Reflecting on reflections

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.



  1. Great takeaways from the course! I definitely agree, the sharing economy was one of the more interesting topics we covered in class this semester. Like you, I think this area is going to explode in the near future, bringing us, both as consumers and workers, tangible benefits. Also, I am looking forward to how social media will be treated in legal disputes. As we have said in class, important precedence surrounding social media is going to be set in the near future, which I will definitely be keeping an eye on going forward.

  2. Really interesting post, Lauren! I really like the “new” Maslow’s Hierarchy–very indicative about how much we crave connection no matter where we are. I like the way that you highlighted your favorite parts of the semester and then added some relevant news. Very interesting to hear that Yelp is alerting consumers what businesses have taken action against bad reviews–that will most likely hinder people’s willingness to give any type of review, good or bad! Thanks for summing up the semester so nicely!

  3. I really liked this format! It just shows how that even with this class ending, the class matter will continue to be relevant, especially in today’s world. Like Amanda, I found the news about Yelp to be really interesting, and I agree that the alert Yelp is giving will deter some people from giving reviews. But it shows that Yelp cares, even if the main part of their website is threatened.

  4. I laughed out loud at that hierarchy of needs. I liked how you grouped big takeaways from the class. I’m really interested in the Yelp suing piece. I’m an “elite yelper” and I’ve never heard of non-disparagement clauses. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.

  5. Great job, Lauren! Love your format for this final post – just reminds us that there’s always new news in this area. It’s so fascinating when something goes viral and that we can’t quite figure out why. I makes me think of the Digitas presentation where they discuss how clients often ask them to make something go viral – but that’s not actually an achievable goal.

  6. Love the Maslow graphic! I’ll be interested to hear what you think about another semester through the course. I know I keep learning from it. Have a great summer and see you in the fall!

  7. Well, first things first Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer let’s be frank. OK well maybe not, but social media has started that theory so that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. But truly, it is amazing to watch content spread rapidly and just catch on. Love the 1-2-3 format

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