also seen instances of things going viral in a negative way, such as a tweet that gets misinterpreted and results in attacking the person who posted the tweet. This class has made me realize the power of sharing and how challenging it is to determine both how and why content goes viral.
One last piece of news: Thanks to the power of the Internet, a bride-to-be who’s wedding dress was destroyed from a raging wildfire in Canada received a wedding dress from strangers. Her story went viral on Facebook and within hours she received hundreds of offers from strangers to loan or donate their used wedding dresses.
3) Legal Issues
Our class discussing legal issues regarding social media and digital content opened my eyes to a new side of social media I had not thought much about before. Since digital is changing constantly, It’s interesting that laws are still being developed and many cases are unique. We’ve discussed lawsuits related to content that users have posted on Platforms like Yelp, but also social media platforms themselves also face legal issues. Snapchat’s recent lawsuit involved a teenager who sued Snapchat accusing the platform’s speed feature caused her to crash. I predict that these issues will only increase in number as digital becomes more significant in our lives.
One last piece of news: A couple in Dallas could be sued up to $1 million for writing a one-star review about Prestigious Pets in Dallas. Yelp is now warning consumers if a business has threatened or taken legal action against a Yelp reviewer by displaying a special alert box on the Yelp page.
Conclusion & Looking Forward
Although we might be becoming addicted or potentially depressed as a result of too much social media, the right dosage has a powerful impact. We are able to collaborate and share ideas like never before with social media. Whether social media creates a space for campaigns to keep guns off of college campuses or helps two students to find love via Snapchat at UW Madison, the good uses of social media show that overall the benefits of an increasingly digitally connected world outweigh the negatives.
As indicated by the new and improved Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs above, the internet has almost become one of our basic needs. Since we are constantly online, it is more important than ever for brands to create the right digital experience for customers or else they will find themselves falling behind competitors.
In our discussions, we’ve touched upon the future of social and digital: more social tools connecting us in the workplace, augmented reality, live streaming, and the possibility of technology replacing humans. I have learned so much in this class about these trends and where they are heading, and I hope to keep up with news and current innovations beyond this class.