Graduating From My AIM Days

Social media and I go waaaay back. I know social media, I mean social media and I grew up together. We’re like old pals, some would even say we have a bond that will hold us together for life.

Since I was 11 years old, I’ve participated in social media. It all started with AIM, where I was better known as There, I would creatively express myself through witty away messages and aesthetically pleasing profile information, followed by the name of current middle school boyfriend and a “<3,” as well as the date we became an item.


Not my AIM Profile Info but a very close representation. Only thing it’s missing is “RyAn <3 1.24.08”


fb 2008

A true gem found in the Facebook archive known as “Photos of me from 2008”

From there, it went zero to one-hundred. I skipped MySpace and went straight to Facebook, making for some great “10 Years Ago Today” throwbacks often showing up on my Facebook feed.  I dove into the Twitter realm shortly after I began high school, and then came Instagram, and then Snapchat, and a short stint with Vine. In terms of social networks I am well versed, however, I’ve only ever really explored social media as a personal expression, not so much with a Digital Business mindset. Sure, I’ve created a few tweets to publicize an event for a summer internship, or I’ve stalked Instagram to build a competitive landscape of the retail industry. Honestly, I didn’t really have to apply anything but personal experience with the social networks to do that. In other words, it took nothing. Navigating and using social media comes naturally to almost anyone born after 1993.

That being said, I’ve never had the opportunity to learn about the one thing that practically controls… that may be too harsh of a words, let’s say strongly influences my life. For example, I order a beautiful #healthgoals sandwich from a local café. Before I even dare lift that sandwich to my lips I let the camera eat first and snap a picture of it to add to my Insta-Story. Knowing my eating habits,  I can take an educated guess that if social media didn’t exist there would be nothing getting between me and that sandwich the moment it’s placed in front of me.

camera eats first

Or, my alarm goes off and after the third snooze, I still can’t manage to pull myself out of bed. So, I grab my phone, open up Instagram and see a friend posting a picture of their Starbucks coffee and textbook open from two hours ago or a friend who just finished up at the gym. I first think “Wow, I must be a piece of sh*t for still being in bed,” and then I roll myself out from under the covers and get my day started. Little moments like this remind me how much the content on social media influences my life. If I were to guess, I’d say I experience these influential moments every 30-minutes. Moments where I open a social media app and by the time I close it a piece of myself is altered. A decision, opinion, or thought is made based off of the content I expose myself to.

And so, I see value learning more about the thing that is so integrated into my daily life. Not just a “How-to-social-media,” but a much more deeper understanding of how digital technology is changing society, as well as the workplace.

While I feel highly familiar with the social media aspects of this course, I have much to learn about digital business. I can tell I will be learning a lot from my classmates this semester. Whether it be through the presentations, blog posts, tweets, or small group discussions, I am excited to hear other people’s perspectives on the material especially since we have an array of undergrad as well as MBA students in the course.

With that, I have created a short list of goals I have for myself this semester in relation to this course

  1. Explore my daily use of social media through better understanding how often I engage in social media, what I am using it for, and how it influences me
  2. Examine the positive and negative effects of our societal habits regarding social media
  3. Better understand how companies are currently integrating digital technologies into the workplace and what the future looks like in these terms
  4. Ask questions because I don’t know what I don’t know

From our first two classes, and the course description provided on Canvas, I can tell that this class will make these goals achievable. For the past two years, I have been recommended to take the course by several different peers. I have been told the best things about the format of the course, the content students create, the material we will cover, and, as many students have already mentioned in their blogs, Professor Kane! (Contrary to our last names, not my uncle or relative of any sort). With much enthusiasm, let’s get learnin’!!!

learning is cool



  1. phanauer1 · ·

    I really enjoyed your post, especially given that I too started my social media stint on AIM and resonate way too well with that photo of your/someone’s profile! I appreciate how relatable your experiences are and think that it’s smart to lay out your goals in such a structured and straight forward way because that’s something that I personally have trouble doing but always think I should prioritize more. Specifically, I think that admitting that you don’t know what you don’t know is really real and something that I have struggled with but also don’t know how to fix. It’s hard to ask questions if you don’t know where to direct your curiosity! Thanks for your post and looking forward to a great semester!

    1. Thanks, Paige! I don’t usually structure my goals in such a straight forward manner, but I am hoping that in doing so I can hold myself accountable throughout the semester. I plan to check in with my goals during mid-semester and adjusting based off of how I am doing in reaching them. It is hard to admit what we don’t know, but how can we learn unless we ask! I’m excited to see what we learn from each other this semester!

  2. kseniapekhtere1 · ·

    I think most of us can relate to your post and the funny old Facebook pictures. I agree that nowadays social media strongly influences our society. I get to many laughs and complains from my parents that I dedicate way too much time to social media (which definitely includes taking pictures of my food). Recently I have been thinking more about the negative effect social media has on society so I am very excited to read your blogs and learn your thoughts/experiences on the topic.
    But social media for sure has lots of benefits as well. And as you said there is a lot we can learn about digital business. I am excited to explore the world of digital business together and learn from each other.

  3. tuckercharette · ·

    This was a great post. I too used AIM but I feel the opposite way about social media influencing my life. Well maybe not opposite, but this post got me to think about my social media usage and how it’s different from others. While I used default “away” responses on AIM and made a Facebook by 8th grade, the gap between my last two Instagrams was 4 months. While I feel like social media guides the way I interact with action sport websites, I really don’t use social media to motivate myself the way that you do. It was really cool to hear that sometimes getting yourself out of bed could be driven by something as simple as a Snapchat story. Love to hear than although social media can influence your daily life, it can be used in a positive way!

  4. katherinekorol · ·

    I think it’s great that you have created a list of achievable goals before getting started in this class. I think its hard to set yourself up to achieve specific things when you’re not really sure what to expect from a course, and it will be cool to be able to look back on them later in the semester and see how far you’ve come. Your enthusiasm for this class makes me more excited to get going as well and inspires me to create my own goals. Good luck to you with the semester!

  5. addisonBC2018 · ·

    Tara – I loved the intro to this post! I think a lot of people our age can relate to the AIM nostalgia, and I think it was such a creative way to introduce your blog. It’s definitely interesting to reflect on the evolution of social media itself, along with our OWN evolution on social media. The list of goals was a creative way to end the post and outline a nice path for the semester – I look forward to seeing your blog follow it.

  6. Nice post. I can’t promise that you’ll get all the answers in this class, but I bet You will leave with a bunch of interesting questions.

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