So Long, Farewell!

I dragged my feet writing this blog for a few reasons. Yes, yes, busy of course, but that wasn’t the real driver for my delay. I didn’t know what to write and I am not looking forward to this class ending. I’ve really enjoyed our small group discussions, readings, and getting to know my classmates in a meaningful way. While the name of this class is Social Media and Digital Business, I really think that it was about community.

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We all use the Agora Portal every day here at the Heights. It’s how we access grades, Canvas (another learning community), course information, the campus directory, and so much more. It’s basically a hub to our lives at BC. Of course, the naming of the portal was intentional. In Ancient Greece, the agora was the town center where everyone gathered to conduct business, socialize, and engage in political conversation. It was the center of work, play, and education.

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So here we are, some 3,000 years later. We’re living through technological advances that even our parents never could have dreamed of and will likely see more in our lifetimes that aren’t even on our horizons yet. These new technologies have infiltrated our lives and have dictated a new set of societal values and expectations. Our agora is no longer a market filled with stalls and vendors, a destination that you enter and exit willingly. Now, thanks to wireless internet and ubiquitous mobile devices, our agora is an integrated digital universe.

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We’ve discussed many features of our new digital society throughout the semester, especially how social tools are being leveraged for commercial uses. We’ve talked about Facebook Marketplace, monetizing Instagram, and Snapchat’s IPO. There’s no longer a strict separation between work and play. Necessarily, we’ve considered the evolving code of conduct for digital interactions. Since this world is changing so rapidly, there are still a lot of unknowns and grey areas. It makes my head spin!

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This fall HBO premiered a science-fiction drama called Westworld. Its unique premise suggests a vaguely futuristic world in which scientists have engineered robots that are incredibly humanoid. Wealthy humans can pay to visit a park in which they’re invited to live out their basest desires, which often includes raping, torturing, and killing the robots. Quickly the viewer learns that the robots bleed, appear to feel pain, and are able to recall previous traumatic experiences. The show raises several ethical questions on the nature of reality and the blurred distinction between technology and humanity, including whether the hosts are robots or artificially grown humans. In this new Westworld community, it is disturbing to watch the “real people” treat the robots in a way that would not be socially acceptable elsewhere.

A society like Westworld might not be as far off as we think. That’s why I feel it’s important to remember our roots, dating back to the original agora of the Ancient Greek marketplace. Technology is a great tool that can be used for communication and commerce, but can easily function as a weapon. I’m sure that I’ll misuse technology, especially since the guidelines for proper use are vague, constantly changing, and open to interpretation. I’m hopeful that, if I strive to be mindful and intentional in my digital interactions, that I’ll have a greater positive than negative influence on my digital society.

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PS A little shameless plug here: even though our class ends today, don’t forget that we’re all part of the greater BC community. No matter where your journey takes you, you can remain connected to Eagles all over the globe. This is one great aspect of technology! Make sure to like BC Alumni on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay current on campus advances. Also check out our alumni chapters page here. If you are planning to leave the Boston area after graduation, this is an awesome resource to connect with other alumni with whom you’ll have one significant thing in common: your love of BC.

Image credits:

http://giphy.com/search/so-long-farewell

http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/sonicfanon/images/1/12/Tumblr_l3jzpbrrNT1qafpe7.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20160720084831

https://giphy.com/media/9wT4JMS8piDVm/giphy

http://www.bc.edu/alumni/events/signature_events/AlwaysAnEagle.html

10 comments

  1. fernaneq4 · ·

    I love the ethics part of our class and in general technology. My brother keeps nagging me to watch West World yet never told me what it’s about and now you’ve convinced me to start. I also enjoyed your plug at the end about BC. We do easily forget to connect to BC alumni — we’re only looking for them when it is for a job or some kind of work connection. Hopefully when we’re alumni we can reach out in more ways than that. Great post!

  2. I do think the guiding principle for my design of this class has been to establish community. It’s actually really hard to do when grades are involved, because I do think that grades often get in the way of actual learning.

  3. dabettervetter · ·

    I love the post, Katie! It really is hard to accept that such a great class is coming to an end! I think one of the best things about BC is the community that is created in the classroom and around campus. Thankfully, we have technology to help us maintain these connections past this class. I hope to still see tweets from our classmates on twitter and through things like the Alumni Network stay in contact with one another as we all go our separate ways! In a weird way, things that used to end are never fully concluded and there is not as much closure as there used to be in the past. Not sure yet if that is a bad thing or a good thing, as of now it’s simply different.

  4. Love your final post! It really reeled me in with your title and picture, love sound of music. Your graphics in general really appealed to me and really I think your voice was heard with them. Your last plug, “PS A little shameless plug here: even though our class ends today, don’t forget that we’re all part of the greater BC community. No matter where your journey takes you, you can remain connected to Eagles all over the globe. This is one great aspect of technology! Make sure to like BC Alumni on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay current on campus advances. Also check out our alumni chapters page here. If you are planning to leave the Boston area after graduation, this is an awesome resource to connect with other alumni with whom you’ll have one significant thing in common: your love of BC” is a great one! I could not agree more. I feel we can stay connected in ways other generations truly could not.

  5. Great post! I definitely also think that ethical standards and codes of conduct are an important part of how we should approach social media and tech. It’s interesting, considering it takes a while for actually legislation to catch up with digital developments – people don’t always have a guide to follow. We need to gauge what’s appropriate or not, but it can definitely be tricky sometimes, since grey areas are everywhere in this space. You’re right in that we need to remember our roots as human beings when considering and using tech – that will probably lead us in the best direction.

  6. skuchma215 · ·

    Great post! I think the community in the class is something I enjoyed the most. You don’t have many classes where you can interact with your classmates on the level we did, especially outside of the classroom on twitter. There was never a class where I didn’t learn something new or interesting from a group discussion. Also give us a spoiler alert with that Westworld gif! I didn’t know that happens to Dolores!

    1. Oh noooooo! I’m SO sorry, you’re absolutely right, I didn’t even think about spoilers! Honestly, everyone I’ve spoken to about Westworld 1. has seen every single episode or 2. hasn’t seen any at all. Womp womp. See, here I am, already making mistakes and learning! :)

  7. daniellep2153 · ·

    Awesome Post! I also loved this class and don’t want to see it end. I think we have become very comfortable with one another and a community was definitely formed. Another part of you blog that resonated with me was the part about West World. I just began watching it and I agree that it may not be as implausible as some may think. Hopefully, because shows like this one exist, we will be able to avoid situations like the ones in the show. Overall great post!

  8. rohansuwarna · ·

    Great final blog post! I think the fact that this classes stressed a community aspect with all of the discussions and small group discussions is primarily why we all loved it so much. I loved the GIF’s you used and they made me really connect to your blog! My favorite part of your blog is how you stressed that we should always remember our roots. Technology companies and social media platforms should listen to that statement! They need to remember why they started their company in the first place before they start putting their own interest before those of the customers’.

  9. bishopkh1 · ·

    This was an awesome post. People have been recommending Westworld for a while, but you were able to spin it in a completely different way. I agree that our class has turned into a community, and social media is definitely to thank. Though we only met a couple of times this semester, the blogs and tweets let us keep up with each other for the past few months and I’ve really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing!

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