Last weekend, I coached my final tournament of the season. We laughed; they cried; the team finished ranked #21 in New England (out of over 160 teams at our age level…NBD). The sad part of the day is that our team will never play together as one again. But I realized that as opposed to when I played (many) years ago, my players can easily stay in touch with one another and maintain their friendships. Why? Social media and digital technologies.
As much as our and younger generations get mocked for losing touch in “real” life and being obsessed with our social lives, it’s actually pretty remarkable that these technologies actually allow us to stay more connected offline than before. And that’s just one of the takeaways I had this semester in IS6621. From day one, I knew that this would not be a traditional course with tests and papers. What I’m surprised by is how much these veered from others classes I’ve taken – in a good way. I’m leaving more with lessons in critical thinking and strategy than with a how-to for social and digital business. We focused more on the how and why’s than the what’s which was really refreshing and more applicable to the business world. Some other lessons I learned?
Social media is not just for marketing.
Admittedly, I was myopic in my views on social. I am in marketing by day and have focused my MBA on marketing as well. So I came into this class hoping to learning about social media and digital business…in marketing. Of course, I always knew about social media for other areas of business, but I hadn’t really taken the time to learn about its application. It was really neat to hear about other emerging technologies that will help with operational efficiency (Slack) and in people management (the “listening” company badges). I really enjoyed hearing the presentations because it would have never occurred to me research those topics. In fact, shout out to Lauren: end-of-life care has become a huge topic at work – and someone brought up social media and death. Thanks to your presentation, I was able to sound somewhat knowledgeable on the topic and point colleagues to some resources.
Stay up on trends…
We’ve all heard that the only thing constant in life was change – and that is particularly true about social media. Over these last several weeks, we’ve seen that to be true in real time: Facebook reactions, Trump & tacos, Dammmmnnnnn Daniel,” Uber Yacht, virtual reality becoming more and more popular…
Because so much is happening in social at any given time, it’s important to stay informed about new trends. Before this class, I had somewhat fallen off checking industry pubs and Twitter every day. Now I’m back in practice of doing so. Some news items may not be relevant to my business today, but it’s good background for later because you never know.
But you don’t have to know everything.
With that said, it’s impossible to know everything and be an expert on everything. Therefore, it’s important create a network for yourself that is diverse and filled with experts when you have questions. We saw that with Professor Kane and Professor Chang – how great was she when we wanted the legal take on some of these trends and stories? And again, the presentations all gave us a 5 minutes to be mini experts in a niche topic.
Getting back to my first takeaway, throughout the semester, we discussed the importance between balancing social with face-to-face interactions. I don’t think that we are headed down the path of Wall-E. Instead, I’m a little bit more optimistic that we will continue to use social and digital technologies to enhance our bonds with others.
All of these technologies are tools to help us connect better or be more efficient – none are the silver bullet to solving any problems.
This has been a wonderful semester – and definitely the way to leave Boston College. Good luck to everyone and see you all on Twitter (but under my real handle: Liz_M_Swanson).