As I get ready to graduate for a second time, and I look back on this class, I realize a lot has changed in the world of social media and digital business since my first go around some eight years ago. Back then, Facebook was only six years old, Twitter was four, and Instagram and Snapchat hadn’t been released yet. In the world of digital business, even fewer people than today could comprehend blockchain and Bitcoin, because its application was only a year old, and both Airbnb and Uber had less than two years under their belts. Although most of my knowledge of social media and digital business had come from real world applications, both as a user and a bystander, this class added a deeper understanding of the topics through an academic perspective. All aspects of this class, Twitter posts, blog posts, and in-class discussions, had a rather large impact on my understanding of the world of social media and digital business.
To be completely honest, I hated Twitter before this class. I signed up for Twitter about five years ago, tweeted a half dozen times, and promptly quit. While I wouldn’t say that I now love Twitter because of the interaction I’ve had with it, I have definitely come to respect the value it can provide. The Twitter aspect of this class provided value in two ways; having to search for topics to post on a weekly basis and reading other’s posts to find interesting topics on which to comment or #D. Having to search weekly for topics to post, kept me up to date on technology news that I would have otherwise ignored, and perusing the #IS6621 page for posts by others provided an even quicker way to stay on top of newsworthy events. I’ve found value in Twitter as an efficient news aggregator to be able to easily search for any range of topics from digital business and beyond.
Writing blogs was one of the more time consuming aspects of this class, but they provided me with quiet time to think and reflect on topics that I found to be important or that I thought were worth sharing in greater detail with the class. With the exception of my first two blog posts (what I expect from this class and the Amazon customer experience), I had to conduct some form of research into a topic I thought was interesting in order to actually build out the body of my posts. Through this research, I was able to discover what Facebook mid-roll ads are and what the marketing strategy is behind them, how thredUP is changing the world of online consignment through an innovative customer service, logistics and business strategy, how Foursquare is leveraging its customer location data to launch a dashboard for businesses, and what Slack is and how it may replace email in the future. Writing my personal blog posts has been great, but I found more value in reading the posts of my classmates. There truly are some talented writers in this class, who chose to share on everything from strategies involving all forms of social media, to the internet of things, blockchain, Uber, Airbnb, and Amazon. Through other’s blogs I was able to learn that my computer and phone screen should be dimmed to help me fall asleep at night, how to launch and maintain an effective digital marketing strategy, how social media can play a role in helping with closure after a loved one’s passing, and countless other social media and digital business topics.
Lastly, class discussions were the aspect from class that I most looked forward to every week. Whether the discussion came from a #D post, a small group article, or a large group article, the debate and discussion was always interesting and participation was high. From debates about social media’s use in the election, to the United Airlines gaffe, to even the legal rights of social media users, I felt that I was able to glean the most knowledge about digital business from these weekly discussions. Coming into this class, I didn’t know much about topics like blockchain and its use in cryptocurrency nor did I ever think much about artificial intelligence and how it is changing the labor force, but the weekly discussions helped me to understand the complexities of topics like these and allowed me to recognize how much business and society has changed since my last graduation.
It’s hard to tell where the world of social media and digital business is headed from here, but nonetheless, I’m sure it will be an interesting journey that will be well covered by Professor Kane and future students in this class.