What I think I know and everything else

What (I think) I Know:

Social media is HUGE.  It’s almost as pervasive in our society as consumerism itself.  Everyone’s using it.  I am, you are, my professor is, your grandma is, my dog is (see below).  

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I have already scrolled through multiple apps before writing the third sentence of this post.  We are addicted as a society, I am embarrassed to confess I am a part of the problem.  

When individuals use social media it is often viewed as a waste of time, yet businesses are investing billions of dollars each year on tapping into this monstrous power.  Individuals who have turned their social media accounts into their personal brand are being hired out as influencers in advertising products.

Every major event that occurs now is covered first and perhaps the most in-depthly by social media.  For example, with the recent hurricanes, people have been connecting with each other across the country and world via social media.  Whether that be contacting loved ones to make sure they are safe or connecting those who are in need with the items they are lacking, I think it is safe to say, in this instance, we are better off than we were before without it.  

Businesses are using social media to interact with consumers in new ways, and be in constant contact with who they are trying to do business with.  Because of all our ever-decreasing attention spans, businesses across the board must fight even harder to grab our attention.  This has resulted in a new focus on innovative content creation.  That is not to say that marketers were not focused on the content they were producing to attract attention, and ultimately try to sell products and services, but they now must pack this fantastic content into increasingly smaller bits.  

Social media acts as a an ideal meeting place for consumers and producers, because consumers are already there, scrolling for many hours week after week, and producers are now able to reach the consumers, telling them about the stuff they want to hear about.  Businesses are using the power of social media to their advantage, and everyone has the opportunity to win.  Social media has evolved a great deal and continues to evolve every day.  While at its inception, it may have been intended to connect people digitally and foster the creation and expansion of networks, it has evolved into a whole new beast.  Users turn to various forms of social media for everything, ranging from the latest news of what is going on around the country and world, to a senseless but hilarious meme of an animal acting like a drunk human.  

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Regardless of the reason the user logged on, I believe social media is doing more good than harm.  While it might be a huge waste of time, effort, or cognitive surplus, as Clay Shirky begins to hint at in the chapter, “Gin, Television, and Cognitive Surplus”.        

In 2017, running a successful business without a strong online, social media presence is no longer an option. It is not a differentiator, it is a necessity.  Ignoring the power of social media, according to Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes, is equivalent to ignoring the power of the internet 10 years ago.  Running social media has become a full-time job and requires just as much effort of any other marketing campaign, including a full team involvement tying together creative and strategy.  While some campaigns or interactions with customers are on-the-fly responses to events in real time, many others are carefully planned out in advance.   

What I Expect/Hope to Learn:

I could read the course description until my eyes tear or talk to TA’s and past students of this course, but I do not think I will have a good grasp of all I will gain and take away from this class until its completion.  I am very much looking forward to learning about various relevant topics regarding how businesses use social media and real-world applications in digital business of emerging technologies.

While these things are extremely significant in today’s fast-moving landscape, I also hope to complete this course with a stronger understanding or ability to:

  • Write: Be able to share what I am thinking and questioning in a concise, yet articulate manner, and foster conversation with others
  • Tweet: squeeze a meaningful message into 140 characters in an appealing enough way to make others pay attention to it
  • Read: that is, read and gage quickly and accurately what is the most significant in the now and what should demand to be shared with others
  • Critique: Be critical of my own work, the work of my classmates, and everything I am reading

Much like my perception of the beginning of my senior year, my initial thoughts on social media and digital business as a class, are: excited; nervous, but mostly excited.  Of course I was overwhelmed after that first class and I have not written creatively since probably high school, but I am here to learn a great deal and maybe even gain something I will take with me in my life and career after college.  After all, I am avid social media user, and am a standard CSOM nerd who loves learning about business implications of anything, so what could go wrong??

4 comments

  1. kaitlinardiff · ·

    Catherine, I love your reaccount of the various uses of social media today in society. Just to further the description about how social media is beneficial to provide hurricane updates, I immediately thought of the app, Zello, and its peak in usage over the past week. It’s a walkie talkie app that most people have never of, yet has had 6 million downloads in the past week as Irma approaches Florida. It’s the intensified events of our lifetime that lead to new digital revolutions and I can only wonder if Zello will stay popular after the hurricane passes, or just become another app that couldn’t keep up.

    1. It is so interesting to see not only the success of Zello in the past week or so, but why it has been successful. I had only heard of the app as a silly way to leave voice memos with friends, but obviously it has much more significant implications.

  2. Nice post! The phrase “I have not written creatively since probably high school” alone is justification for the way I teach this class. Writing is thinking. I wouldn’t think of it purely as “creative” though, but also analytical. The creative needs to be there to get the attention, but the critical thinking is what will drive the best substantive content and contributions to this class. Glad you signed up!

  3. Catherine, I can completely relate to what you hope to get out of this class, especially your point about learning how to fit a meaningful message in under 140 characters on Twitter. Tweeting sounds so simple until you try to make an eye catching statement using such few characters. I can only wonder how much time it takes companies to execute Twitter campaigns for events such as the Super Bowl. Out of all of my social media apps, I use Twitter the least and am definitely looking forward to improving my Twitter proficiency!

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