Reflections: Flux Capacitor Required

Seriously, in order to reflect on this semester, I needed a flux capacitor. Twitter, and other social media platforms have become so much a part of my daily routine that I needed help remembering where I started. So, I went back in time, well back to my first blog post, in order to truly see how far I have come. As it turns out, I’ve changed my perspective and behavior and I’ve learned a lot. I truly feel this class has and will continue to inform my social and professional life.

Recap: Where I began

The word “overwhelmed” popped up in my very first blog several times. I was overwhelmed by the number of platforms, each platform’s functionality and purpose, and I was overwhelmed by all of the posts to keep up with. I certainly didn’t have an appreciation for Twitter – not from a personal or professional perspective. However, this class opened my eyes to the benefits of social media and provided important lessons when it comes to social media and digital business.

Lessons: 

Be Prepared. Be Aware. Be Thoughtful.

The machines are coming for us!

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Whether it is our jobs, our attention, or our behavior, social media, digital business, and IT are changing how we live. On the one hand, these platforms for communication and data consumption are providing us easier access to higher quality and larger amounts of data and information. This benefits consumers and markets. On the other hand, this technology has also slowly changed how we live, think, and behave. Do I think these platforms are making us stupid? No. However, I do recognize that my attention span has changed and my behavior has changed to make more room for social media and to even let technology perform tasks I previously did on my own (per my mention in class, I no longer look at encyclopedia’s for an answer – Google is my encyclopedia). The good news is that we know from history and from articles we’ve read articles we’ve read, discussions we’ve had, and what we’ve witnessed in the world that we can change and adapt as new technology comes into play. As machines do take some of our jobs I know that what we train for and how we train will change in the future because that’s what we’ve always done. Have no fear; I do not see machines leading to the end of humankind, as we know it and we will continue to evolve and adapt as machines and technology to continue to evolve.

One big “ah-ha” moment for me in class was when we talked about Beyoncé and the bone she threw Red Lobster.

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I’ve always been aware of commercials and marketing campaigns that didn’t pan out as companies had hoped, but I never stopped to think how companies decide when and how to react. A missed opportunity could be as costly as participating and doing the wrong thing. DigitasLBi explained how the way a company chooses to react or what they choose to focus on can make or break their brand recognition using. Using Puma as an example, I learned the benefit of knowing when to pull back and stay the course as originally planned. To jump on the bandwagon or not to jump on the bandwagon – that is the question and the answer is incredibly important.

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Privacy Isn’t Promised

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What happens in cyberspace stays in cyberspace. I knew that. However, this semester I learned so much about what can legally be posted and what rights people and businesses have. Between the Apple vs. the FBI debate, the uploaded rape case, and Professor Chang’s visit I’ve come to realize how complex these cases truly are. Additionally, I realize that it’s not just about what I choose to post and associate myself with online, but that it’s also being aware of who is snapping pictures or videos of me or posting things about me. All of my actions on and offline could impose a risk on my personal brand. Scary, but knowing is half the battle.

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Additionally, social media provides a platform to engage and interact with customers. As we learned from the BC Social Media team, helping customers feel heard, helping them feel part of the story, and observing to see what they’re interested in allows you to maintain and find new customers. The case for social media has been proven!

Knowing Your Customer

There are so many opportunities to collect data that companies who fail to collect it and use it properly will lose. The fact that social media provides a platform for people to share themselves with the world (whether anonymously or not) means that companies have the opportunity to use data to target specific customers and to target them from just the right angle. While I don’t love the invasion of privacy, as a consumer I’ve now come to appreciate how allowing companies to track my behavior in turn allows me to see more brands and products that I’m actually interested in. To not invest in data and data analytics is to not invest in your brand. As we discussed in class, it is key for analysts and managers to share the responsibility of strategizing once the data is able to tell a story.

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Final Thoughts

My feelings and appreciation for Twitter have truly changed. A surprising way in which Twitter has enriched my life is how it helps me be a contributing part of conversations in classes (not just this one), socially, and professionally. Thanks to classmates’ posts, Professor Kane’s posts, and other people I follow, I feel better informed about current events, business launches, and people. Did you ever have a moment when you suddenly found yourself in a conversation that you couldn’t follow? Personally, I’ve found myself feeling lost in conversations as a result of not being caught up on recent political controversies, local, or world news. Thanks to the push this class gave me to be more active on social media, I have a lot fewer awkward moments and I have more meaningful conversations. I never expected that Twitter would contribute so greatly to my non-social media life, but I suppose this just proves how social media has changed my life.

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It’s official; I’m on the social media bandwagon!

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Best of luck #IS6621!! Thank you for all that you taught me this semester through your tweets, blogs, presentations, and thoughtful comments in class! I learned so much and am grateful for the experience.

8 comments

  1. Sarah, you write, “I know that what we train for and how we train will change in the future because that’s what we’ve always done.” I had thought similarly to you that technology was not necessarily bad, but was essentially taking away jobs. After this class I have learned that is quite not the case and in fact it is helping our economy. It must have been interesting for you to be able to incorporate this class into your real life (a job) and how that compares to how I have allowed this class to change my everyday life as a senior. I was not someone who sat on Twitter either, but it is hard to remember what my life was like before this class; very relatable post!

  2. I really liked your post, Sarah. I agree with much of what you said, specifically the “aha” moment you had with Beyonce & Red Lobster incident. The fact that Red Lobster’s poor usage of social media really affected their brand sheds light on the importance of social media for any business and also on how on-top of social media brands must constantly be. Your post was very relatable and I also wrote very similar things on my post!

  3. Great last post for sure! Very reflective and thoughtful. I love that you organized it into 4 main takeaways, and even italicized what was really important. The Digitas presenters were some of my favorite this semester, too, and “the right place, right time” mentality was pervasive there. “To not invest in data and data analytics is to not invest in your brand” is additionally an astute point. Brands need to be wired into social media, or they risk leaving customers and money on the table. Cheers, and thank you for your insight!

  4. Awesome post! I really agree that you’re right about IT changing the way we live our lives. One thing that has been a constant in this class is the reminder that this is the future: all of it. We really are at a turning point, especially in the way we see businesses being run. Old rigid business structures are falling while ever-changing adaptable models are becoming the new norms. Technology is going to be a vital part of whatever field we end up working in, so it’s a good thing we have somewhat of a headstart on it!

  5. Nice post! I have to confess that once I started using Twitter to follow the news, often times the more traditional news sites feel much more dated. Sometimes by the time they pick up a story, its already trended on Twitter and I’m ahead of the major news outlets. Glad you’ve had a good experience.

  6. PS. But I wonder if the undergrads know what a “flux capacitor” is? :)

  7. @geraldckane you raise a very important question! For those of you not in the know, I highly recommend checking out the Back to the Future Trilogy. Until then, please note that the flux capacitor is what makes time travel possible ;)

  8. As someone who knows what a flux capacitor is, I enjoyed your witty title. I just wanted to say awesome post and that I had some similar takeaways, especially with Twitter. Having always been a lurker on twitter it was nice to finally engage in conversations with my network on twitter. Great post and writing style!

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