Social Media for Managers has been a really special class to say the least, and I am so glad I switched into it before the semester started. Here I am at the end of the semester, still struggling to write proper English, spending one whole minute on each and every sentence, revising and rewording them in a painful process apparently called ‘blogging’.
At the same time though, I’m very sad to see these bimonthly blog posts go. Quite frankly, I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve written 7 of these over the past 12 weeks, which is the most writing I’ve ever done outside of schoolwork. Apart from all the in class discussions, readings, and TED Talks that have taught me so much, this class has also taught me how to access my creative side and think outside of the box and for that, I am very grateful.
As I reviewed my first blog post on my initial thoughts I noticed I briefly mentioned that when I was young, I used to be a voracious reader and I’m not anymore, due to all the distractions and devices that reduce our attention span. But I noticed that as I wrote these blog posts, they helped me focus my attention and deepen my depth of knowledge, instead of just my breadth. (Admittedly, as I went to refer back to my first blog post just now, I got distracted and went on Twitter, checked out some article headlines, then got distracted by a Twitter advertisement and the next thing you know, I was on adidas.com shopping for shoes that I can’t even afford. I swear, even with this, I’ve made progress!) I don’t know if I’ll be able to continue this momentum as I’ll no longer be forced to blog as a grade, but this class has showed me that it is possible to work on my attention span which gives me a lot of hope.
Getting back into Twitter was so much harder than I thought it would be. I deleted it in my sophomore year of high school and found myself struggling to get back into it when I had to use it for class, even though the latest version wasn’t so drastically different from the version I was used to years ago. I now know not to make fun of my parents when they ask me how to maneuver Facebook or some other app that they’ve just downloaded. This stuff definitely isn’t easy, and I’m sure I’ll be asking my children the same seemingly stupid questions one day and they’ll be the ones laughing away. This struggle that I had with Twitter, along with the different perspectives I got from class over the past 12 weeks has made me question and change a lot of the notions I initially came into this class with. Here is what I realized:
This rapid change in technology isn’t a new concept to humans and society as a whole.
I have frequently thought to myself, “I’m so lucky to have grown up without the constant barrage of notifications and texts from iPhone’s, iPad’s and all the other handheld devices that rule our lives now. What are these kids who are so attached to these devices going to do when they grow up? They’re screwed!”. I came to last week’s class ready to make the comment that it’s so scary seeing 1 year olds navigate through YouTube with ease, but can’t even say a coherent word yet. Sure enough, another person made a very similar comment (I think it was Masha). This made me realize that many people in my generation feel the same way about the generation below us, and this sounds eerily similar to the token old guy we’ve all talked to who says things like, “back in my day we didn’t have…” and then proceeds to go off for 5 minutes talking about some privilege or distraction we have in our lives now that is ruining everything that is pure.
So what have I learned? The world really isn’t ending and the next generation will be completely fine. The picture Prof Kane put up in class really shifted my perspective:
As humans, I think history always repeats itself and the same big problems arise in every generation; the only difference is that they take shape in different forms each time. I’ll bet that when the generation of the ‘1 year old iPhone holders’ gets to our age, they’ll be predicting the same horrible fate for the generation after them. “Teleportation is going to be the end of humanity! I can’t agree with this.” they’ll say. Yes, the pace of innovation is increasing exponentially and the future of technology has unlimited potential. But I still have faith, a lot more than I did at the beginning of the semester at least, that humanity will continue onwards as it always does and we will be fine. Ultimately, I have learned that going against the grain and resisting innovation, change, and progress is a huge waste of time and energy. The quicker we embrace change, the quicker we can adapt to it and continue to live the life we want to live.