A Christmas Narrative: Final #IS6621 Thoughts

Happy December! It’s officially #Christmas season, which means Michael Bublé officially comes out of hiding for the season and blesses us all with his beautiful voice. In light of the Holiday season, I thought it would be fun to summarize common themes that I learned throughout the semester and some final concluding thoughts on #IS6621 with some cheerful tunes.

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“I really can’t stay (but baby, it’s cold outside)
I’ve got to go away (but baby, it’s cold outside)”

Baby, It’s Cold Outside 

If you listen closely to the lyrics of this classic Christmas duet, you’ll soon realize how borderline creepy the narrative is. One of the main themes of the Social Media and Digital Business this semester was the fine line between “creepy” and “cool.” We learned about a lot of emerging technologies that navigate carefully across this line. For example, we learned about the advancements of AI and exactly what machines can now accomplish. We also learned about (somewhat) creepy advancements in medical technology, including the FDA approval of a pill with a sensor that has digital abilities to track whether patients have ingested their medication. The fine line between creepy and cool will always exist, but one key takeaway from this class is how quick it is to switch from one side of the line to the other. What we think is creepy now can be the accepted norm within the matter of a few short years. Many of the ideas that people thought were “creepy” are commonly used nowadays (i.e. Uber, Tinder, Airbnb, etc.) It’s crucial to keep an open mind on the innovations of tomorrow, because you never know how beneficial they will be to our lives one day.

“Let’s take that road before us and sing a chorus or two / Come on it’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you”

Sleigh Ride

While most people don’t regularly take sleigh rides with their friends throughout the year, they do take Ubers and other ride sharing apps. Uber was a huge topic in our class, mostly because it regularly made headlines (for all the wrong reasons). Before taking this class, I never thought about the concept of the sharing economy. I would call a driver using my Uber/Lyft app and get into strangers’ cars. In this class, we learned about the sharing economy and the new business models associated with changing trends. No longer are the days of “stranger danger” as we become accustomed to sharing resources – whether it’s spare capacity in the form of a car, a home, or a kitchen. One key takeaway from this topic is the importance of reputation in the sharing economy. Platforms like Airbnb rely heavily on trust, and people are more willing to trust strangers who have a higher rating. As new business concepts are born in the sharing economy, businesses need to remember the fundamental features of the sharing economy and promote the building of trust amongst its users.

“Be careful what you say and do
‘Cause Santa Claus is watchin’ you
He’s everywhere, he’s everywhere”

Santa Claus is Watching You

(S)he’s everywhere! Who am I referring to? Amazon’s Alexa of course. This class taught me that voice recognition technology and artificial intelligence/machine learning are way more advanced than I had ever thought. The future of work will be impacted by automation, which brings up many questions. What jobs will become obsolete? Will machines improve our lives or lead to our demise? Only time will tell, but it is absolutely crucial to stay informed about these changes. In addition, as we learned from McAfee in the “What will future jobs look like” TED talk, we need to use the machine age to chart a good course into the challenging, abundant economy that we are creating.

Another thing that dominated our class discussions and Twitter feed was Amazon. My key takeaway is that Amazon is taking over the world. The company seems to be trying to disrupt every facet of every industry. Some of my favorite discussions included:

  1. Amazon drone delivery
  2. Amazon Key and home deliveries
  3. Amazon’s competition with Walmart

As we conclude our semester-long debate of Amazon, we are left with many questions. Will the acquisition of Whole Foods be successful? Will Amazon continue to pursue brick-and-mortar retail by entering into other industries? Will Amazon face anti-trust regulation soon? What else does Jeff Bezos have up his sleeve? I’m sure future #IS6621 classes will be able to answer these questions with further examination of Amazon’s journey to world dominance.

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“Bells will be ringing this sad sad New Years
Oh what a Christmas to have the blues

Please Come Home for Christmas 

Will brick-and-mortar retail stores soon be crooning these lyrics year-round? Throughout this semester, we discussed many traditional retail stores that are currently struggling to stay afloat because of the (aforementioned) dominance of Amazon and rise of e-commerce. We talked about the bankruptcy of Toys R Us, and asked the question: Is retail dead? From @taylorvanhare‘s presentation, we learned that retail may in fact NOT be dead. In addition, we saw that in-store purchases during Thanksgiving/Black Friday were still strong. As we move into a more digital world, one can only wonder what will happen to brick-and-mortar retail. My key takeaway is that retailers need to maintain an omnichannel strategy- one which caters to the changing needs and preferences of consumers- in order to survive in the future. Traditional retailers can adopt emerging technologies such as virtual reality or increase its online presence in order to provide the ultimate retail experience to consumers.

“Everyone dancin’ merrily
In the new old-fashioned way”

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree 

Before this class, I had a very limited understanding of social media. I used all of the popular social media sites – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat – but my understanding of these platforms were surface level. I followed celebrities and YouTube content creators and often saw posts promoting a product or service. I thought social media and social media marketing were new concepts. I was mistaken! After this semester, I’ve learned that social media is not a new concept at all. It’s been around for years– new platforms are merely just extensions of an old concept.

We also learned about the dark side of social media. For example, is it making us more depressed and lonely? Does it make us stupid? Many argue that social media has also hurt our social skills – for example, is social media hurting our abilities to have meaningful in-person conversations with people? While I LOVE social media, I was always under the impression that social media has made us more anti-social. But has it really? Maybe not.

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Maybe social media platforms are just the “new” extension of the “old-fashioned way”

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!

This class, hands down, has been one of my favorite classes at BC, and I’m so glad that I took it. I will miss learning about new social media and digital business platforms and concepts, our Twitter discussions, insightful guest speakers, and of course, snack time. Thank you Professor Kane @geraldckane and #IS6621 for a great semester! Happy Holidays everyone!

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5 comments

  1. Loved this Sherri, and it was so clever how you used Christmas songs as the background for your different take-aways! :) Everything that you brought up rings true, and like you I am also so intrigued to see where Amazon will go next. Tempted to keep up with the #IS6621 next semester just to see what new tech Jeff Bezos will pull out of his hat next. I also think the benefit of this class came from everyones energy and willingness to share and participate every Wednesday. As @geraldckane emphasized at the beginning of the semester, this is not your typical CSOM course and it is only impactful if you choose to make it impactful. Loved being a part of this shared learning and thanks for your great last post!

  2. Loved the creativity and Christmas involvement in this post! Great break down of some of the most significant topics covered in this unconventional class. I agree with @taylorvanhare, I am interested to see what #IS6621 in future semesters will look like, in regards to Amazon, and other topics. No one could have predicted exactly what this class ended up looking like, and I think that in part, is what has made it so different, impactful, and great.

  3. Wow I love this blog post!! Your different song references were spot on. I especially like your creepy/cool line point. It has been interesting to see how the definition of what is creepy/cool is continuously changing, and that often many people have differing opinions on certain situations. For instance, during our conversation about the Amazon in-home delivery service, I was shocked to see that many people thought this idea was cool, and wasn’t too invasive in comparison to the services that we already use today. The fact that our society is comfortable with inviting strangers into our homes (even when we aren’t there) shows how the creepy/cool line is continuing to change. I am interested in seeing how far we will let this line go, as new technology/services continue to develop.

  4. Love this!! I would absolutely love to see how these trends continue to evolve in the upcoming semesters. In regard to your conclusions about Uber, who knows what the status of self-driving cars (and semi-trucks) will be in a year or two. Some apps might crash and burn (Snapchat, anyone?) and Amazon will still fiercely attempt world domination. As other retailers begin to grow smarter and work together, as seen by the recent merger of CVS and Aetna or Instacart’s numerous partnerships, maybe Amazon will begin to falter and no longer be our one-stop shop for everything. Blending creepy and cool is now almost as important as UI for new digital business and I can’t wait to see where it goes next. Great post!

  5. What a clever post! Nice work!

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