Three months ago, I walked into Digital Business and Social Media not knowing what to expect. While I was excited to be taking my first marketing course at BC, the expectations of this class were a bit frightening. As Professor Kane could see, my face on the very first day of class looked similar to this.
I remember asking myself the questions below, and have found that many of the reasons why I feared #IS6621 have turned into the reasons why I love #IS6621.
Question 1: What would our class’ individual presentations be about? Was I going to be able to talk for five minutes about a topic?
Throughout the semester, my favorite times in class were often the individual presentations. Each topic ranged greatly — from the presentation on the Kardashians to the one on Bitcoin, there was never one that I didn’t find interesting. This especially held true while listening to @joonkimisys’ presentation on North Korea’s Abuse of Social Media. Having the opportunity to hear about his firsthand experience in the South Korean military, brought so much insight into a topic that is very rarely discussed. I was shocked to hear how a trip to Disney led to King Jong Nam’s assassination, and that the North Korean government has a select network of hackers that that they use to just spy on the world. As a country that keep its citizens in the dark, it was really interesting to see how they still manage to exploit the benefits that social media brings. Joon brought to light a unique yet important topic, truly showing the power that social media gives to people that aim to cause harm.
In terms of the five minute time limit, I soon found out that presenting for five minutes is much shorter than I initially thought. While making my presentation on GrubHub, I found that the time limit was my biggest struggle. Looking back to this question, it’s funny to see that no, I wasn’t able to talk for the maximum six minutes about my topic, but it was for the opposite reason. I instead needed that extra minute of time that Professor Kane offered, because six minutes goes by so much faster when you are the one presenting.
Question 2: Could I be an active participant in class discussions, despite being a sophomore in an upper level class?
Initially, one of my greatest fears was participating in class discussions. Since there was only one other sophomore, besides myself, in the class, I feared participating in discussions knowing that my other classmates had significantly more education and experience.
In retrospect, I have to say that the very reason that caused me so much fear to speak, has now turned into one of the main reasons I love this class. Since we are all at different stages in life, social media has impacted our lives differently. Because of this, we have been able to have more insightful conversations and gain a broader perspective than if we were the same age with similar experiences.
This was especially evident last week during our conversation on the dark side of social media. It was interesting to hear the MBAs perspectives about life when “liking something” wasn’t associated to Facebook, and conversations were more commonly in person, rather than behind a screen. While in my initial blog post, I separated my life into two chapters (life before and after social media) the fact is that my life before social media is really a blur. I have grown up with the Razor, Blackberry and now IPhone by my side. These group conversations have led me to really see how much the world has changed due to these evolving technologies. In addition, it has been interesting to detail different facets of social media that are more of a “my generation” thing. Explaining concepts, such as what a “finsta” really is, and then seeing the confusion on MBA’s faces, has shown me how obscure “finstas” really are.
Question 3: Why is Twitter popular? Would I actually get to know people by their hashtags like Professor Kane said? There are so many people in this class…
The #IS6621 hashtag was actually the first hashtag that I ever used on Twitter. My mom has been an avid fan of Twitter for years, but I never understood why. When Professor Kane mentioned that we would be graded on our use of Twitter, and that we would soon become known by our handles, I was surprised to say the least.
Fast forward, and I now can say that I spend more time scrolling through my Twitter feed than I do my Instagram feed. Whether it be in-between classes, right before I go to bed, or those moments I need a study break, it’s a great way to stay up to date with life outside of BC in a few quick minutes.
I especially saw the importance of Twitter in my life recently during an interview. Despite preparing for many possible questions, I was surprised to hear the question “What business-related article have you read in the last 24 hours, and why does it stick out as an important discussion item?”
Prior to this class, if I had been asked this question, I would have been silent. I wouldn’t have had anything to say because frankly, I was stuck in the BC bubble. My daily dose of the 5:00 news after school didn’t exist at BC, and I rarely knew what was going on. Through Twitter, however, I have been able to stay up to date and informed on current events. Because of this, when I was asked this question I actually had a few articles to highlight that I had recently discussed on Twitter with my #IS6621 classmates. I remember telling my parents that night, “thank goodness for #IS6621.”
In addition, I have to say that I have really gotten to know the class better through Twitter. This past Friday I took Taylor’s spin class, and realized that although Taylor and I were not in the same small group, nor sat next to each other in class, I had gotten to know her through our Twitter conversations as @taylorvanhare. Our class extended far beyond Wednesdays from 4:30-6 pm, showing me how powerful of a tool social media can be in forming relationships with people both near and far.
Question Four: Where is the world heading in terms of digital business and social media?
In September, I ended my first blog post hoping to gain more of a grasp on where the world was heading in terms of digital business and social media. From our conversations on Bitcoin, to AR and the Future of Work, I can now say that this class has gone far beyond the answer I was looking for. I can now see myself in 20 years sitting in my self-driving car, ordering my 3-D printed dinner (on Amazon of course) and paying using Bitcoin. These were all concepts that I was unfamiliar with prior to #IS6621.
As Professor Kane could tell from the expression on my face, his discussion on the first day of class overwhelmed me. So many questions raced through my head, and I didn’t have an answer to any of them. Still, I was up for the challenge, especially since this was the first class that had a scheduled break for snack time.
This class has challenged me far beyond what I had expected, but it has also been the most rewarding class because of that. So thank you #IS6621 for making the fear that I felt on the first day of class, become confidence on the last.