And with that I guess this is it. Perhaps it was the fact that this class only meant once a week, the fact that it was my last semester, or simply the fact that learning about social media constantly kept me intrigued, but I felt like this course completely flew by.
Looking back on my ‘Preliminary Thought’s blog post, I remarked how I saw little value in using Twitter; now it’s one of my most used apps on my phone. Conversely every time I find myself scrolling through Facebook I can’t help but think that the platform is designed to keep me addicted and have since removed the app from my phone. A key question I asked centered around whether creating controversy through your social media posts was the best way to stand out and promote one’s self in the future, similar to B.o.B did with his flat earth tweets.
While the continued dominance of Donald Trump in the polls might suggest just that, I was surprised over the the semester to learn about the self-policing nature of social media. For example, Rachel Botsman’s TED Talk, ‘The Currency of the New Economy is Trust’ explained how reputation capital will allow for and ensure safe marketplaces centered on trust going forward. Raul’s blog post ‘Triton Artificial Gills: Breathe Underwater!‘ explained how IndieGoGo users independently proved a proposed project couldn’t physically work. These examples and more convinced me to hold a more optimistic view towards social media.
My favorite TED Talk was Jon Ronson’s, who spoke about the mob mentality many of us hold on social media. The story of Justine Sacco was shocking to me. Her powerlessness to defend herself, the hateful replies that were more offensive than her original tweet, and the fact that any of us could have made the same dumb mistake really struck a chord with me. I fully plan on reading his book on the same topic this summer.
As a graduating senior, I found it incredibly difficult to separate my thoughts on this being not only my last blog post but also my final assignment as an undergraduate at Boston College. A constant theme that has come up in recent conversations with my friends has revolved around how we plan on staying in touch with one another after graduation. I feel like this class has inadvertently done a terrific job in preparing me for that. Just this past week I was speaking with a professor who remarked how hard it was before Facebook to keep in touch with his friends from college. In my head I thought…Facebook? He didn’t even realize the number of tools available today that go far beyond Facebook.
This past semester has made me well acquainted with the communication features of Snapchat, the benefits of sharing articles on Twitter, and helped me explain Periscope to my friends. I now realize how many groupchat options are available out there beyond just GroupMe and iMessage. The fluid and open-ended nature of the class helped open my eyes to the broader definition of social media and how it is constantly changing.
Beyond staying in contact, the class has also convinced me of the need to build my digital identity. Whereas before I shied away from posting on Facebook or Twitter, I now fully intend to continue my tweeting. In part based on the idea of the economy of trust, I now realize it likely looks worse to have no online identity than to have a poor one. As evidenced by this terrible (or fantastic) attempt at doing the running man challenge, at least LA Tech started a conversation.
Hey #LATech20, our recruiters have a special message to share with you…
— LATech Admissions (@TechAdmissions) April 30, 2016
And with that I guess that’s it. I’ve bookmarked isys6621.com and will continue following the hashtag next semester. I’m now way more interested in seeing what the future of social media has in store and will force myself to stay as in-the-know as possible.