After skimming over my first blog post, I noticed something that made me reflect back to the first weeks of class. I had planned on putting together a little Sweetgreen x IS6621 collaboration for snack day, but I think our class and the social sphere had something else brewing even faster. Twitter essentially became the middle man for an effective brand connection to a college classroom. And it was faster than being on the inside: the inner workings of that brand itself! I think it’s amazing how it all happened. It effectively sums up the great social media umbrella under which I’d like to think we learned everything else this semester. Well, in my opinion, there are two umbrellas, and perhaps the first is bigger.
- This thing moves fast.
Before I could even blink, I became immersed in Facebook during 8th grade. I remember back in January, recalling my first social digital experiences with Pokemon and link-cable trading. Of course the cheesy screen name craze happened in middle school, just as it became parentally acceptable to use my dumpy flip phone to text in “Abc” style. As I have learned this semester, though, a crazy extension of AIM, text messaging, and even Pokemon trading, is the grandfather of them all: email’s “Reply All” button. Weird how that feature is completely overlooked at this point in my life.
Now, things that “wow” me involve watch a crisis transpire across the Atlantic ocean in real time. Periscope makes viewing things like this completely possible. Wasn’t my mom just getting used to FaceTime? She was struggling yesterday to “un-pause” our conversation so she could see me again… yikes, and to think about Periscope? The amount of game-changing technologies we encountered – Slack, Periscope, Virtual Reality, wearable tech, 3-D printing, to name a few- was stunning. These advances will be especially in building brands down the road; they pave the road for business to break new customer retention barriers. I had some decently extensive training last summer as I developed a presence for Shore Fresh, that hometown restaurant I first blogged about, but the doors opened this semester have changed my outlook and expanded the possibilities. Maybe I can use some of that knowledge at Sweetgreen down the road. Who knows?
2. This thing is temperamental.
What’s ironic about the online social sphere is that Snapchat made the wrong move on 4/20 with a similar racial strike, creating a Bob Marley, “Jamaican’-esque” filter. The company definitely caught proper heat (pun intended? haha) that day, and probably for about a week in the Twitter-sphere afterwards. But its executives absolutely did not face the epic recovery that others did, both companies and individuals alike. Is Snapchat socially exempt from racism in that way? Or is there a certain corporate shield that appears? I tend not to fully believe that thinking, especially if you consider the amount of companies climbing their ways back from social media screw-ups. But does that phalanx form to some degree? It must.
Before Justine Sacco left her flight, she was an ordinary working individual with perhaps an off-putting sense of humor; afterwards, she was the laughing stock of Twitter and a shameful racist. Many months later, a Ted Talk reflects astutely and calls Twitter a “mutual approval machine” that was feeding excess power to those voiceless people it originally empowered. The bottom line is that you have more freedom as an individual, but potentially much more to lose if vitality consumes your life. I guess you could argue that a social slip-up can bankrupt a multi-million dollar company, but a primary takeaway for me involves a “social cushion” for corporations, something that individuals don’t enjoy. Is the mistake any one person’s fault? Maybe, yes, but it all melds together under the company image, which, more times than not, sees a recovery. Justine’s employment issues might burden her indefinitely. The image below is disheartening, but it should teach us all a great lesson, and we should never forget it.
My advice to the class is this (and it’s reminiscent of several awesome presentations I heard, too): react, think, and decompress, BEFORE posting. This goes for us as individuals, and maybe more importantly, as future brand managers. God forbid there’s a mishap, you know where the delete button is, and you get to it like a firefighter. One day, Twitter might love your humor and carefree presence. The next day might not be so forgiving, but we can all lock into a parachute before we take the social plunge.
Overall, despite the caution, I am very excited to see where the social world will take our minds in the future. IS6621 was a top 5 BC class for me, and I frankly will miss the constant updates on technology and social media. Maybe I’ll stick around Twitter, but I know for sure I’ll want to read at least a few blog posts coming up next semester. Cheers to all of you guys in the class and especially to Professor Kane for making it unforgettable. Seniors- go out there and do what you do. Graduation will be emotional, but life always looks up, and I’m excited for each one of us. The world is at our fingertips!