I feel like I have learned a lot from this course, but here are just a few of the many thoughts I am walking away with:
1). It’s probably a good idea to have a “social media mishap” response plan in place.
One thing I have definitely learned from this class? A strong response plan is key. If you are a business, this is definitely something you need to immediately prioritize if you do not already have a good plan in place. Because if there is one trend that has emerged from our class discussions throughout the semester, it is the fact that small social media mistakes have the ability to quickly escalate and become major issues—and sometimes, the aftermath of such a disaster can very quickly become very, very expensive.
Social media mishaps seem like they are kind of inevitable: sometimes, the mistake could stem from just a misunderstood tweet that accidentally catapults the business into a major scandal; other times, the mistake could be a poorly conceived communication attempt (read: Pepsi’s ad with Kendall Jenner that was just a really bad idea to begin with. How in the world could the creative team behind that ad have thought that the public would react any differently than it did?). And once a company has been put on the public’s (temporary) hate list, its current and past actions will then continue to be closely scrutinized for more mistakes for a period of time.
So whatever the cause, the negative effects of something going viral on social media can be huge. Fortunately, these negative consequences can also be greatly reduced if the company is able to successfully react to the situation in a “good” manner.
2). Change is the only constant in the digital age (and I guess before then too).
This class has definitely helped me see that technological change is a real thing. And it is continuously happening.
Whether it was reading about AI, trying (and honestly, kind of failing) to understand how Blockchain and bitcoin works, or learning any of the other material we covered this semester, one of the major themes I noticed was that things have been changing for a long time, and things will certainly continue to change. One of our jobs, as a result, is to make sure we keep up with all of the pretty cool things that are going to happen around us.
One of the best parts of this class has been hearing the wise wisdom of the graduate students. Some of them have childhood experiences that were formed outside of the digital world my fellow undergraduates and I grew up in, and I have found their interesting perspectives to be an invaluable part of the course. Through these graduate students—even the ones who are only a few years older than the rest of us—it has been possible for me to really understand that technology is very different from how it used to be only a couple of decades ago.
3). Social media can actually be meaningful.
I think I started this class as someone who was a little jaded by what social media could do. After seeing and hearing about way too many ridiculous posts by celebrities and various other public figures, I think I had allowed their inconsequential social media activities overshadow all of the good that is also a part of the digital world.
This class has helped remind me that social media deserves a little more credit. It can, in fact, be used to express opinions and help give a voice to an individual who may have felt silenced in a pre-digital age. This was especially true from our assignments on Twitter. I have really felt as though that platform has the potential to provide people with the ability to quickly and efficiently share important news with one another. There are so many things going on, especially after the results of the election last fall, that it is almost impossible to truly keep with up all of the latest issues and events. With the help of Twitter, however, the struggle of being an informed citizen can be significantly reduced. I can count on the #IS6621 hash tag to help me see news that I missed, and for that I am grateful that this class has forced me to finally join the Twitter universe.
I have also come to realize that the digital world we live in will make keeping in touch with my BC friends and classmates a lot easier after this semester ends. Maybe I’m just saying this because the graduation countdown has made me an emotional mess, but regardless, I am definitely grateful that I will not be relying on a yearbook to remember what has been an amazing experience.
Overall, I have to admit that this class has been one of my favorite courses at Boston College. It has kind of felt like a capstone, and the material we covered was both interesting and relevant.