Final Thoughts: A Lot Has Changed in 8 Years

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.




  1. viquezj · ·

    Great post! It makes me think about how the world will have changed by the time I do my MBA. Even though we feel updated on social media and digital business after taking this class, we will have to work hard after graduation to follow the current trends and hot topics. As you well said it, this class makes a great job getting us out of our comfort zone to find new topics to share with the class and even to make us feel more familiar with Twitter (for us that don’t use it very often). I think it would be interesting to continue tweeting or just reading new material that is worth the discussion hashtag.

  2. JoshLArtman · ·

    Nice final post! I have to agree with you on the point that Twitter isn’t my preferred social media platform, but after using it for this class I’ve really started appreciating it for the purpose of news aggregation. I’ve enjoyed reading some of your blog posts, so I’m glad to hear they were enjoyable to write. It’s really wild to think about where social media will be in just a few short years… good thing we can just search #IS6621 for a quick update!

  3. joeking5445 · ·

    I agree that reading the blogposts was a enjoyable and informative experience. I am impressed with the creativity and humor that came across through the blogs.

    I share the same relationship that you have with Twitter. I do think that I will delete Twitter after this class. I actually like it as a source of news and up-to-date information. I will not be tweeting though.

  4. talkingtroy · ·

    Nice post. I feel the same about twitter and think this may be the end of my tweeting days but did find it useful for locating interesting articles. I barely keep up with facebook as it is and struggle with the character limits. Congrats on degree #2

  5. isabel_calo1 · ·

    Great post! And again another reason why Professor Kane insists on keeping this a graduate and undergraduate course- very different perspectives on social media. It is crazy how much has changed in just a few years and it makes me think what else is next for social media itself and then technology in general. I wonder if this class will use Instagram and Snapchat for the course work in the next few few years??

  6. ghakimeh · ·

    Excellent post! I can somewhat relate to your experience with Twitter, I signed up 5 years ago to get a reduced cover at a bar and never actually tweeted because I hated the interface. I still don’t have everything down, but I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. I tend to be wordy whenever I talk/write, so tweeting has definitely helped me be more concise and direct, but I do always find myself hitting the 140 character limit. I do agree that the blogs and class discussions were some of the most vibrant and interesting parts of the classroom experience and one that truly makes this class unreplicable. I’m sure I could take this class a year or two from now and have a very distinctly different experience. I can only imagine what this class is like for Prof. Kane!

  7. Awesome post! I definitely agree with you that the Twitter feed forced us to keep up on digital/tech news, and also fostered some of our best discussions, which happened to be my favorite part of the class as well. It’s really cool to see how different this class could’ve been 8 years ago had it been running, just by considering the technologies/social media that could’ve been discussed. I imagine that the class will change pretty dramatically semester to semester, so I’m sure 8 years from now will seem like an entirely different course (maybe we’ll understand blockchain by then)! Thanks for the great perspective. It’s been great getting to know you in the small group discussions all semester, and I wish you the best of luck in your post-post-grad life!

  8. jordanpanza29 · ·

    I thought this was great post to wrap up class! I completely agree with your comment about thinking how useless Twitter was before this class. Partly because none of my friends use it and also because 160 characters is not a lot to get my thought across. For this semester I actually ended up using Twitter as my main source of news. Maybe this was due to the fact I gave up Snapchat and I felt like Twitter could hold its place for a little.

  9. Great post Ben! I agree, it was great to discuss issues like blockchain/cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence and its potential to change the labor force – these are definitely not things that I had considered on my first go around either. I was a Twitter user before the class, but not a regular Tweeter (I probably have 1,000 tweets in total over 5 or 6 years, I have been using). I agree with you that the greatest use for me is as an efficient news aggregator, or even a localized search engine (if the T is delayed, I’ll check Twitter to see why; check the score or fan reaction to Red Sox game etc.). Completely agree, I also learned a lot from the wide range of issues that came up in the blogs and the #D! Best of luck on graduation!

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