A Bittersweet End

The Class:

Without question, social media & digital business has been my most enjoyable class this semester.  The autonomy that we are granted for our blog posts, presentations, tweets and class discussion allow us to develop our own insights and discuss current tech and social media topics that are impacting our daily lives.  I have truly enjoyed reading and hearing everyone’s unique background and opinions on the various topics we have discussed over the course of the semester.  I want to thank everyone in my class (shoutout to the 4:30 section) for sharing over the course of the semester.  Also, I want to thank everyone who has read and commented on my blog posts.  I have truly appreciated everyone’s thoughtful responses.  Lastly,  I would like to thank Professor Kane for encouraging me (and everyone else) to delve deeper into social media and confront issue and topics that we likely would not otherwise.

Looking Back:

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If you watch South Park, you’ll get this.  If you don’t, I highly suggest watching this season.

My first first blog clearly shows my lack of knowledge of social media and digital business. It focuses entirely on social media (and how I utilized it at two different jobs).  I highlight the fact I used only Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram and don’t see the value in other forms of social media.  Quickly, however, I began to realize the impact social media can have beyond what is visible on the surface.  Initially, this left me with a sour reaction to social media.  Simply walking from Fulton Hall to O’Neill Library, you will inevitably see at least one person looking down at their screen as they walk.  This upset me for two reasons.  First, I perceived the lack of interaction between people that pass each other as an example of the disconnect that social media and technology has caused. Second, it’s freezing! Why would anyone text at the expense of frostbite?

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This course has allowed me to readjust my view on social media and approach the topic from a new perspective.  Throughout the semester, through the discussion of topics such as how social media has changed human interaction, I began to view the chilly and lonely walk to O’Neill in a new way.  Although people tend to favor a glimpse at their iPhone over an exchange of pleasantries, it isn’t the worst thing ever!  Personally I am still a fan of stopping to say hello, but I digress.  People aren’t losing connection with one another.  The methods of communication and connection have simply changed.  The image above illustrates how digital technology has built upon previous forms of interaction and enabled us to connect in newer and more advanced ways.

Writing my blog, Welcome to (my) Houseparty!, made me realize that social media doesn’t inhibit human connection, but rather supplements traditional human connection.  After adding the app to the short list of social media apps I actually use, I realized that it stimulated simultaneous connection with multiple people at the same time.  I was baffled that an app would allow me to connect with seven friends, who very likely are all in different places, at the same time.  If that’s doesn’t persuade someone that social media can nourish human interaction.

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My other initial concerns with social media and digital business were the impact technology has on people’s connection with the outdoors and a fear of private information becoming public.  Over the course of the semester my perspective began to change.  An Instagram post from National Geographic, which prompted my blog Connecting with Nature, gave me faith that social media can (and hopefully will continue to) connect individuals with nature through initiatives such as #WilderNextGen.  Additionally, our class discussions of aligning a company’s values with the needs of their users has changed my perspective on privacy, specifically in relation to Facebook.  I have always been nervous that the information that I post on Facebook will one day be exposed, but Professor Kane’s point that Facebook is only valuable if it meets the privacy needs of its users (otherwise they would no longer use the app) has changed my perspective.  I realized that it is in the bet interest of both Facebook and I, to keep private the information that I desire to be private.

Looking Forward:

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A blog my friend’s started upon leaving for abroad

I have grown incredibly passionate about social media and how technology enables us to share and connect.  Fortunately, I have been afforded the opportunity to study abroad in Rome for the spring semester.  I will also fly into Copenhagen two weeks before my program begins and backpack by myself down to Rome.  The enjoyment I have gotten out of blogging has inspired me to start my own blog and share my adventures with friends back home.  Combining my experiences with photos I plan to take in the form of a blog, my friends and, more importantly, my family will be able to follow my journey and stay in touch even though we are half a world apart.

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The class has also completely altered my plans for the coming summer. As the first class towards my business analytics concentration, I had little background information on topics that would be covered both in class and in the concentration.  Upon developing a growing interest in both social media and analyzing the structure and efficiency of businesses, I have dramatically changed the summer internships that I am looking into.  Initially I was looking into the traditional internships a finance major would, such as investment banking and corporate finance positions within large companies.  However, now I am looking into opportunities at VICE as a digital sales and operations intern and at (RED) as an operations intern.  My change of career interest can be traced back to our social media and digital business class, which sparked an interest within me about the impact that social media and digital technology have on a variety of diverse businesses.

A Bittersweet End:

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The end of this class may be more bittersweet than the finale of Westworld.

 

Typing these last few lines to end my blog is something that I have been fearing for a while.  Throughout the semester I would consistently look forward to Thursday night’s class, where I would actually get course credit for using and discussing social media and technology (still blows my mind!).  I will miss the variety of opinions from such a well-rounded class.  I will miss the passion and enthusiasm of Professor Kane.  Although the end is bittersweet, and I feel like I have more questions now then when the class began, I feel that I have learned valuable skills that will forever change the way I view social media and digital business.

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that counts. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln

5 comments

  1. Great concluding post. I’ve enjoyed having you in the class. Let me know how the internship turns out!

  2. I really enjoyed your final post! I started out the semester with similar feelings about social media; specifically, I hated the fact that people spent so much of their time engrossed in their phones rather than interacting with those around them. I also came around and seemed to get the most out of the open-ended-ness of this whole class, especially the blog post. Beyond that, I hope your time abroad goes well and you capture the best parts on your blog!

  3. magicjohnshin1 · ·

    Great wrap up blog! It truly was a bittersweet ending. I’m with you on that. I’ve definitely grown so much over this semester and learned even more about social media and its impact on the world. It’s funny that you put the South Park reference of Donald Trump because this election truly was so influenced by social media. I think that picture you have of the world before social media is so true. Everything has shifted onto the cloud and has changed everything. Wonderful last post and have a nice break, cheers!

  4. wfbagleyiii · ·

    Excellent way to close out the semester! I feel that everyone’s on the same page in terms of this being a journey, from beginning to end! And I fully agree with your sentiment toward privacy – our lives online are certainly open to public consumption, for better or worse.

    Congratulations on consideration for VICE too – I think they’re a great organization, despite the controversies and are shaping the way media groups exist. Good luck and very much enjoyed your closing insights!

  5. First of all I love that first picture of all the social media platforms as items in an office. I think it shows perfectly how these platforms have replaced things in our lives but also how relevant each one is. I’m glad you feel your perspective has changed so much and even that it has inspired you to pursue some new interests.

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