Social Media? How hard could this class be?

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 giphy-3.gifrepeat 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 of15sacco3-blog427.jpg 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.

  1. 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?

  1. 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. aa5c03a158e086045cebf16b5f99e9ef9457b8f841569279a8ca8499398c9f84.jpgMcAfee 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!)

10 comments

  1. mikeknoll98 · ·

    Great post! It is crazy how fast this semester has flown. I really enjoyed your points about the connection between the digital and real world. In class we talked about all the current tech and digital news, but I personally did not spend a lot of time stepping back and connecting the dots and these two. Again good job and see you in class.

  2. rohansuwarna · ·

    Great final blog! I also took away a lot from when we discussed the concept of Virality. Especially via Vine and Twitter, many trends and hashtags really took off. For example, the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral and really made an impact for ALS. There are a lot of good causes which come from videos or ideas going viral. Also, creative videos like the Water Bottle Flip Challenge also took off! The fact that these videos were so creative and natural made people want to try them and affected their popularity positively. Great job again!

  3. fernaneq4 · ·

    Really enjoyed the monkey clicking gif! I think we all had the same thoughts entering our first class. While I had heard great things from people who had taken the class, I still compared it to computers in management first semester (Gallagher was a great teacher but the excel portion… not so fun). While this class certainly took time and thought, it was never hard because it was always so interesting and enjoyable — I think your blog conveys that you would agree. The blogs really give a freedom to each individual to go wherever they would like and that was cool. I empathize and agree with your takeaways, great post!

  4. Thanks for your reflection! I also enjoyed the legality of social media issues in Professor Chang’s lecture and our case analysis of Chris Brown’s song Forever. You mentioned that as social media grows exponentially, regulation on these platforms is lagging behind, simply because they do not know what to expect next. I thought this was a great point. I will also be interested to watch how platforms like Facebook and Twitter confront fake news moving forward. I am glad you enjoyed the class! It was a great time.

  5. Good post! I relate to you on many of the takeaways! Also like you I was most dreading the twitter potion. I have not used twitter since I was in Computers in Management, and it was sort of annoying to a have deal with it again. However, I found the feed constantly engaging and very relatable to everyday life. I think we all are guilty of underestimating the depth and breadth of social media and what it’s role in our society and our world. At least I know I did. I know that this was been on of the most personally rewarding classes I have taken at BC. To think I got into this class by accident. What a happy accident! It has been the only 2hr 20 minute class I have ever taken than never felt long!

  6. sandytanny · ·

    Haha great post! I definitely shared the sentiment of being intimidated by this class at first but I’m so happy I stuck with it. Even after 3 years as a college student, it was this semester where I felt the most in the loop about everything happening on or related to social media. Going through Twitter and reading everyone’s blog posts each week was definitely something I looked forward too. It’s insane to think about how much ground we covered on this topic, but also how much more there is left to still talk about in regards to social media. I’ll definitely never look at it in the same way again.

  7. I really do fight to keep this a rigorous class, and I do think there is risk of people taking it thinking they will slack off. I scared more people out this semester than I ever have before, but the quality has been consistently higher in these sections than in many in the past. Regardless, I’m glad you stayed in (and didn’t regret it).

  8. emilypetroni14 · ·

    Nice post. I definitely dreaded the twitter portion, I had never tweeted before this class, and it’s still not really a thing for me. I do like how we spoke about current events thiugh, the material was always fresh and exciting and for that reason i am sure no semester iss ever the same.

  9. Loved the post. I spoke of some similar topics in my final post as well, especially regarding how social media can empower individuals as well as how the digital world is rapidly expanding. I also agree regarding Twitter, especially because for my Computers in Management class, I only did tweet once a week (that was the requirement). For IS6621, I realized found myself going onto Twitter just to see what was going on, retweeting topics I found interesting or relevant to the course. Safe to say I lost count of my Twitter, and when I last counted, I had hit the requirement for the number of Tweets for the semester in just the past month (as I’m sure is true for most other students as well)! Great to see that the entire class was always so active on Twitter, ready with great material on there. Thanks for all your comments.

  10. skuchma215 · ·

    Great post! I certainly thought this class could be a bit easy coming in, and I had no idea how much work it would be. But it definitely was rewarding. The Twitter aspect turned out to be the best part for me, I ended up becoming increasingly informed. In the beginning of the class it was a drag to go on and tweet four times, but now I can’t stop checking it. I’m glad this class reintroduced me to twitter.

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