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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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:
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