My journey through this class really began during registration period last Spring. I needed an elective that would satisfy my Buisness Analytics concentration requirement. I looked through the course catalog and thought to myself “Social Media? How hard could that be?”.
Fast forward to the first day of class when Professor Kane looked us in the eyes and said “If you took this class thinking ‘Social Media? How hard could that be?’, you should probably drop this class”. I cringed in my seat as we walked through the multiple canvas pages detailing all the expectations and requirements of this class. But I decided I was up for the challenge (and genuinely intrigued in what this class had to offer).
Staying in this class is probably one of the better decisions I’ve made in my 4 years at Boston College. Not a day goes by where something doesn’t relate to the topics we’ve discussed in #ISYS6621. From viral videos to the dark side, this class has opened my eyes to what social media and digital business really means. To be honest, the aspect of the class I was dreading the most was the twitter component. I was worried it would be a repeat of Computers in Management where tweets were sporadic, uninteresting, and forced. But to my surprise, the Twitter feed was engaging and kept me in the loop about current events I would have no idea about otherwise. In my first blogpost, I mentioned that I was most excited to see how social media would play out into this election. Little did I know how important social media (Trump’s late night tweets), cyber security (Clinton’s email), and fake news would be in this election cycle.
There is an endless list of things I will takeaway from this class, but I wanted to mention a few things that really resonated with me.
- Social Media is empowering
Social Media has given us the power to connect and breakdown boundaries that would have otherwise been impossible. It’s not only changed the way we interact socially, but it’s revolutionized the workplace. Natalia Levina’s talk at NYU emphasized this power of open innovation and collaboration while Steven Johnson’s TED talk brought us back to the original social network, London’s coffee houses.
- Virality is a scary concept
Virality is complex. It can bring us so much joy (i.e. DJ Khaled, Mannequin challenges, Alex from Target) but it can also reveal the darkest sides of social media. Jon Ronson’s TED talk reminds us how easy it is for online shaming to get out of hand. Justine Sacco’s Twitter experience revealed a very harsh reality. If you express something controversial (whether right or wrong), people will find any simple reason to attack you. Professor Fichman’s lecture brought up the question of whether social media sites are responsible for controlling this type of bullying and trolling or if it’s a risk users should be willing to take on. This isn’t to discourage people from using social media, but rather to make people completely aware of its ripple effect.
- Technology is developing faster than we can control it
Never did I think that Chris Brown would be a topic of discussion in class. The Wedding Video case along with Professor Kabrina Chang’s lecture made me realize how confusing the legal implications of social media can be. The technology is developing faster than laws and precedents can be set. This again address the issues of where the responsibility lies with the user or the company. Fake news was disseminated at an unnatural rate during this election cycle, but who do we hold accountable?
- The digital world and real world are merging into one world
From virtual reality and self-driving cars to the growing sharing economy, the separation between the digital world and the real world is a blurred line. McAfee opened our eyes to what the work force will look like in the future and how societal changes should be made to accommodate this shift. Additionally, the world of social media has begun to creep into the work place, an issue addressed in MITSloan Mangement Review’s article “Leading in the Age of Super Transparency”. One of the biggest overlaps between these two worlds is the filter bubble. What we see on our social media feed often shapes our opinions and can so easily manipulate the truth. It’s important to learn how to separate these two worlds and remember the most basic of rules: “don’t believe everything you read on the internet.”
Many of my takeaways from this semester have been from our assigned readings and in-class discussions. But it would be shame to not mention the numerous blogposts and presentations that brought in a fresh perspective (thank you for that!)