Write a blog on the “Initial Expectation for Social Media”. Sure. Let’s think about this.
When I hear the words “initial expectation”, I think back on the countless experiences I have had growing up where I walked into an event or situation with preceding judgment before actually experiencing said topic. What I find funny is that more often than not, preceding judgment creates a binary output relative to how you perceive the topic afterward. It’s really either 1) that experience did not meet my initial expectations or 2) wow, that experience surpassed my initial expectations!
Let me put this in an example. Over winter break I went to see the movie Passengers with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Between trailers and being familiar with the cast, I had some initial expectations that set my standards before walking into this movie. The trailer suggested that I would be walking into a film with a similar setup to 2001: A Space Odyssey (I’m guessing the MBA students might be more familiar with this one) with a plot revolving around the potentially harmful nature of AI with some cool things about life and space mixed in as well. On top of that, between the guy who was part of the reason for the success Parks and Recreation had and Katniss Everdeen, I thought I would be walking into a movie with stellar acting. So there were my expectations, an intriguing plot and good acting. The only things you can really ask for in the movies, but what did I think after I saw the movie?
*Spoilers Ahead. But that’s okay because you shouldn’t ever see this movie.*
That was 1 hour and 56 minutes of my life that I will never get back. It was a meaningless love story that had so much potential to be cool but wasn’t. Half of the time I was rooting for Chris Pratt to die, which honestly would’ve made the movie much better. It’s basically like they’re on the space Titanic and instead of sinking and crying with Celine Dione as Jack floats away, the ship gets fixed and the male lead lives despite putting himself in a situation where he really should have died. Oh, and randomly Morpheus from The Matrix shows up then promptly dies (now I know the MBA students have seen The Matrix). But here is my point: I had an initial expectation of the movie and it didn’t reach what I hoped it would have.
“Cool Ben. Your first blog is about a movie you didn’t like. Nice.” Would be the sarcastically thought response I would expect from the stereotypical, apathetic millennial who was hoping for immediate scholarly insight on social media. I’m not quite there yet but bear with me.
Most of us in the ISYS6621 class didn’t just hear about social media, then suddenly dive into it. We grew up with it. Our upcoming was unique in a sense that the way we interacted with social media platforms directly impacted the development of social media itself. In other words, we grew into young adults at the same time social media grew to be the impactful force on society that it has today. We didn’t just hear about it, create a preceding judgment, then decide if it met our standards or not. We simply slowly started experiencing it. So how am I supposed to write about what my initial expectations for social media were if there was nothing to initially expect?
I believe that each of us in the class and for those not in the class but reading anyway, has had a different experience getting involved with social media. What I’m trying to explain is that most of us didn’t just jump into the pool then react to the temperature of the water. Rather, we set the temperature beforehand then waddled our way in through the shallow end. And as we swam we decided to add more features, perhaps a diving board or a slide along the edges. The more developed the pool became in terms of accessibility, the more people began to swim. Get it? It’s an analogy for bigger platforms like Facebook and Twitter… the network effect? Anyways…
I also believe that our experience and perception of social media has changed over time. Not only how we use the platforms has changed (event planning, locational check-ins, picture sharing, etc.), but I’ve found that the degree of which content we share has changed over time as well. I find myself using an app called Timehop quite often which gives me a daily report of all the posts and pictures I have shared on that exact same day in my history of social media. My responses to the things I post tend to vary. Can’t believe I dated her. Oh, that was a fun day. But probably most frequently: Why did I ever post that?
I think that our psychological development in our lifetime has been greatly affected by social media. From the posts that I see from my history, my use of a platform like Facebook varied as I used it over time with a few visible patterns. In middle school, I was very open about what my plans were each day. I would even make plans with other friends on their walls. At the time I thought nothing of it really. That was social media for me. But now I reflect on those posts and actions as an egotistical way to tell everyone else what I was doing because I valued my self-worth and wanted people to also value my plans. I really didn’t like middle school me. Total tool.
But as I grew up a little and matured a whole lot, I found myself going through more patterns. Social media for people, including myself, became this whole existential adventure to discover who you really are.
As we can share literally everything or anything, it has sort of become this mission for some people to have the best content on social media. It’s this tool to alter how you’re perceived by the outside world. What you post now is what people have as data to make their initial judgment on you.
Personally, I choose to let other people do the posting. Yeah, I like to chime in every now and then, but I really prefer media to be the gateway to share creative thoughts and humor, not showing your followers what you ate for dinner or what club you were VIP in last night. Is media nowadays still for sharing or just trying to quantify your popularity by the number of “likes” on a post. I hope to eventually shine some light on media usage throughout this class and get back to sharing funny and creative material again. Moving forward, I’m excited to hear what your thoughts are on how you perceive social media throughout the semester.
So my “initial expectation” is more of a slow change of perception of what at least I believe social media to be. There’s a lot to be learned this semester and a lot of opinions to be had. But for now…