It’s once again that time of the semester to look back and say to yourself, “Wow! This semester really flew by!” I am definitely one of those people. Usually, taking a class from 7-9:30 PM on a Thursday would not be the most ideal time for class for an undergraduate, given that multiple recruiting events, speaker series, and a multitude of other activities always happened in the evening. However intimidating the first class was (thanks Prof. Kane), each class was so similar yet so unique from every other class before it. Although we had a structure for each class that was followed extremely well, each class was completely different from the previous. More likely than not, we discussed new things going on in the world, in technology, and of course, on Twitter. Most importantly, though this class gave me another lens with which to look at technology in general. Because the class is called Social Media and Digital Business, I’m going to talk about the main takeaway from both of these sides.
The Media is (Really) Powerful
I think we all came away with this class with a better idea that the media truly is one of the largest influencers of our society today. Whether that’s traditional media that we watch or read about or even Buzzfeed articles, media outlets have such a measurable impact on our lives and we don’t even notice it. I recently tweeted about how Donald Trump’s tweet to not use the new Air Force One absolutely crushed Boeing’s stock. Without social media, this doesn’t happen. The ability for social media to disperse information so much faster than ever before has allowed for a kind of transparency we haven’t ever seen before. And when people have access to information, they interpret it how they want, and also act on it.
With this, however, I regret not understanding something I have now made a very conscious effort to remember when reading anything in the news: is this credible? I’m not sure what the remedy is to the proliferation of fake news (especially in this election cycle, etc.), but I do know that I won’t be taking things at face value much anymore. Although some media outlets may be doing everything in their power to make their sources legitimate and real, it’s hard to trust when most pieces of news you read or hear of seem real. As millenials, it’s hard to take that critical lens because even newer new media outlets like Facebook have become so commonplace for us that it has become very easy to take everything we see on there to be correct. It’s going to be increasingly important to see these media pieces in a different light from now on. That being said, let’s hope companies like Facebook are able to develop algorithms to correct any of these fake news sources going forward.
Most importantly, though, I was reminded once again how much our social media presence is our brand. Regardless of who we are as people, how we act in person, those values will not always get sent through via texts, status updates, and pictures online. This election is such a beautiful representation of that. Both candidates were able to create their own images at rallies and through debates. However, after those speeches, people used their Twitter and Facebook posts to understand what they wanted to say. It’s scarier about doing it online because that can always be accessed. Someone screenshots something you didn’t mean to post and it could be game over.
Digitization is Here
I said this in a blog post earlier: the only constant is change. It scares and excites me that there will be so much change over the coming decades. Whether it be self driving cars, Amazon Go (this is one of the coolest concepts to me, personally), or artificial intelligence, our world is becoming more digital. The impact that this digitization is immense. We spoke early on in the semester about company culture and how people at some firms still do not feel that the companies they work for are digitizing fast enough. I wrote a blog post earlier about artificial intelligence and how jobs that we considered very normal for humans to execute will soon be made even more efficient with the help of robots (in some cases, completely replaced by them). I think it’s important to embrace this digitization – as we become more and more efficient as a collective, more skilled jobs will be needed of humans, all leading to a (hopefully) cycle of growth. Technology has had such a huge impact on the way we interact every day, and it’s very exciting to see where we’ll go.
Whether it be Snapchat’s potential IPO or estimates of Salesforce’s valuation in the coming years, I feel a conversation about technology and digitization is incomplete without talking about valuations. At first, I felt that many of these companies were being overvalued (which could still be true). However, I think the main test for these companies comes with beating certain hurdles which propels their overall value forward. As Professor Kane mentioned in our last class, some people worried about Facebook’s initial stock when it IPO’d. However, as it was able to beat certain milestones (getting a reliable revenue stream, going to mobile, etc.), the stock price propelled forward. With an increasing amount of competition in multiple technology firms, it’ll become increasingly important for these firms to figure out what’s next. If you don’t figure it out, someone else will.
One of the best classes I’ve taken at BC. Regardless of major, interests, or current courses, this is one of those classes you just have to take. It’ll teach you that being connected is so important in today’s age, and how you can use social media and technology to benefit you in so many ways. Thank you all.