I have often found the the question “what comes next?” frequents milestones. In this case, it has to do with graduation coming in just a few weeks. I could give you the plain answer, that I am going to do a cross-country road trip and then take a few weeks to relax before starting work at the end of July, and although it technically answers the question what comes next, the truth is I have no idea. Plenty of people graduate, I have three siblings who have, so I have a guess as to what happens next, but everyones path is different and I’ll be forced to figure it out just like everyone else.
Over the course of this semester, I have also found that this question is fitting for social media and digital business as well. At the start of the semester I could not have told you what the next social media trend was going to be, or what companies were going to do to digitize there business and compete in the online world. And to be honest, I could not tell you now either, but I have realized that that is what makes social media and digital business so fascinating. People can predict trends and be accurate, but the future holds nearly endless possibilities. There will always be a next Uber, even if (and more and more seeming like when) Uber is no longer a company, and it seems ridiculous to think that there will not be a new Snapchat like company too.
I remember in one of the first classes Professor Kane told us that there would be something on social media that would get our attention, something that had to do with PR. He said that there always was and you never know what its going to be. I kind of laughed at the suggestion, it was not that I did not believe him, but rather that it seemed silly to think of a big PR moment on twitter being a certainty. Then United happened, I had been waiting for Professor Kane to be right, and wow was he ever right. That PR nightmare was fabulous, and the class provided a front row seat to the whole thing. It was after that fiasco that I thought that maybe the only certainty was that keeping up to date with social media was more important than ever. It gives us a front row to the news like never before.
My first blog post focused solely on my introduction to social media, from my AIM screen name to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, it covered my social media history up until the start of class. I talked about my thoughts relating to the service and how my uses of social media have changed over the years. And most of what I said is still true now, three months later. I do however have a new understanding of social media. An understanding that was found in class discussions and in everyones blog posts over the semester. I might no change my posting habits on Instagram, and I probably wont start posting much on Facebook and Snapchat either. But I now understand more about why people do, and how these social media platforms can be used advantageously.
Lets talk about twitter for a moment, of all of the social media platforms, my use of twitter changed the most. I never really posted on twitter, I did not feel like I had much to share. I do not mean that in a sad way, I just did not really understand the desire behind sharing, I did not have much to complain about and I was not very funny so it did not seem like I needed the twitter platform. Although I do not know what my twitter use will be like going forward, this class introduced the real benefit of the platform to me. At the start of the semester I would have told you that I thought twitter was going to be gone in a few years, and not just the company but the type of platform it provided. I figured Facebook would take over as the platform people used to post thoughts and rants. Now however, I feel like the platform will exist even if the company may not. Over the semester I saw how important twitter could be, as a platform for influencers like Elon Musk, and politicians like Donald Trump, and maybe more importantly how it enabled a class to interact in a way that I have not seen before.
Others have said it in their blogs, but I think it is worth repeating here. I have not taken another class like this in my academic career, but I am glad I took this one. I may not understand bitcoin and blockchain, however, I now understand what social media and digital business have to offer.
So I guess the my final thought is… what comes next?