“He’s gonna try to scare you on the first day” – that’s what an alumnus of Prof Kane’s Social Media class told me when he saw that I had signed up for the class. He tells me that Prof Kane is going to try to get as many people to drop the class as possible because the wait list is huge. I never attended a class in which the professor actively tried to get students to drop a class. Needless to say, I realized quickly that this was going to be unlike any other class I’ve taken in my life.
Sitting in the first day of class, I watched Prof Kane expound upon more and more requirements for the class: a blog, a Twitter, an individual presentation. I even have to provide snacks for the class…at least there is no final exam. At this point I was pretty dumbfounded by the whole thing, wondering to myself if it’s a good idea to drop this class. While Prof Kane did scare me on the first day of class, he also made me very curious about the class and as add/drop period rolled past, my masochistic curiosity decided to stay. For the first three weeks, I felt a tad overwhelmed and a little confused on what the heck supposed to happen and when are things supposed to happen. I know at least one other student felt the same, resulting in this exchange of messages last week:
Three weeks in, I feel more confident in being on top of things in this class. My prevailing attitudes as I write this blog include: curiosity, excitement, acceptance, and inspiration. That being said, for my first blog post, I would like to make a few confessions
- Social media scares me – Since the days when Facebook started to spread throughout middle schools across the country (circa 2009), I made an account like everyone else but I never posted anything (to this day my Facebook is mostly barren). It’s not because I don’t have anything to say, rather it’s because I am genuinely scared to post things on Facebook and other social media. I don’t have an Instagram. My LinkedIn is hardly used. My Twitter is brand new and I have been avoiding it until I couldn’t anymore. I think the reason for this fear stems from the fear of attention and the perceived lack of control over who can see things. It always concerns me when I am able to see personal posts from random people; if I am able to see random posts from random people then random people would be able to see my posts. The fact that my retweet on Robinhood moving into crypto has over 700 impressions scares me a little. Feels like speaking to vast crowd of masked people (except my friends at IS6621).
- In general, I only care about the A – After 30+ classes with countless papers, exams, and presentations over my college experience, I admit that I’ve fallen for the mentality of working for the A. Save for a few classes, learning often times took a back seat and essays and presentation were done to the bare minimum to get the grade I want. This is not to say that I don’t try to learn in my classes because I do end up understanding concepts and learning skills in classes, rather I’m saying that it is not usual the priority or the driving motivation behind my efforts. I’m sure some of my peers have also fallen for the same way of thinking of our classes, but I’m sure that this class will be different for me.
- I’m skeptical of my ability to provide valuable insights in these blogs – I regularly read articles and insights from other people regarding technology and new media, however this will be my first time blogging. In the blogs that I write, I am expected to provide insights on technology, and explore ideas regarding technology and new media. This prospect daunts me. To make matters worse, people from both inside our class and outside are actually going to read them. Usually I let MIT Tech Review and Wired Magazine make all the insightful articles. How am I, an average undergraduate student, supposed to come up with quality content? I’m sure I will think of something to write about; the keyboard is in my hands now.
And with that here is my initial expectation: I expect to be a changed person. After the end of this course, I expect to have: overcame my fear of social media, developed a genuine desire to keep learning about technology and new media, and honed the ability to think critically of technology and new media.
Through regular use of Twitter, I hope to finally see it as the valuable communication platform it was meant to be, while still being mindful of the societal side effects of social media.
Through constant exposure to interesting ideas from Prof Kane and my peers, I hope to be solely motivated by a genuine desire to learn rather than by grades.
Through routine blogging, I hope to become more insightful and to be a kind of savant of technology and new media.
I’m excited to see what I can offer to the class.
It’s safe to say that this class won’t be like this: