Social media and digital business is not something that slowly evolves, where you can react based on the changes that you see. In my last post I alluded to the idea that business leaders should be trained in some sort of ethical standards. I brought this idea up because I thought that it would help stifle misdoings of large companies that can’t be regulated by the current laws that are on the books. In this same notion, we have to be ready to take advantage of any opportunities technology and social media provides us; we should have well defined principles developed to guide us in our decision making.
One thing that I have learned, that was a secondary effect of the class is how social media has changed since my first go around in college. While FaceBook just came out, there is now Instagram and Twitter. While I thought this was just part of the evolution of social media, the younger generation has evolved it from what I even knew. (2) Instagram accounts, one for friends one for the public. While I am not too concerned how people use social media, it brings up the first principle that I will follow: Continually reassess how the internet is used and be flexibile enough to capitalize on the opportunities.
At the end of October, we had a class from the Assistant Vice President of Digital Strategy at John Hancock. In this class we talked about being prepared for any social media situation; being prepared to something that goes wrong, or how to take advantage of when the correct situation arises. If a company or institution waits to long, they can miss their opportunity to provide the appropriate response. This class caused me to come to conclusion for my second principle. Develop a protocol of how to respond to different social media situations, and allow the person in charge to create the content without having to go through a long approval process.
Another class in October we talked to Professor Chang from Boston University. This was one of the more interesting classes I think that we had this year. During this class we talked about how technology has gotten ahead of the rules and government is trying to determine how rules and regulations apply. In additional classes we talked about how Air BnB and ride sharing services have worked with local governments to find a happy middle ground of how to regulate this form of commerce. In my Business of Sports class, we talked to one of the founders of an online gambling website, and issues he is facing with possible heavy regulation on gambling websites. These different topics helped me come to a fourth principle. Try to work with local governments to help framework the regulations, if that is not possible have plans ready to capitalize on the results of regulations no matter if they are restrictive or conducive to your business. Be proactive instead of reactive.
In our last class we talked about the dark side of social media. How the many positive principals can be used for good in one case, and the same principal when used by different people, can be done for bad. Look at same recruiting techniques used by the US Military versus how ISIS recruit’s westerns to join their ranks. Like Uncle Ben once said “with great power comes great responsibility”. Just as Apple made an unpopular decision to not unlock the phone of the San Bernardino shooter, they did it to protect people’s constitutional rights. These ideas have led to my last takeaway. Ensure an institutions leadership are of high moral and ethical character and will thoughtfully make decisions that aren’t just the right decision for the moment.
As the semester comes to an end, I think (and as Professor Kane has put it) that the information we have learned is already outdated and will likely be irrelevant in a year or two. The biggest thing we can take away from classes like this, is how to apply principals and concepts that we have learned to future decisions we will face when working in the real world. We can use our knowledge and help guide decisions our employers make.