Dear Sandara of the future,
2016 is coming to a close and such is your time in Professor Kane’s social media class. Whether you are reading this one year or one decade from now, I hope you remember how truly strange this year has been. I can assume that it has only gotten stranger since. How’s the future like? Are self-driving cars a thing? How about flying cars? Have robots taken over the world? Is 1984 making a comeback? Did Trump ruin America? There are so many questions I have. But knowing you, I know you’re looking for some nostalgia from days past, so here I am to provide you with a nice little #throwback. I wonder if hashtags are still a thing in the future.
In my first post for the class I wrote about how social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter act as intimate digital portraits of ourselves and how we choose present ourselves to the world, whether that be through a carefully edited coffee art Instagram, or a politically charged 140 character tweet. In these personal spaces, businesses have truly adopted the motto of “be where your customers are” and have infiltrated these platforms to varying effect. While BuzzFeed’s Tasty has done an excellent job in seamlessly integrating itself on our timelines, other brands don’t seem to have the same luck.
But regardless of whether or not these businesses sent out the most engaging or relevant tweets, the fact remains that social media has infiltrated all aspect of our lives and it would be silly to think that it won’t completely change the way we eat, travel, shop, and live — if it hasn’t even done so already! When looking at the innovation of self-driving cars, the rising popularity of Airbnb, the dominance of streaming, and the complete revolution of online shopping — think Amazon — it’s incredible to witness how fast these technologies are developing and being popularly adopted. What will the next big breakthrough be? It’s a difficult task to brainstorm, but I’m sure in the future another Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg awaits us, leading the way in innovation and disruptive technologies.
As graduation approaches, finding a job is certainly on my mind. Where are you working now? Has social media changed the workplace? In class, we’ve had many discussions on how social media and technology are both creating and eliminating jobs. As technology evolves, perhaps AI and automation will put us all out of work. I would like to think that in the future, technology has instead created more jobs and opportunities for people instead of a complete robot takeover in the workplace. I could be wrong.
While we’ve talked about the many negative effects that social media can have on society: fake news, trolling, political headaches, laziness, etc. I hope that you haven’t forgotten about the many joys that social media has brought to your life. The ability to connect and bring people around the world together, whether that be friends, family, or complete strangers, is a strange but beautiful thing in and of itself.
Maybe it’s naive to think, but I hope that in the future we are nicer to each other on social media — that these platforms are safer, that advancements in social media and technology also correlate with advancements in society socially, politically, economically, and environmentally, and that social media can be harnessed to affect positive change.
I leave this class with more questions than I had coming in, but I’m OK with that. There will always be questions, and in time, answers will come. Perhaps you in the future have the answers. Or maybe you wish to go back to the simpler times of 2016. All I can do now is speculate.
Thanks to everyone in #IS6621 and Professor Kane for a wonderful semester (not counting the election). It’s been a fun self-driving ride. See you all in the future.