My initial thoughts on social media are a mixed bag. On one hand, I am an avid proponent and advocate for social media’s capabilities to further connect people in the world. Coming over 5,000 miles away from my home in Honolulu, Hawaii for college here in Boston, social media has been the main provider of the inside scoops about what is happening at home. Facebook, for example, is my one stop social media outlet for staying in the loop with Hawaii. I am able to get general updates about my community back at home from news outlets, be up to date and know what all my high school friends are doing after we have dispersed around the world for college, and allows me to communicate and keep connected with my parents through the Facebook Messenger chat and video call features. Many others around the world use social media to keep connected with one another. It is absolutely amazing to see how digital technology and social media can single-handedly bridge immense physical distances for our world. I only travel home twice a year to communicate in person and see the faces of my friends, family, and community in Hawaii, but with the power of social media, I can connect and be closer to them in an instant whenever I want to.
On the other hand, social media also has the ability to further disconnect us from each other and the present moment. Due to social media, you find more and more people everyday glued to their phones without being conscious, aware, and present of what is going on around them. People are starting to become entrenched in the thought of sharing the moment that they are in versus living and being present in the moment that they are in. When you are at a restaurant, I can guarantee that someone will be on their phone looking at social media or taking a picture of their food instead of enjoying it or the company. When you are at concert, I can also guarantee there will be dozens of people with their phones out either snapchatting or instagramming the performance instead of being present and listening to the music. There are countless more examples of how social media disconnects people’s mindfulness from the present moment and in this way, I really dislike social media for how it has changed humanity.
In addition to this, I am amazed and a bit creeped out knowing how much of my personal data and life details are out there on the web that companies and other people have the potential to find out and know about. While studying marketing and analytics here at Boston College, I became very aware at how much data and information marketers have about us. This awareness was further extended during my most recent summer internships at MVNP and DigitasLBi. During both of these internships, working specifically in digital advertising, I was able to see the strategies and insights that advertisers use to really maximize the potential of their campaigns. Social media has not only changed the way consumers get their information about brands and products, but it also has expanded the ways consumers interact with brands and how advertisers market to consumers. During my internships, it was so riveting, yet scary, to see how advertising strategies can now pinpoint their targeting to such a specific demographic to market to them and how advertisers can even track user habits and behaviors on digital sites down to the details of what the mouse patterns are on the page. For example, marketers and advertisers know that I am a college aged, Asian American male, who is a foodie, loves to watch the NBA, and listens a ton of Jack Johnson, Young the Giant, and J. Cole. Most of everything you do online is somehow driving information that is trackable and I believe it will be very interesting to see as social media and digital platforms advance how marketers, such as advertisers, will utilize all this data to optimize strategies without crossing the lines of personal privacy and security.
Through this class on Social Media & Digital Business, I hope to be able to expand my knowledge on how social media and the digital landscape has evolved and grown to the beast it is today, develop skills and expertise in social media that I can utilize in the advertising and marketing world, and reflect upon how social media will continue to leave an imprint on how our society connect (or disconnects) and how it will affect human mindfulness. I am excited to continue learning more about social media in the class and reading all the future blog posts about what is happening in the digital space of business and the world from everyone!