Prior to taking this course, I was extremely skeptical of social media’s effect on authentic relationships. Though being “connected” to so many people, organizations, and ideas 24/7 is a great thing for a multitude reasons, I believed it often has perverse implications. When I get lunch with a friend and she’s not listening to me because she’s texting or I observe the kids I babysit are more engrossed in their individual iPads than each other or I prefer to stare at my Instagram feed than talk to the guy sitting next to me on my Thanksgiving flight home, I feared for the future of human connectivity.
“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at *Logan Airport.* General opinion is starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends…If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling that you’ll find that love actually is all around.”
Inspired by Hugh Grant’s wise words from the opening scene of the move, The Holiday, my post will identify the ways in which social media has simplified my day-to-day tasks, it will describe the unexpected outcomes , and it will work to prove that despite my concern about the jeopardy of human connectivity in the face of technology’s complicated nature, “if you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling that you’ll find that *human connection* actually is all around.”
Social Media Simplifies
To start, let’s take a look at my past week’s expenses which I can do with relative ease thanks to my convenient Mint account. Discussions, presentations, and blog posts have throughout the course of the semester have forced me to view financial services in a completely new light. Prior to taking this course, I perceived the industry as stiff, boring, and complicated. Thanks to Kelsey Bishop’s post, I discovered how to control my personal finances through cutting-edge fintech companies like LearnLux and Ellevest. John Shin’s presentation exposed the ways in which robo-advisors are transforming the financial services industry. While these robo-advisors are making the financial advisory much more efficient, they are shrinking the private wealth management industry as a whole. (Cue the sharing economy and new business model discussion). Lastly, the research I conducted to write my post that described and rated the most popular “money saving” apps opened my eyes to how the advancement of technology has brought my day-to-day life a wealth of unexpected conveniences.
Social Media Surprises
First expense recorded: $8 SoWa (South End Open Market). Yesterday, I ventured to the South End with a few friends to experience the SoWa Winter Festival. SoWa is an open market that displays 100+ artists galleries, studios, boutiques, and restaurants each weekend from May to October. After we realized it was opening for a winter market, we had to check it out. As if we needed further convincing, I follow Wine Riot, a wine seller that hosts “educational wine events” throughout Boston. Wine Riot partnered with SoWa to host a free wine tasting. Elf may have gotten it wrong…the best way to spread Christmas cheer is by hosting a wine tasting with a glass decorating station for all to cheers.
What unexpected outcome arose from this experience? (1) SoWa and Wine Riot’s effective use of social media successfully drove digital business and (2) social media inspired an afternoon of quality (technology-free) time between friends. Had I not taken this class, though I most likely would have attended the market and done the wine tasting, I wouldn’t have recognized its influence on my purchasing patterns and its ability to bring people together. On the Stefana Broadbent “How the Internet Enables Intimacy” vs. Sherry Turkle “Connected, but alone?” richter scale, in the context of this experience, I side with Stefana.
Social Media is here to stay
Despite the somewhat irrational fear of social media stunting the growth of human relationships that I held at the beginning of this course, reflecting on the topics covered throughout the semester, I confidently can conclude that while this skepticism is merited at times, enthusiasm for the future of social media and digital technology can safely replace it. We debated this idea throughout the semester, but just to reiterate one last time, I believe social media’s ability to allow people to remain connected, up-to-date, or in someway informed in each other’s lives is proof that human connectivity is not in jeopardy. Yes, we may only converse daily with 4-5 of our thousands of followers, but we have the power to hook into our many networks whenever we want.
Furthermore, having discussed topics ranging from social media and cyber security, online harassment and even its impact on the economy, I now recognize its undeniable power permeates much further than ensuring we remain connected to each other. Social media has the potential to and already is transforming the way we think and do things. Thanks to this course, I can look forward to and be aware of the transformations that are just around the corner.