Social Media, I Love (you) Actually

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

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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. giphy1

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.

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10 comments

  1. kdphilippi18 · ·

    Great final post – I especially love how you quoted Love Actually – one of my favorite movies! You did a great job of weaving different aspects of the past semester into your final thoughts. I completely agree with your assessment – while social media does distract us from being present at times, it also gives us the ability to stay in touch at the drop of a dime when we need to – keeping us more connected than before the days of social media. By making our lives easier and more simple – this frees us up to spend more time with friends and family and be present. While not everyone may take advantage of this, I would argue that these are the same people that would find some other excuses to not engage with others and that social media is not the catalyst. It is important, however, as you pointed out to be aware of social media and its impact on our everyday lives so we can continue to use it to promote good and potential avoid negative implications.

  2. emmaharney21 · ·

    This is a great post! I love the key points that you took from the course. I specifically liked how you not only recapped what we covered in class but also what individuals touched on in their blogs. So much of the learning that takes place in this class is not done in the classroom but rather from reading and retweeting each other’s work.

    I really like how one of your sections was called Social Media Surprises. I completely agree with this. I think that in many ways this course surprised me with the sheer amount that there is to learn about effective social media usage on both a business and personal level. I loved the two examples that you gave within this section. I think it incredibly important to consider that this is an example of social media facilitating interesting life events, not taking away from them. Additionally, these examples are all phenomenal business ideas. This idea reminds me of the presentation on food purchasing apps such as Blue Apron. Blue Apron uses digital business and social media to facilitate the experience of cooking a great meal.

    This was a fantastic post and a great way to look back on the semester. Thanks!

  3. rohansuwarna · ·

    Great final blog post! Before coming into this class I also shared your feelings about social media. I felt like it was ruining genuine relationships and that some people now lack basic social interaction skills. Skills which are necessary for school and jobs. However, after taking this class my feelings are a bit altered. I now believe that social media and technology has helped users feel more connected to their friends than ever before. Using Twitter so much this semester has showed me how connected we really are. Just using one hashtag we can connect with someone on the other side of the country. The ease of which we can talk to or add someone on Facebook keeps connections with people we do not get to see often. Which I realized is social media’s best function for myself. I have family outside of the US and Facebook and Instagram help keep all of us connected. I really thought social media was affecting the way we interact, but it actually allows us to interact increasingly more so with people we care about.

  4. Tyler O'Neill · ·

    Great final post! It’s crazy to look back at the variety of social media and digital business related topics we covered this semester. I can relate to your own opinion of social media. I too have come to realize that it is extremely beneficial to society, but also comes with it’s own faults and issues. Over the semester I have come to see these issues differently. They are less of legitimate problems inherent to the technology and more problems associated with the change of culture as digital innovation continues. People do spend less tiem actually interacting face-to-face, but much more time interacting with a larger network of people online. We see this as bad or an issue, but in reality the younger generations are growing up with this as their “norm.”

  5. adamsmea89 · ·

    Great post! I agree with your experience with the class, starting out hesitant of social media but finishing the class much more supportive of it. I definitely have a more positive outlook of social media than I did back in August. Social media is intertwined in our lives, and taking a class like this really does make you acknowledge that and appreciate it more!

  6. cmackeenbc · ·

    Nice post, Katie! I loved how you tied together your personal experiences with the blogs posts of others and what we have learned in class–great work. I, like Emma in the comments above, loved the “social media surprises” part. I do love how social media has allowed us to find new things to do and places to explore. Being from Boston, I am constantly surprised by all of the places on social media I see in the area that I haven’t heard of or been to yet! Owners of venues and products have a unique opportunity to connect with potential customers through social media, and it is exciting to think of how we will be able to use the technology in promoting our own products or firms some day. Social media constantly exposes me to events I wish I were a part of, so I am glad you took advantage of the SoWa markets!

  7. Love Actually title caught my attention immediately :) ! What a cute way to start the blog, tie it into your overarching opinion of the class, and slyly throw a Christmas theme to the whole blog ahah! But I totally agree and I think the Hugh Grant quote was a nice way of looking at it. We tend to focus on the negatives of certain phenomena all the time, and while social media is not perfect and we clearly saw that multiple times throughout this class it is not all bad. It may take away certain aspects of human interaction but it certainly adds other dimension to our human interactions to compensate for where it falls short. This blog for example… We have known each other from classes and through friends for a few years, but I am able to know so much more about your opinions and perspectives by reading your thought and what you have to say about certain things. For a conversation in the hallway, this might be a little deep or heavy of a topic, but this blog (and the blog of all of our classmates) helps us to understand the way they think and their opinions. So yes, even though it takes human interaction away, social media still shows that human interaction is all around and it makes me optimistic as well!

  8. I think you’re my first victory of Broadbent over Turkle! Yay!

  9. Great post- I love Love Actually too! I agree with your points in the post. Social Media and digital business really does have the ability to simplify. Thinking about my morning today- this is especially true. First, I signed onto my Classpass app to sign up for a workout class. Normally, without Social Media, this would require me to go to the internet, sign in, and log onto the class website. Now, it is entirely simplified. Next, I went to Starbucks. I ordered via my Starbucks app. Rather than waiting in line, when I arrived to Starbucks, my order was ready and waiting. These are two ways that Social Media simplifies. While Social media, as you pointed out can lead to isolation, I believe that the simplification of social media allows us to spend time on more important aspects of life. I also liked your example of how social media allowed you to attend that wine event. Sometimes, it is true, that social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, allow you identify new events that you wouldn’t otherwise know about. Overall- great post.

  10. jagpalsingh03 · ·

    Great post and nice addition of Christmas movies! While I was never really one to jump onto the “social media is ruining society” bandwagon, I think we’ve all had a handful of experiences of feeling slighted or disconnected from our friends/family who prioritize their screens over us during lunch (and to be honest, I think all of us have done the same to someone else at some point). In reality, social does connect us and disconnect us, it just depends what you use it for. Not being from Boston, FaceTime allows me to keep up with my mom, sister, and most importantly my dog back home on a level that wasn’t possible 10 years ago. On the other hand, the power of our phones allow us to be completely isolated from everyone and everything whenever we want to be, which can often be at inappropriate times. Realistically, though, those who abuse this power would find other ways to disconnect themselves from the world had social media not existed. I also love your “social media surprises” section. I don’t understand how there are still people out there not on Twitter. I feel as if Twitter is my connection to the whole world. I get real time updates on trends, news, and pretty much everything thanks to it. Often times I see so many people in feed are talking about a specific event, like a pop up shop, that I have to check out. Without Twitter, I would probably just end up reading about the shop the day after rather than actually going out there and experiencing the event and the people. I only anticipate that social media and the world of tech continue to enrich our lives going forward!

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