But First, Let Me Take a Selfie: Initial Thoughts on Social Media

If I were to write down the first five words that came to mind when I thought “social media” prior to the beginning of this class, I would think: pictures, stalking, likes, must have, and past time. Personally, when the alarm clock rings in the morning, the first thing I do is begrudgingly open my eyes, roll over to my right, grab my phone, and start going through my morning social media ritual. First I hit up my email, then the WSJ app,  then Instagram, then Snap Chat,  then Facebook, and finally answer any texts/whatsapp messages from throughout the night. This takes up a good 15 minutes of my mooring, minutes I could have used for extra sleep, but instead I spend it every morning surfing social media because without this morning ritual my day seems to not be off to a steady start. Frivolous and time consuming as this ritual may be, I would feel in the dark both socially and in regards to current events without it. However, this was once the extent of my  appreciation for social media. Nothing more, nothing less. I had never once given deeper thought to any larger, macro effects social media has created in the world. iphone.jpg

However, now if I were to write down the first five words that come to mind when I think social media it would be: disrupter, game changer, networking, tool, and revolution. Although, I was aware of how impactful social media has been to me, my generation, and people in general in a social sense, I was ignorant to the tremendous impact, disruption, and creative destruction social media has had overall economically, politically, and culturally. It now seems utterly ridiculous to me to think that things like “likes”, selfies, and social stalking, were what I consider some of the most important contributions of social media.

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Economically, social media has been one of the most impactful and unforeseen disputers. One example of such power is social media power for marketing and advertising. Before, millions upon million of dollars were needed in order to get the word out about a company. Now, a company can have organic growth through platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Snap Chat, Facebook, and even Vine. These social media platforms have an interaction element to share and connect on both a personal and high-speed level like never before. No other marketing tactic has ever been able to achieve such influential results before. “Retweets, reposts, shares, tags, links, likes, chains, videos, pics” are all new methods and tactics of strengthening and propelling a firm forward that were extremely unforeseen and unexpected. An incredible example of the success of social media in marketing and growing a company is from Angela’s presentation last week on her company 1950 Collective. She started gathering her consumer base from fan girls on Instagram and Facebook fan pages and continues to strengthen her brand through “real time” reactions of her products on vine.

Additionally, social media has taken form in unique Fintech platforms such as Venmo in order to disrupt the economic sphere. Venmo has completely revolutionized the way people exchange money from one person to another person. In a matter of seconds, one can link his or her bank information to this app and then pay anyone in his or her social media circle on Facebook through this platform. Additionally, on one’s Venmo news feed one can see which friends are paying what friends and for what reasons. This social media technology has forced banks and other financial institutions to reimagine the way they interact with their clients and the way they facilitate the exchange of currency from one person to the other.

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Politically, social media has been an imperative platform in communicating news and issues on both a micro community level and  on a macro nation wide scale. Not only have the worlds biggest news channels and outlets such as Fox, CNN, NBC, WSJ, NY Times, ect.., created apps in order to convey political news among other things, but also existing social media platforms themselves have been turned into vehicles for political ammunition. A current example of the power of social media to inform political events is Twitter’s power to garner both support and anger for the controversial presidential candidate Donald Trump. At times Twitter has been both Trump’s greatest asset and his greatest undoing. With no more than 140 characters Trump has the power to address a nation and send powerful political messages out into the world. Social media engages people of all backgrounds and ages and allows them to collect their thoughts, opinions, and voices in one space. This easy access to a vast network of people has completely revolutionized the way political issues are presented and what topics get the most attention.

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Lastly, culturally, social media has completely redefined how people go about their daily lives. The cultural factors are most defiantly intertwined with the social factors. However, it is important to appreciate the macro cultural changes that have come about through millions of micro individual social interactions with social media. One example of such cultural redefinition is through the social media tool Linked In. Before, In order to build a professional network of people, one would have to attend events where one shook countless hands and passed out resumes for hours only to have a few unmemorable seconds with someone before moving on to the next person. This was an inefficient a grueling system, but Linked In came in and disrupted this corporate culture. Suddenly, networking was done online. Everyone’s resumes were on full display for all to see at all times. The ease of searching, scanning, endorsing, liking, ect… facilitated making valuable connections and completely revolutionized the way networking was done for a culture of professional as a whole.

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It shocks me that with just one class ( I entered a week late) my perception of social media and the power of social media has had such an incredible shift. I am excited to continue in the class in order to keep learning about the massive impacts social media has made in all aspects of the world today and how it will continue to do so in the future. I also look forward to understanding this complex tool more deeply in order to be able to apply this valuable resource constructively in the future.

5 comments

  1. emmaharney21 · ·

    Great blog post! I too had this change of thought regarding social media after the first few classes. Your post does a great job of pointing out the differences between how we personally use/ think of social media as consumers, and how we use/think of social media as businesses. I personally have a more sophisticated understanding of social media and its uses after changing my lens to view it from a business perspective. I do think that in order to use social media effectively in business, we need to consider how consumers think of their social media use. I really enjoyed your example of Venmo. If you are viewing Venmo purely from a business perspective, you would consider it as a way for individuals to transfer money to one another. If you think of Venmo from a social consumer perspective, you think about how to make it interactive. Scrolling through your Venmo feed is entertaining and part of the reason why it has been so successful. In general I think you do a great job of showing how social media affects our lives in a social and business sense.

  2. Really relatable blog post! The first paragraph I think summarizes how a lot of people in our generation feel. Not having any connection to social media definitely makes me feel like I’m being left in the dark not only about things that are happening around me, but things that are happening across the world. I thought your discussion on how social media has played a role on the economic sphere was also interesting. Even Snapchat (Snapcash) and Facebook have created a way to exchange money on their platform. Thanks for the post!

  3. Nice post. I think we’ll deal with most of your “first 5” words in class this upcoming week, and the rest of the topics throughout the semester. Good start. I don’t want to comment too much, lest I steal my own thunder for this week!

  4. I think this blog post does a great job of highlighting the changes in mentality we all will come to with this class. I was fortunate enough to have this revelation in Professor Gallaugher’s Computers in Management course. I think it’s important to keep in mind that social media as a whole has been able to reach the extent it has because of digitization. Without smartphones, that morning routine that you described (and all of us share) would not be possible. I also think your comment about LinkedIn is interesting. Being a CSOM student currently in the process of looking for finance internships, I can definitely say that the human element of going to these meetings still is regarded as extremely important. That being said, I completely agree that LinkedIn has allowed these connections to happen even before I meet an individual at a networking session. Great post overall!

  5. polmankevin · ·

    Isn’t it funny how Social Media has become so habitual in all of our lives. Makes you wonder what people did before the invention of smartphones and news feeds. I also talked in my blog post about the tremendous effects of Social Media. I think that its the most influential invention of the 21st century. We are witnessing an unparalleled forum of expression and unity. Social media’s ability to spread ideas and ignite change is truly revolutionary. And since we are all habitually hooked, it doesn’t look like its going to stop any time soon!

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