#IS6621 As Told By Elf

I’ll admit it; As a CS/IS major, I came into this class nervous that exploring common technology topics, such as AI or the sharing economy, would be a review for me. Boy was I wrong. My grandpa, a previous Economics professor, always used to ask me if any of my classes allowed us to discuss topics, rather than just furiously scribbling in an attempt to absorb everything that a professor taught us while lecturing. While both discussions and lectures provide valuable learning experiences, this class has undoubtedly taught me that the most beneficial learning comes from discussion. Exploring these topics in this manner allows us to make connections that go beyond newspaper articles and the constraints of 140/280 characters on Twitter. Discussions allow for a more fluid learning experience by building upon past classes to find how the trends continue to evolve (Amazon, anyone?). Drawing from the inspiration of @sherricheng5, I’ve decided to incorporate some Christmas/Elf metaphors relating to the conclusions that I’ve drawn from this course:

1. Spreading Christmas Cheer is very important.


The sharing economy and crowdsourcing have enveloped our society in a new age of intelligence. Just as singing Christmas Carols spreads joy, sharing both our wealth of knowledge and resources creates a better society. AirBnB and Uber allow us to pool together wasted efficiencies in order to benefit all parties. Our #IS6621 hashtag also helps maintain a constant stream of information to keep all of us updated on the world of tech. With these new platforms we are increasingly more connected. Unfortunately, we are not immune to scandals with both privacy and integrity dilemmas (@Twitter) and we will continue to see these unfold. The winner of the sharing economy platforms will be whoever can maximize the cheer while simultaneously letting the crowds sing the lyrics.

2. What better way to celebrate than making Christmas cookies (or syrup Spaghetti, if you’re Buddy)?


Who doesn’t love holiday baking? I can without a doubt say that both decorating Christmas cookies and our generation’s obsession with food aren’t going away anytime soon. We’ve seen the battle for building an on-demand grocery delivery empire continue as Instacart continues to ramp up partnerships in an attempt to combat Amazon. Amazon has unleashed Amazon Restaurants by offering free delivery to Prime members, alongside its acquisition of Whole Foods. Our existence seems to revolve around food due to the joy that it brings us, in addition to just basic subsistence. While some advances, like 3-D food printing as seen in @joonkimisys‘s blog, may not be necessary, we’re in a continuous cycle to seek innovation and efficiency in the food realm. This focus on food never existed prior to the ubiquitous nature of technology; tech allows us to be more aware of popular offerings, such as Instagram posts of giant Levain cookies or Tasty videos. If I learned anything from our class, the excitement over simply cookies and chips and salsa is almost comical (is it 5:30, yet?). So while the popularity of decorating cookies or gingerbread houses during the Holidays may be a constant, I won’t be surprised if these activities become transformed by tech and dominate our attention in the comping years.

3. We (including Buddy) love using technology to ask important questions


Voice-assisted technology is EVERYWHERE. @camcurrie99 has graciously shared his experiences with his #ModEcho and @andrewmanginelli taught us all about the Speaker Wars in his presentation. With the release of the Google Home mini, Amazon’s plethora of products, Microsoft’s Cortana, and so much more, we can see that speaking to technology is the future. While we may be better than Buddy and ask more important questions aside from polling Siri/Alexa/Google about their favorite color, our reliance on AI is certainly shifting us towards speaking more and more at little devices. Personally, I think that the winner of this space will eclipse the four major technology giants. With Amazon recently partnering with corporations, such as WeWork, to install Alexa devices, it is clear that the prevalence of this technology is on the rise. Unfortunately, the answer to the question of “Who will win?” might be the one question that these smart devices cannot answer.

4. Gimbel’s: Retail isn’t dead


Yes, Gimbel’s itself may in fact be dead, but the future of retail is innovation. Every department store could use a little Buddy to help spruce it up (although maybe more than just some paper snowflakes.) @taylorvanhare showed us how Sephora is leveraging technology to up-sale its make-up products, and other stores should follow suit. WeWork is a prime example of leveraging retail space: while we didn’t discuss them much in class, they have transformed office spaced into a shared area. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods also suggests that they are looking for increased brick-and-mortar space. Shopping online may be more feasible than always traveling to the store, but brick-and-mortar locations are still heavily utilized, as long as they’re done right. Just look at the Apple Store: consumers don’t necessarily need to go in-store to shop, but most do and it’s been a success despite initial hesitation by many analysts.

5. Santa’s Workshop: The Future of Work is Tech


Technology is necessary if we want to remain employed. Just look at Buddy: He became outdated in the workshop such that Papa Elf moved him to the back to test out the toys rather than building them. We can see that technology alleviates the need for cashiers or drivers, but how will it affect traditional industries like accounting or finance? We cannot let ourselves become obsolete in the economy and in order to do this we just must keep our tech skills up to date (unfortunately, Buddy didn’t see this one coming.) Someone has to build the tech behind all of these great automations, and we can be the ones to do it.

6. Be very, very afraid of the Real World

4aec83312593613f8ab60214cdbcb89eI don’t know about you all, but thinking of taking classes with exams (!!) next semester and then graduation has me in for a rude awakening. I will miss scavenging my Twitter feed for new articles to post; thinking of creative blog topics; and most of all, snack time. I am forever grateful for this class forcing me to stay updated on the news and providing me with a creative outlet for my opinion on popular topics. Who knows, maybe I’ll even start a blog of my own next semester! Thank you @geraldckane for a great semester, and many more to come!



  1. juliasmacdonald · ·

    Kaitlin, this post is amazing! You not only had me laughing (who doesn’t love Elf), but you comprehensively synthesized this semester of Social Media and Digital Business. Our class definitely has an obsession with food, retail, and voice-assisted tech but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I completely agree with your assessment of tech as the future of work. It will really depend on us taking the skills we have learned in ISYS6621 and applying them as we move forward. The “Real World” definitely is daunting so I’m thankful I still have some time left at BC!

  2. Awesome! Love the ELF connections. VERY creative. I hope you read @sherricheng5 ‘s post this week. She went with a Christmas Carol theme. Good combo!

  3. s_courtney18 · ·

    Great post Kaitlin! It’s funny to think that someone could turn into a character like Buddy (not in the elf sense, but in the technically-lagging sense) just over a few years if they don’t consistently keep up with new updates. Another good lesson to learn from Buddy is that we can all adapt to new technology – we must not become obsolete, and pairing technology + humans together can create even better outcomes. Just think about how Santa’s sleigh used an engine instead of just relying on the Christmas spirit!

    1. kaitlinardiff · ·

      Haha love the sleigh reference — so true!

  4. whitmcdonald2 · ·

    Kaitlin, so creative! With the Christmas Tree Lighting tonight and you and @sherricheng5‘s blog, I am ready for Christmas! Really creative way of bringing this all together and using these memes. Thank you for your insight in this post and all of the other posts this semester. I have been impressed with your writing and will miss reading your blogs! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hilary_Gould · ·

    I loved this post!! Such a creative way to tie in Christmas/Elf references with things we learned in the class! You really hit on so many of he main topics in such a fun way! I 100% related to your 6th point… I’m definitely not ready for graduation which seems very close as this semester is coming to a close. I really liked that you also brought back crowd sourcing which was one of our earlier topics. It seems as though this was really a theme throughout the semester in part because we taught each other throughout. I’ve loved reading your blogs all semester so you’ll definitely have to keep #IS6621 updated if you choose to start your own!

  6. camcurrie99 · ·

    Awesomely creative post to end on. Your Elf connections to different parts of class were extremely thoughtful, and perfectly compliments your other insightful blogs this semester! I wonder what Buddy would have done in the film if they remade it today. Great synthesis of class topic. While the future is coming for us seniors, we will be better ready for it having taken this class and learned to think critically about whats going on in the world around us with technology. Thank you for sharing!

  7. britt_hopkins4 · ·

    Kaitlin! This is super creative! I myself am a huge Elf fan, so reading this got me so excited like @whitmcdonald2. I love how you took the lessons in Elf and put them to real life use here. I think @camcurrie99‘s comment about remaking Elf today and what buddy would do maybe with an iPhone would be hilarious yet terrifying. I also, like you loved the structure of the class, and I wish I had more classes like it. thanks @geraldckane!

  8. mgiovanniello · ·

    What an incredibly creative and unique post! I really enjoyed reading this and seeing how each Elf gif connected to an outcome from the course. Like @camcurrie99 said, I’m also curious as to how modern-day Elf would act in the tech-driven, interconnected world we live in today. I’ll admit I’ll really miss snack time — we’ll see how far syrup spaghetti gets me during finals week.

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