The best way for me to accurately describe my feelings about our first class is by equating it to my favorite scene from the movie “Dodge Ball.” In said scene, world-renowned dodge ball player, Patches O’Houlihan, is attempting to teach The Average Joe’s how to be play the game like champions. Patches is an eccentric, unpredictable character who uses some unusual teaching tactics. We see a montage of the uncoordinated players trying to dodge wrenches, balls, and other inanimate objects that the crazy old man throws at them. We watch them fail repeatedly, getting hit over and over again for about 30 seconds. A great cinematic experience.
Professor Kane was the Patches O’Houlihan of our Social Media & Digital Business class. I think its safe to say everyone thought he was a bit crazy and we were all kind of scared. Assignments were coming at us from every angle, and there was really nothing we could do but take the hit, get back in line, and get ready for another one to be thrown our way.
If you have ever seen the movie, you might remember the part when one of the guys—the one who is for some reason convinced he is a pirate—asks Patches why all of this was necessary, and Patches replies “If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball.” I could have imagined the same thing happening in our first class. Someone would say, “Professor Kane, why do we have to do all of this?” and Professor Kane would hastily reply, “If you can make it through the first class, you can make it through the entire course,” almost echoing Patches famous line.
Regardless, on that first day you could look around the room and the general consensus was a look of fear and bewilderment.
And then, much like the Average Joe’s themselves, our peers started dropping like flies. 15 students who had attended the first class ended up dropping the course. Fair enough.
But all jokes and “Dodge ball” references aside, I am excited to see what this class has in store. I think the world of Social Media and Business Tech is taking over and is relevant in pretty much every aspect of business these days. If we are able to learn and understand this world, we will be able to be successful businessmen and women.
This summer, I interned for a software company called Tableau, which specializes in data visualization. During my time there, I was immersed in the world of business technology, and started to see first hand how important knowledge in this field is.
I was able to see many parallels between the points made about technology in business from the first class, and the work I did during my three months with the company. One thing in particular that stood out to me from our first discussion was the prominence of crowd sourcing in the modern business. One of my main projects was working in the Tableau Customer Community—an entire division of the company devoted to harnessing the thoughts and work of the software users, and using their ideas to fuel innovation. I saw first hand how companies use question boards, forums, blogs, and targeted competitions to create new products and improve upon existing ones. Being able to apply what we discussed in class to personal experience was exciting.
Besides that, I had a few other initial thoughts:
- Blogging is for more than just teenage girls on Tumbler. I have never thought about blogging before, and I definitely had not ever considered that it could be useful in my business career. It is an interesting, creative way to share thoughts/feelings/ideas. I am excited to start my own.
- Tweeting can actually be informative. Even though you only get 130 characters, if you use them wisely, a tweet can be a very powerful thing. I am looking forward to learning how to tweet effectively in a way that engages my followers.
- Social media isn’t necessarily easy, and I think it is often over simplified. If you use social media in the right ways, you can effectively share your ideas and thoughts with a very large audience and make an impact.