My first experience with social media was with AOL in middle school. I first set up an email address that I would use infrequently, but once more of my friends joined we would spend more time chatting. When I entered high school, chatting on AIM with friends after school suddenly became very important to me. Everyone would go home after practice and immediately jump on AIM to chat with friends until their parents forced them to get off. I went to a larger high school so if I did not have classes or the same lunch period as my friends I did not talk to them much during the day, so chatting for an hour and a half on AIM ensured we still knew every detail of each others’ lives.
In 2006, I was a sophomore in high school and my sister was a sophomore in college. She wanted to be able to show me all of her new friends from college, so she created a Facebook for me. This way I could see all of her pictures and connect with her new friends. For a while, this is all I used it for because most of my friends did not have Facebook. Once I was in college, Facebook became just as important to me as AIM was in high school. My high school friends were now dispersed across the country at various colleges, so Facebook was the best way to keep in touch.
Post college I have started using Instagram and Snapchat, which has made it much easier to stay connected with high school / college friends and family that are not in Boston. Everyone is busy living their lives, so instead of setting up times each week to speak on the phone with multiple friends/family across the country, we can just look at Facebook/Snapchat/Instagram to see what each other has been up to. These are the main reasons I have used social media accounts up until this point in my life.
I am excited for ISYS6621 because I know there are many other reasons and ways to use social media that I have not yet explored that could change my outlook on its purpose. I have been much more of a passive social media user rather than one that has put their thoughts and opinions out there for other people to read, so blogging and tweeting will be a new experience I can learn from. I have worked in finance for the past four years and I currently work in Private Equity, which by nature is private, so social media has not played much of a role in my professional life either. I am looking forward to learning more about how business have been using social media and how entrepreneurs envision it being used in the future.
It is very clear that we live in a digital world today, so I do think it is important to be more aware of it than I currently am. Looking at the article “Social Media Over the Past Decade” (http://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/social-media-over-the-past-decade-infographic) it is very interesting to see which companies have thrived over many years, and which ones became extremely popular but slowly fizzled out. In order for these companies to stay alive, they must be constantly innovating and coming out with the next big thing before a competitor does. Social media / digital business has allowed products and applications to go viral in a way we have never seen before, allowing for companies to be made or destroyed overnight. This keeps things more exciting for the users because we can always count on a new app or a new feature for a current app to fulfill some desire that we never even knew existed.
Before MySpace, Facebook, Twitter etc., existed most people did not have a burning desire to “check in” or put their opinions online for people to read. However, this burning desire now exists and these social media outlets have created it. This “Our Social Media Obsession” blog posts examines the reason behind multiple generations checking there various social media accounts on an hourly basis or more (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rewired-the-psychology-technology/201407/our-social-media-obsession). A survey they conducted concluded that people check their social media accounts at about a 3:1 ratio of anxiety reduction to pleasure. This means that vast majority of the time that we are checking our various accounts we are not getting pleasure out of it, we are just trying to subside our anxiety levels of not knowing what our connections are doing. This is a really interesting phenomenon that will either continue to grow, or possibly bursts at some point in the next 10-15 years. I am excited about ISYS6621 to dig deeper into all of these topics and more.