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.
“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”
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:
- Amazon drone delivery
- Amazon Key and home deliveries
- 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.
“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.
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!