You can’t eat cats, Kevin

ISYS6621. Social Media and Digital Business. The land of Office Gifs.

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But in all seriousness, I enjoyed our class throughout this past semester. And I really did learn a lot. I often found that this class walked Social Media and Digital Business in parallel. I felt like some of the class was more interested in Social Media and the other part of the class was more interested in Digital Business. So, now that the semester is over, I have thoughts on both.

SOCIAL MEDIA

This was an interesting class for me. I didn’t end up being what I thought it would be, and that’s ok. Its more than ok actually. Sometimes you should be failure and study topics that you either find uncomfortable or that don’t interest you. I know that sounds harsh but let me explain. I wrote my first blog on why I don’t like social media. Well, after this class I can honestly say … I still don’t. BUT, I see the importance so much more now. And for that, I’m thankful.

I’m a little older than the average age in the class and a lot of times I chalked up my disdain for social media as a millennial thing (even though I’m pretty sure I still fall into that age range). Our last class got me thinking about how different people use social media for different things. I would apply age to that also. I can’t recall who it was but someone had a presentation about how different age groups use social media differently and I thought that it was a really great insight. After last class, us old folks were talkinggiphy7 about some of the differences in ages. I told a story about how I have a friend whose daughter asked him why we call it “hanging up the telephone” when the button says “End” on the iPhone. I honestly never thought that his daughter had never literally hung a phone up before. I think it’s the same with me and social media.Growing up, I never interacted with people that way and while I flirted with Myspace and Facebook, I always got tired of them and let the dust collect. People tend to go back to familiarity and social media doesn’t seem very familiar to me.

This is all a long way of saying that I’m glad I was exposed to the social media aspect of this class because, as a manager, I’ll need to be cognizant of the importance of social media to a whole demographic slice. A sure-fire way to get left behind is to discount what the younger generation values and to think that “it was better when I was growing up.” Professor Kane had a good point in the last class too. He commented that he found it funny and interesting that the underclassmen feel that kids in middle school and high school are doing it wrong. It’s all cyclical. Just wait until we see what the next generation is using and we’ll all sit back and say, “it was better when I was growing up.”

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DIGITAL BUSINESS

Before this class started, I read the syllabus and was very intrigued by the Digital Business part of this class. More than the Social Media aspect if I can be honest (see above). The Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain classes were definitely my favorites.

The view of AI from a managerial perspective was interesting. Disruption of work and how to prepare were my takeaways from the class that really got me thinking. I’ve decided to think about AI as another candidate for a job that I will have to compete with. This way, I can sort of humanize it a little bit and try to define AI’s qualities. Right now, AI isn’t so much a threat to white collar jobs but in due time. I imagine myself having to continue my education wherever I may and up in order to fend off any competition. I would have to do that if it were a human or AI candidate.

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Blockchain, while confusing, does have major implications on business going forward. Starting the class, I really only thought about blockchain as a monetary tool. But realizing that blockchain technology can be used for anything having a record sort of blew my mind. Decentralized record keeping that updates instantly would make everything so much easier and more transparent. My only reservation with blockchain is that it will cut out a whole industry of middlemen. The classic example are banks who handle transactions and keep records. If a bank can’t charge fees associated with transactions and holding money, they will fight the technology until they can find a way to monetize it. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future.

CLASS IN THE END

I recognize the difficulty in teaching this class. While the work was constant and fairly heavy, I liked how we were able to explore the space on our own, beyond the weekly readings and led discussions. I read some really interesting blog posts about topics that never would have entered my mind. Not every post was palpable to me (see above) but the vast range of topics was great to see. Overall, I think this class is well done. I learned a lot and many conceptual topics that I will keep in mind as I enter the workforce.

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9 comments

  1. And a lot of people don’t recognize a floppy disk! Our age range has been part of such a steep innovation curve for tech. When I was a kid, my dad had a “car phone”. Some of this stuff doesn’t really matter – who cares where hang up came from – but at the same time it’s important to understand the history, how we got where we are, and how it affects where we’re going. Such a good story, Owen.

  2. Haha I totally agree with your feelings on social media as a whole… it has been a struggle to get in the “habit” of actually posting on Twitter, because even when I was on Facebook I never posted. I was talking to my dad about this class this weekend, and came to a similar conclusion to you. Social media is incredibly important for business, and should never be either disregarded or underestimated. However, as I told my dad: I will definitely be hiring out for that position.

  3. You’re definitely right. Social Media is not a realm that I am going to master. But it has a huge impact on companies and we need to be aware of that. We need to ensure that someone is taking control of that part of the business and it just doesn’t fall by the way side. As I was writing my blog I had a similar sentiment that you had in regard to constantly educating myself. The times have evolved and we need to be constantly improving and adding new skills to make us more competitive in the work place. We may think our education is done this spring, but we need to constantly sharpen our mind.

  4. I am really glad Professor Kane teaches IS6621 as a combined MBA and undergraduate course. The way that this class is set up allows and encourages us to learn extensively from our classmates, and I know us, undergrads, have definitely taken many lessons away from the MBA students that we would not have seen if it had only been undergrad, and hope you guys can say the same. As a younger member of the millennial generation, I, along with the other junior and seniors fall somewhere between unfamiliarity with social media and unfamiliarity with “hanging up the phone” (amazing, well-place anecdote by the way). I think perhaps the most important lesson we’ve learned throughout this course, is that technology and business are constantly changing, and we have to be constantly learning to keep up.

  5. Don’t feel too behind…you have your GIFs down! I really appreciated your perspective this semester as someone who is an older millennial. You make a great point about discounting younger generations–new technologies and innovations will be targeted at an even younger audience, and we should mind their interests present day and in the near future because we will be making business decisions around their preferences. It’s always difficult to adapt to new technology, whether it’s social media or digital business, but we definitely need to get used to change.

  6. Great post Owen. I think you laid out the important take-aways of this class neatly in the blog, and your thoughts closely resonates with my own. Even for those that are very active on social media and embrace it, I think this class still had a lot to tell about it’s other uses – specifically for business and marketing purposes. On the digital business side, I also enjoyed the AI and Blockchain classes the most. Neither are easy concepts to grasp, and I personally think I’ll have to do a lot more digging and reading to understand it entirely, but the realization of their disruptive natures is a great start, I this class provided me with that. I enjoyed discussing these topics in small groups with MBA students like yourself, who always seemed to bring a slightly different perspective and angle to the table.

  7. I agree with Catherine in regard to having both MBAs and undergraduates enrolled in this course. I know that I have gotten so much more out of this class because of the different perspectives that we all have. I really enjoyed your story about your friend’s daughter asking about why we say hang up the phone. I, as well, had never thought about why we use this phrase because I thought it was common knowledge. It’s really interesting to see that the new generation has never used or seen this kind of phone in their everyday lives. I also really agree with your point that our opinions on our society’s culture is cyclical. When I found out about the new app that middle schoolers are using during our class a few weeks ago, I did indeed think, it was so much better when I was that age, (and I was in that grade not too long ago.) Great post!

  8. I’m glad the AI class got you thinking. Honestly, it got me thinking too. When I asked “how many people had considered how AI was going to change their career” I’m not sure I had ever thought about the question either. It’s a keeper going forward.

  9. Love this! With my oldest sister 12 years older than me, I totally see the undergrad side of things as well as the grad side. I’m pretty sure there are still some floppy disks lying around my house @adrienneis6621! I love your point about taking things outside of your comfort zone. I think it’s so important to learn about all different types of things in order to be well-rounded. That’s the whole reason behind a liberal arts education isn’t it? Great job.

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