Back in August, at the start of this semester, I did not know what to expect from this class. I frequently use Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat to keep in touch with friends but, but beyond that did not have any experience with Tweeting or blogging. This class was an eye opening experience, and it ended up tying to other aspects of my life that I was not anticipating. For example, I work in Private Equity so I did not originally think there would be much overlap, but many of the social media / digital businesses we have talked about in class have had VC funding so they were tied to PE in that way.
I am also taking Venture Capital this semester and I was always very surprised to hear how many of the same topics came up in each class week after week. In both classes we talked a lot about Tesla and self-driving cars, technology taking over jobs humans have always done, and new technologies companies like Apple, Amazon and Google are working on. My VC class and IS6621 complemented each other in a way I never expected, and it allowed me to have a deeper understanding of these topics than if I had just taken one of these classes at a time.
This was a very interesting semester for a social media class due to the presidential election. Trump made an impact on society in a way no other presidential candidate has ever done by using Twitter to speak directly to everyone who was willing to read. It was very clear that Trump was in fact the one writing these Tweets, and they were not censored by his team in advance. This caused a lot of drama, but in the end he was able to connect with many US citizens on a deeper level and potentially sway the election in his favor. The fact that Trump has been elected has not slowed him down on Twitter, which is also a surprising aspect to his strategy. Trump will most likely continue to use these social media platforms in order to craft the message exactly the way he would like, and he can avoid working with the various “corrupt” traditional news outlets. This class has really opened my eyes to Twitter and has made me realize how strong of an effect it can have on people Prior to this class I had also never heard of “fake news” and Facebook’s involvement in it. Six months ago I would never in a million years have thought that Trump on Twitter / Facebook could have a significant impact on the outcome of the election.
Social media and bullying was something that I was not very aware of before taking this class as well. I have of course seen people leave mean comments on celebrities Instagram accounts, but I was not aware of how Twitter has the ability to alter people’s lives in a matter of minutes. When Professor Fichman came in as a guest speaker I finally understood how much of an issue it is and how quickly it can happen. I remember hearing about Justine Sacco’s inappropriate tweet when it happened, and I thought it was a terrible thing to say and did not really care when I read that she was losing her job / receiving negative backlash on social media. At the time, I thought she deserved it. After hearing Professor Fichman’s version of the story I felt very differently. He had actually met Justine Sacco and spoke with her about what she was thinking before, during, and after that plane ride. Although I still think the tweet was inappropriate, I now believe that it was a poor taste in humor and was more of a mistake than anything else. Those are the types of mistakes people make every single day, but because she made the mistake on social media and someone with a lot of followers re tweeted it, her life has been pretty much ruined. The fact that there are a lot of other similar stories of people’s lives being ruined because of a joke gone wrong, is a scary thing for all social media users.
What I have talked about in this blog post are just a few of the topics that I found interesting throughout IS6621. These are the topics that I really had not heard much about before, and they really relate to multiple aspects of my life. This was a very informative class, that I continued to learn in week after week and will continue to use this newfound knowledge moving forward in life.