As I am sitting down to write this post in a Starbucks, I can’t help but notice the long line of people waiting to order at the register. I find it quite weird – I don’t remember the last time I had to stand in a line at Starbucks, I just order ahead through the mobile app and pick my coffee up when I get to the store. Just as I can’t really remember the last time I took or – even worse – had to hail a cab, thanks to Uber. Or the last time I had to borrow or pay back for a split bill in cash, thanks to Venmo. I have friends who don’t really do groceries – they just use Instacart, and while I’m not at that end of innovation yet, I have taken advantage of Amazon Prime more than once to get basic necessities and toiletries delivered, instead of buying them in a store.
The list could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the point. It is that technology has changed the way we, the consumers, interact with businesses, redefining the old and set ways, and often times creating entirely new interactions that create value for us as the users by saving time and adding convenience, and the for businesses in the form of the $$$ we pay for the new and improved services and products. While this is the current state of the world and digital business, the changes will only keep on coming and disrupting more and more aspects of our lives – and that is THE reason why you should take this class, as it will help you be aware of the current state of digital business and help you prepare for the sweeping changes that technology is bound to bring.
Expectations vs. Reality
For a quick checklist of “expectations vs reality”, I revisited my initial thoughts and ideas about the class, and I will summarize the outcome for each point below:
I have to admit that I was going into the class with background and business level
knowledge of Social Media. While I haven’t had the chance to work on ground-breaking technology and products, I could probably be considered a “power user” of some Social Media platforms, as I utilized them heavily to promote brands and products across multiple online channels, and had to know all their capabilities to be able to develop effective campaign strategies. The class will teach you how to master professional platforms like Twitter and WordPress, and, if you haven’t already, I recommend you to take full advantage of that. Based on my experience, I know that while each one of the SM channels is powerful on its own, they work best when they are utilized together in a strategic, “connected” manner. While there were students who actively promoted their blog through their Twitter (or some amazing authors who had their blogs picked up and tweeted out by other students), I personally didn’t make many connections between the two, mostly because I wasn’t required to, and I wouldn’t remember to do it until it was too late. If I had to change one thing about the class, I would try to make more emphasis on connecting the different online platforms we use – stressing the differences in the interaction patterns and capabilities of the two, and the added power of using them together.
However, I was never an active user of Twitter, and this class was able to change it for me – while I still don’t feel the urge to tweet throughout the day, I enjoy scrolling through my feed to see news and updates from the accounts I follow. Thanks IS6621!
It is funny how the most intimidating part of the course turned out to be a personal favorite of mine. Unlike what I expected, I rarely struggled with picking topics for the blog, and I enjoyed writing about the things that I am interested in and have experience with (it was mostly about the brands’ use of Social Media). Based on the feedback, there were at least a few more people who enjoyed these topics and liked learning about them (thank you for reading my posts throughout the semester!).
Similarly, I enjoyed the other students’ contributions – there were some very interesting posts, some unexpected topics, some educational ones, personal posts filled with personal experiences, a lot of clever use of humor, and a lot of great writing. This is my personal thank you to everyone who contributed to the blog, making it such a fun experience for all.
Final FINAL Thoughts
This class is bound to teach you more not only about the ways technology is impacting businesses, but will also raise not-so-apparent, but perhaps more important, issues of the impact of technology on human interactions and the society, as well as discussing legal implications of our online activities. It will definitely expand the way you think about technology, Internet and Social Media, it will probably affect your perception of them, and it might even change the way you tend to use and interact with each. As an MBA student, I found this aspect of the course – that came from cumulative impact of the class discussions, presentations, Twitter feed, and blog posts – the most valuable. All in all, it just goes to show how every portion of the course works together to teach you about Social Media, Digital Business, and beyond. So if you want to learn about Social Media and Digital Business, get ready to tweet, blog, discuss, read, and think (a lot!) – I guarantee you, you will walk away with more knowledge and ideas than you walked in.