Going Beyond the What: Final Reflections

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…

giphy4

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.

Find balance. 

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.

vintage-social-networking

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).

 

 

7 comments

  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing your major takeaways from the semester. I too realized a lot of new applications for social media outside marketing and interacting with friends. This new knowledge has definitely raised the bar for my future employers since I am now aware of the social capabilities available to them to help make communication more efficient at work. It will be interesting to continue to watch social media develop, and I’ll be sure to keep some IS6621 classmates in my network to help me stay up to date with issues I’m not aware of.

  2. Nice post! I’m glad to see that this class has broadened your focus – it has for me as well. I definitely agree with your last point: find balance. For me, social media is inherently a good thing, which sometimes is used for bad purposes. Find a balance between real life and a virtual one is the key to keep social media a good thing.

  3. Liz, I really enjoyed having you in my group this semester as well you sharing about your coaching experience. I like how you talk about how social media is going to help these children stay in touch with each other, which is in fact true. Before taking this class, I only thought of social media as a negative thing and some thing that only contributed to cyber bullying. I also wrote about Lauren’s presentation and thought she did a great job of discussing the afterlife of our social media accounts. Also, I agree with you that I am also optimistic about our daily interactions despite the increase of our social media presence. This class has taught me that we are not turning into a world of loneliness and only screen-to-screen interactions, but quite the opposite! Social media helps us to create larger networks and stay in touch with our loved ones more accessibly than ever before.

  4. yifanhong04233 · ·

    Great post, I am so glad to see the “find balance” part of the essay. Yes, social media is making our life more convenient and accessible; however, it also brings us much troubles and concerns. When we are using the social media, it is important to find the balance between virtual world and the real one. This is also the most important lesson I have learned from this class.

  5. You always offered great commentary in class and I really appreciated your insight all semester! The MBA mix was an awesome way to combine learning experiences. I think it’s poignant that you believe we are not headed towards Wall-E. I tend to agree whole-heartedly; I don’t believe our technology will outpace us in that way, although it may in some ways coming up. The last picture of your post kind of reminded me that these social experiences we share with the world were already part of out lives in a lot of ways before 2006-ish. I like your quote a lot: “technologies are tools to help us connect better or be more efficient – none are the silver bullet to solving any problems.” Going forward, that is critical to keep in mind. Cheers, and thank you!

  6. Awesome post, Liz! I love the direction you went with your reflections. I think you did an exceptional job of recapping the semester and the lessons we all learned about social media’s scope and character. I found your contributions to our class to be really valuable, and I particularly love your first point on social media having applications far beyond marketing. I hadn’t considered that I might’ve thought about social media in that way too, but reading your blog post, I noticed that I had a lot of similar realizations that I never took note of. My favorite sentence was, “We focused more on the how and why’s than the what’s which was really refreshing and more applicable to the business world.” I couldn’t agree more and I think we’re all coming out of this class more well-rounded and better informed about how to continue learning about social media– not just brag about all the *things* we know.

  7. Nice final reflections. I’m glad that this course went further afield than your initial expectations. The more I work with this teaching approach, the more I’m convinced that its superior to the way I used to teach. It’s more work in some ways, but less work in others. I think if its done right, we all learn more in the end.

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