Zen and the Art of Social Networking

IS6221: Social Media & Digital Business begins!

 

fink_webHello, readers. My name is Becca Fink. I am a part-time student in the MBA program at Boston College. So far, my coursework has consisted of the standard business school courses: management, economics, accounting…you get the idea. As someone who isn’t exactly interested in the “Business World” I’ve largely felt like an outsider in the program. My interests fall more on the creative side of business, i.e. communications, graphic design, branding, and marketing; so you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon the elective course Social Media & Digital Business. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a course that not only aligns with my interests, but with the work I do.

I am the Marketing and Communications Manager for Campus Recreation here at BC. A large part of my work is in the digital world, actively using social media, email, and the web to interact with our members. I expect that being in a cross-listed course with both graduate and undergraduate students will be a benefit for my work. The undergrads (probably many of you reading this) are my main target audience. My job is to inform the BC community (undergrads, grads, faculty, and staff) about the programs and happenings at Campus Rec and to help emphasis the importance of investing in health and fitness. I’d love to get a better understanding of a portion of my audience through this course, particularly by learning how students want to interact with us online.

screen-shot-2016-09-10-at-11-07-56-amI am an active user of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for Campus Rec. I hope to use this class and this blog to learn more about who uses social media and how they use it, both as individuals and businesses. I would like to learn how to use different social media platforms more effectively, targeting specific audiences on different platforms. One of the articles that we read for class, One Size Does Not Fit All in Social Media, has already helped me gain some perspective on this. I found the contents of this article to be very informative (thanks, Prof. Kane). I’ve had students tell me that Campus Rec needs to be on Snapchat, and I’m starting to realize that may be the direction we should move toward soon. It doesn’t seem like undergrads are using Facebook the way that they did even when I was in college just a few years ago. Currently, our Instagram page gets more activity than any other platform we use. I expect that if we joined Snapchat we’d have even more success there. I’m interested to know what my classmates think about that.

screen-shot-2016-09-10-at-8-17-09-pmWe also watched the TedTalk “The Hidden Influence of Social Networks. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. Some of the information presented is really wild. I think it’s easy to be afraid of social media and building social networks, especially with research that shows how much of an effect on you your own “network” can have. For instance, in this video, Nicholas Christakis explains a study he conducted that showed that if your friends are obese,  your risk of being obese is 45% higher. He uses this example to illustrate how influential our networks can be, but they don’t always have to have negative impacts. We can use social networks to spread happiness, to spread ideas. We have to remember that social media, which has become second nature for so many of us, is a really powerful tool.

As someone who can vaguely remember a time before we used the internet for social interaction, I find “internet identities”-which we all have now-to be so interesting. Not only for individuals, but for businesses too. Individuals and businesses have to determine who they want to be online, which platforms they want to use, how they want to construct their online identities. This is a topic I expect to examine further in an upcoming post. I also want to examine my own online behavior. For example, I’m currently training for a marathon and I often find myself reading articles, blogs, and comments on Runner’s World and other sites to get advice on anything and everything running related- training plans, advice on dealing with knee pain, etc. Many online communities (such as the runners online community) are comprised of individuals who use digital businesses as the platforms for their engagement. I’m excited to begin brainstorming and researching some topics related to social media and digital business and presenting my findings for you every two weeks for the next few months.

I’ll meet you back here September 27! Until then, you can catch me on Twitter @FinkBecca!

 

4 comments

  1. rohansuwarna · ·

    Great work Becca! I enjoyed reading about BC Campus Rec’s exposure on social media. I found it really intriguing that you mentioned how Facebook is no longer as popular as Instagram anymore for undergraduate students. And I completely agree. I feel like now that Facebook is more of a news source and to just stay in touch with families it’s not the best social media tool for publicizing local events or updates. I was a freshman last year and I saw how popular Snapchat was and still is. Students love the Campus Story feature on Snapchat, which would be a great way for BC Rec to get more popular amongst the students. So I feel like Snapchat would be a great way to reach out to more students!

  2. Really nice post. Its funny to see how different readings get appreciated differently depending on when I introduce them during the semester (that blogpost was not particularly popular last year). We will have a team from BC News and Public Affairs coming in as a guest speaker, and she has a great Snapchat story (that’s tied to this class).

  3. Great post, Becca! I’m excited to hear that you are spearheading BC Rec’s presence on social media – I’m sure this will be a great class to learn more about how to engage as a brand on social media. I completely agree that Facebook has lost a lot of support from the younger generation, especially when it comes to engaging with brands. I find myself most likely to engage with brands on Instagram and Snapchat. I actually really enjoy seeing businesses/brands on Snapchat because it makes them more relatable, and I love seeing what the day-to-day of businesses look like.

    For example, I worked at Rent the Runway this summer and we had a Snapchat account that we used to show customers different aspects of our business. Sometimes we would post from the fulfillment centers, and other days we would post from inside the corporate headquarters. Towards the end of the summer, we even used Snapchat as a customer service tool where members of our fulfillment team could try on dresses to show customers. I think BC Rec could definitely get a Snapchat up and running and get a lot of great support.

  4. I feel like I’m in the same boat as you in which I’m more interested in the creative parts of business and human behavior. It’s so interesting to see how platforms could be used in ways you wouldn’t expect. One things that I’ve found about Facebook, however, is that I use it to know about almost all the events on campus and around Boston. Having an event posted a couple weeks before something happens and then having a reminder from Facebook saying when it happens usually makes me go. I’m not sure if that’s something you’re already doing but if not I definitely think it’s something you could look into.

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