My initial thoughts on social media and digital business are mostly thoughts of intrigue. I used to think I knew what social media was, and what the purpose of it was. It had always just seemed to be something that existed in the world around me, and I had never really taken the time to consider the many layers of complexity that it contained. For most of the people in this class, we are part of a generation where it really is the norm for us to be able to Google any question who have, to feel more in touch with our favorite celebrities through their Twitter or Instagram presence, and to communicate with other people at extraordinarily fast speeds. I simply cannot envision growing up without the option for efficient communication to be a couple of smartphone clicks away. However, I have never been a huge fan of sharing everything with everyone through multiple social media outlets, and there are some things online that I had never really gotten the point of – with Twitter being one of those, for example.
But this perspective began to shift even after using twitter for the first time before the second class. I have come to realize that I really do not know social media nearly as well as I believed. As someone whose past social media usage was certainly existent but nowhere near extensive, I have been somewhat overwhelmed with all of the tweeting and social media awareness that we have begun to become exposed to in only the first two weeks of class. Before our class on social media and digital business began this semester, I had only gone on twitter to read random comments that other people thought were extraordinarily funny or sassy or touching. I had heard about some of the company’s struggles after it had gone public, and I very much considered Twitter to be a platform that would definitely die out in the next few years, if not sooner. I do not think I truly tried enough to appreciate how useful social media can be for a business, and how much potential there is for it to serve as an effective and efficient tool to reach consumers. And as I attempt to share my thoughts through WordPress, I have realized that I truly am not as tech-savvy as I thought I was (I encountered difficulties in trying to figure out how to use both Twitter and WordPress, so evidently I still have much to learn about the digital world). Anyways, even through just using twitter a couple times more than before and trying out a new communication platform, I think I have begun to see how pervasive social media really is in our lives. For any given business, large or small, I really think it would be a huge error for them not to take advantage of the benefits that await them through social media and digital business.
However, I also think it is extremely important for both business users and regular users to not immediately believe every single thing they read on the web. As we have seen recently through all of the drama involving fake news before the presidential election, not everything on the Internet can be taken at face value. It is still important to check the credibility of whatever it is you have read. Additionally, it is also essential for business users and regular users to be careful of what content they put into their online posts. Because even if a comment or post is deleted extremely quickly, there is still a huge risk that someone, somewhere has seen, taken a screenshot of, and spread to his or her friends the very same post you may be trying to hide. There is an unforgiving side to social media and digital business, and consequently, we cannot forget that what we put out into the world wide web cannot be erased as easily as we may have hoped. The relationship human beings have with social media and digital business is therefore bound to be a complicated one – and I am sure that is not a matter that will be changing anytime in the near future (if ever).
I think it will be interesting to explore more of the layers of social media and digital business as the course goes on. I am sure that there will be elements and perspectives on this topic that I still have not come into contact with, and I am excited to discover more about what this could entail. Perhaps I will even begin to use (or at least have greater appreciation for) many of the social media platforms I had previously discounted as nothing more than a waste of time. Because it looks like there may indeed be a purpose for websites such as Twitter after all.