At the beginning of the semester, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I needed a class for my information systems concentration requirement and Technology in Culture was already overfilled. I went into the first class for Social Media for Managers, not knowing what to expect and hoping to get out early (to be fair, what could we possibly cover in 2.5 hours on the first day of class?) What I got out of it was that the professor was a screaming hardo (figuratively screaming, but seemed more like screaming in the moment) who was on the hunt to ruin students’ grades. “It will be very hard to get an A in the class” he says in an intimidating voice.
Fast forward to the end of the semester and I’m learning more than I’ve ever expected from this class and am even looking forward to Thursday nights (and the pizza of course). My perspective of the class took a complete 180 turn throughout the whole semester, but I’m here to provide you with a “Social Media for Managers for Dummies” guide.
Oh boy, am I a Twitter novice. The only reason I made a Twitter in freshman year of college was for my Computers in Management class and it has remained dormant until I had to dust it off for this class. On the surface, Twitter seems like a very superficial way to incorporate social media into the class. Type in news.google.com, click on the Technology tab, search for a relatively cool article, add an anecdote, and add #IS6621 #Z to the tweet. However, it’s very important to engage in the Twitter discussion and to read the articles, which is arguably the whole point of the activity. The tangible benefits of reading and responding to Twitter is the improved input you can make during Twitter discussions during class. Knowing who tweeted, what their thoughts are, and different perspectives gives you a deeper understanding of the topic and you can make insightful comments to impress Professor Kane. The intangible benefit is the application of social media in an educational situation and the application of using social media as a news source. Using Twitter in discussion to create informal discussion creates a median between very formal arguments and mindless memes about cats (shoutout to the Meme article).
The blog posts are probably the bulk of your work in the class and also the most frustrating at times. Going into the blog posts at first isn’t bad because the majority of students have a good idea or two on what to write about, but once you get to the fourth or fifth blog post, the real struggle begins. When you’re in this class, it is almost imperative to constantly be thinking about blog topics or anything interesting that you could do a little more research on to blog about. The worst thing that could happen is having a topic that you aren’t really interested in and having to research about it for the next 2 hours to find enough information to fill out a whole blog post. Also, Professor Kane has this catchphrase “I’d rather you swing for the fences”, so when you’re coming up with a topic make sure to make it unique even if you fail miserably (don’t end up talking about something boring like Snapchat or Instagram). Although it’s frustrating, you honestly do end up learning a lot about topics that you normally wouldn’t ever voluntarily read about (it’s like the equivalent of the library catalog that no one in class knew about).
Class videos / readings:
This is the meaty part of the course, the porterhouse of the cow. The majority of your learning will be done here and it is intentionally very guided based on the assigned overall readings and the group readings. It is imperative to do the readings and listen to the videos carefully, as you will have no idea what is going on during discussions otherwise. Some honorable mentions for topics (please use them again wink wink nudge nudge):
Memes (Managing Virality)
Paying attention to the readings and videos also helps in participating in the conversations during class, and this is probably one of the most fun parts of the class. Due to the fact that this is an MBA / undergrad class, having the multiple perspectives on topics that are ACTUALLY relevant (thanks to Professor Kane for keeping everything modern / updated) really creates good genuine discussion. If I had to pick my favorite part of the class, it would be this section.
I really hope you have a topic that you’re passionate about. If you don’t, please find a hobby or anything before taking this class. It is very apparent if you picked a topic that you are not well versed in or not very interested in, and unfortunately you’ll be compared to the other 2 presentations during that class. However, take this opportunity to learn the nitty gritty details about a subject you’re interested in. The presentation allows you to view your topic in a social media perspective and really ties together the importance of social media in multiple facets.
This is a very self-driven class, what you get out of it is what you put into it. It’s very possible to get by relatively pain-free but in all honesty, learning in this class is much better than most of the classes you’ll be taking here at Boston College. Branch out and learn some new topics along with the mandatory ones that Professor Kane provides and you’ll have yourself a great semester.