Final Reflection (with a Disney twist)

Although I think that social media has both its negative and positive implications for us personally, it has great potential for businesses.

This is how I summed up my first blog post for this class back in September. Throughout the past few months, I’ve found that yes, social media has both positive and negative implications for us personally, and yes, it has great potential for businesses. Of course, these are some pretty general statements that can applied to basically everything, and over the course of this class I’ve learned about how it’s more complicated than that. So, I thought I would take a look at how what we talked about in class helped me realize the nuances of my initial thoughts on social media (with some Disney gifs I made back in high school sprinkled throughout to help keep things interesting).

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The Negative Implications

Mental Impact

In my initial blog post I talked about how social media can be bad for our mental health due to things like FOMO or being envious of other people’s lives. In class, we talked about how trolls are “ruining the internet” and about online harassment with Professor Fichman. There was the discussion about whose responsibility it is to prevent online harassment: is it the social media sites? The government? During the course of the class, we saw how Instagram rolled out features to help prevent bullying by filtering out certain keywords. Whether or not it is Instagram’s responsibility to prevent trolling, these features are a step in the right direction and will hopefully help prevent people from being harassed.

 

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Privacy

I’ve always known about how privacy is a concern when it comes to social media. My parents used to warn me about not putting my name online and god forbid uploading my photo to the internet. Of course, these things have happened since then and it’s seen as completely acceptable by many people. The last video I watched for class, Group C’s Future Without Secrets, covered how easy it can be to find out information about people just from a photo online. It was kind of scary – not only how little privacy we all have now, but how okay everyone is with uploading so much information online. The speaker did mention though how it can be possible for big data to work with privacy, though, such as features like being able to browse the Internet incognito or letting electronic transmissions take place in a privacy-preserving way.

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So yes, social media definitely has negative implications for us personally. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to start cutting down on online harassment and it is possible to balance privacy with big data. Although we can try to do little things on our own to combat the negative aspects, it does primarily rest on the shoulders of these social media companies.

Positive Implications

Giving a Voice to the Voiceless

This seems like it would be such a great concept. And it can be! We saw an example of how social media gave a voice to women who had been sexually harassed and hadn’t been listened to. But this giving a voice to the voiceless concept can also backfire. I’m sure most of you remember the Justine Sacco example pretty clearly, and this is a good demonstration of how sometimes people can use this power in a detrimental way. It simply got way too out of hand.

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Connections

I also wrote in my initial blog post about how social media helps us stay connected to people who may live far away that we otherwise would have lost touch with. However the Ted Talk we just watched by Turkle mentions how although we are connected, we may still be alone. She talked about how our devices are so psychologically powerful that they change who we are and how we have trouble in relating to others. Although we may be connected with more people because of social media, the depth of those relationships may not be quite the same as what you might have with someone you mostly communicate with in person.

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Social media has some great benefits for us, but a lot of these benefits do have drawbacks. People can abuse the voice that social media gives them to shame people and cause mental health issues. It also can impact both the way that we relate to other humans as well as the way we think and process information.

Great Potential for Businesses

Facebook

Something that I had found particularly interesting was during the Ted Talk about designing for scale and how the tiny like button had taken over 280 hours to design. Even though it’s tiny, it’s seen billions of times every day and millions of people will notice it. With such a huge user base, Facebook has to be very careful with every feature, no matter how small.

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Sony

The JK Wedding Dance was an interesting one. I knew about it from The Office, but I didn’t know about all of the Sony/Chris Brown related things behind it. Sony had its options when it came to what to do about this video, and had to consider the consequences for each one. The video had a lot of potential for them, as it could help Chris Brown’s image and maybe even lead to increased sales, but they had to be careful about what move to make. If they had the video taken down, it would have reflected poorly on them.

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Social media does hold a lot of potential for businesses, but it very much also depends on how smartly the businesses use social media. You have to tread carefully, as social media is so public and everyone can quickly react to what you did. With great power comes great responsibility.

 

8 comments

  1. Loved reading this blog! I totally agree that with social media, there are so many dualities with it. On one hand there are a ton of benefits to it like giving voice to people, keeping people connected, etc, but on the other hand, there are a ton of concerns as well like you mention. A lot of times as business majors we do not think of these, but with this class we have become more conscious of these dualities.

  2. gabcandelieri · ·

    Great post and creative theme! I like how you gave a balanced opinion of the negative, negative/positive, and business potential of social media. I agree that social media is way more complex than I had thought prior to this class. Because it has been such an effective tool for businesses and a great way for efficient communication I do not see its progress slowing any time soon. Therefore, social companies now have a unique corporate responsibility to take care of their users mental well being if they plan to continue employing social strategies. What does scare me, relating to your thoughts on the mental impact of social, is the possibility of a Black Mirror type of world in which these technologies and the obsession with how others perceive us via social consumes us. I would say my worries lie in becoming an increasingly superficial society.

  3. Nice summary. Sounds like you hit on some of my key takeaways, too!

  4. “Although I think that social media has both its negative and positive implications for us personally, it has great potential for businesses.” Could not agree more with this opening statement! I strongly believe that like most things, social media and digital business can help you and can hurt you BUT is crucial in our modern day lives when it comes to business. I feel your creative theme application to this summarized course information made it an easy read and really ingrained it in us as we read!

  5. magicjohnshin1 · ·

    Love the title of your final blog and the allusion to Disney. That’s so awesome that you created these memes! I also found Dr. Fichman’s class super interesting. Because its topics that we deal with all the time. Trolling and trying to figure out if news is real or not. I love the positive implication of giving a voice to the voiceless. I think this is one of the largest blessings of social media and technology. Great last post and wrap up, cheers!

  6. Nice post! I do think the voice social media gives people who are oppressed is a really amazing benefit of social media. That said certain sites (cough Twitter), really need to find a way to prevent constant trolling and negativity that can result from the anonymity that comes with social media.

  7. mashamydear · ·

    Great concluding blog post! I agree with you about the anti-harrasement features social media platforms have developed. It definitely stuck with me the fact that simply offering users the wording to express their reservations about a photo or video changed how reported content was resolved. It’s also interesting that you mentioned how big data has the possibility to augment privacy instead of hinder it. I think people focus heavily on how big data can find out social security numbers and other sensitive information, but not on the fact that once they know how to obtain private information from digital content they can be just as good as creating ways to protect users. You have to know the poison before you can develop an antidote.

    Additionally, I thought the like button development was also very interesting – especially when you consider the time and resources that went into making sure the feature worked on the older phones of individuals who live in developing countries. And as for your suggestion for businesses to tread carefully when it comes to social media, it reminded me of the talk Lindsay Sutton from Digitas gave to our class. Puma had an opportunity to insert its voice, but because the opportunity was not in line with what they’re in the business of doing, Linsey thought it was best to refrain.

  8. Really great summary!! I think you summed up the takeaways from the semester really effectively, and I touched on a lot of the same topics in my analysis! I definitely appreciated the way you split up your blog post into the positive and negative side of social media and digital business, because I think it can be easy to sway to one end of the spectrum or another. I loved your conversation of connections as a positive thing, because (as we discovered last class) I think it can be easy to see social media as something that is negatively imopacting it. Awesome!

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