I like to tell people that I’m not really social media savvy. Yes, I use Facebook messenger and occasionally post pictures of food on Snapchat, but compared to other peers, my usage seems very minimal. But after attending the first few ISYS6621 classes, I’ve realized that my perception of social media is flawed.
Social media doesn’t simply exist just for the “likes,” nor does it only serve to entertain others through filtered images. Powerful social media tools like FaceBook and Instagram can propagate social change (i.e. #BlackLivesMatter) or globally convey the importance of funding research towards cures for degenerative diseases (i.e. #icebucketchallenge). When I spent my last spring break in Colombia, the BC alums I met had said that they could only stay connected to current school events through Boston College’s social media accounts. How we communicate important information to others has transformed through digital channels; being aware of what social media tools exist and how to use them for our own purposes can ultimately enhance our quality of life.
Over the course of ISYS6621, I personally hope to delve more into the influence of social media in the areas of 1) business strategy and 2) global politics. As an intern at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts this past summer, I saw social media being utilized not only for professional networking (i.e. LinkedIn), but also as a branding tool. At BCBSMA, they loved using social media to reinforce their promise towards putting the health and wellness of their members first; they recently started a social fitness campaign on Twitter (#SocialFitnessFest) to promote their sponsorship of the Boston Social Fitness Festival. Even at intern events, we had brainstormed with management about the idea of promoting mobile workout classes through Youtube videos produced by the company’s fitness trainers.
Anyone who has been following the 2016 U.S. presidential campaigns would, without a doubt, be aware of candidate Donald Trump’s affinity for tweeting and the polarizing effects it’s had on his campaign against Hillary Clinton. His ability to test messages in real time showcases the dominant impact of social media; although many of Trump’s controversial tweets have put him in hot water, a high volume of tweets are also resonating with his supporters and clearly attracting the general public’s attention. With people constantly on their phones and laptops everyday, it’ll be fascinating to see which candidate is using social media effectively and how that’ll affect the elections this November.
ISYS6621 may perhaps be the most unconventional class that I’ll take at BC, but I believe it’ll provide me with the best insight on how our current society is being shaped by digital conventions. With both undergrads and MBA students in the class, it’ll be interesting to see how our lessons will bridge the gap between the younger students’ technical understanding of current social media tools and the strategic foresight of their older peers.