As I’ve gone through the semester I have realized how dependent not only my life, but much of the world, is on social media and technology. Whether it’s for news updates (so current they may not even be true…Las Vegas) or contacting loved ones in a moment of tragedy as we saw with the hurricanes, social media has become an integral part of how we communicate.
Entering into the class I knew that there was more to social media than selfies and snap streaks, but I don’t think I fully grasped the impact it has on the world. We’re seeing brick and mortar stores struggling, people ordering groceries from their phones, and virtual assistants knowing what we want before we do. In addition to these changes in our daily lives we broke down the elements that make up the sharing economy. One of the most interesting I found was trust. Not only have the ways in which we interact and communicate evolved with technology, but so has the way we trust others.
As I wrote about in my first blog post, my first experience with social media was AIM. It almost seems fitting that the site signs off forever in a couple of days. I remember asking my parents if I was allowed to make an account and them being skeptical of me chatting with “potential strangers” online. It’s crazy to think that now, many years later, I’ve stayed in random peoples homes and ridden in strangers cars without so much as a second thought. Or how my parents used to warn me against entering my credit card information into a website, but now I routinely send money through my phone in seconds.
The crazy thing to think about is that we have had so many conversations about drone taxis, cryptocurrency, and self driving cars. So many of these discussions have had us questioning the creepy/cool line and saying “only time will tell” as @sydneywalker511 outlined in her wrap up blog post. It’s hard to predict what will be “normal” in 10, 5, or even 2 years. With technology it seems that the possibilities are endless, but will there be a point where it becomes too much? Where society begins to reject it simply because it’s happening too fast? Or not just crossing the creepy/cool line, but going way too far?
I think this brings me back to our last class discussion– the dark side of social media. This may be the class that I’ve spent the most time reflecting on. I’ve always been irritated when you don’t have someone’s full attention because they are checking their phone or how we are now expected to be available 24/7, but I think it is important to also recognize that we don’t appreciate all that technology has given us because we don’t remember a world without it (talking about the undergrads here…). Although the generations behind us certainly experienced technology in a whole different way than we did, we still have had it for the majority–if not all– of our lives.
When I first heard that AIM was shutting down I immediately thought of the poor middle
schoolers who would never get to experience the fun of picking out their icon or having the same “hey what’s up” conversation with all 12 people who were online at the same time. Then I realized that yes, AIM will be gone, but now middle schoolers are snap chatting or texting or TBHing or whatever the next fad will be.
As much as these technologies are constantly changing, one thing that’s clear is that they have forever changed how society interacts with each other and functions on an everyday basis. While technology continues to change, I have a new appreciation for both the positive and the negative aspects as while as being more in tune with the complicated emerging technologies that we are still learning about. As I enter into the next phase of my life (which requires me to graduate and I refuse), it’ll be interesting to see how my own relationship with technology continues to change evolve. That being said, after spending a semester talking about all the different parts of “social media and digital business” it’s become clear that it’s a lot more than selfies and snap streaks.