I’d like…to stay… and [keep discussing more than I ever cared to know about Snapchat’s most recent update and get class credit for it]. Julie Andrews, can you work that in there?
In what other classes can we say that we’ve read a Harvard Business School case about the wedding video to Chris Brown’s “Forever” that went viral? Or talked about Kanye’s epic (I use that team loosely) return to Twitter? Or learned about the history of a meme? Yes, this type of meme.
Needless to say, IS6621 is not your average class. Despite the apparently alarming and very scary first class (that I happened to miss), Social Media and Digital Business turned out just fine. More than just fine, though, as I can confidently say it’s a class I look forward to more than any other and one in which I’ve learned the most amount of things about some of the most important things. Cliché, sorry.
And now, as a homage, here are some things for which I have IS6621, Professor Kane and my classmates to thank.
Thank you, IS6621, for keeping me informed.
If you had asked me in January whether or not I considered myself an informed person, I might have taken offense to the question. Of course, I’m informed. I’m one of the only people that actually reads my daily newsletters before deleting them from my inbox. Shameless plug for my favorites—theSkimm, the CB Insights newsletter, the Term Sheet and the Morning Brew. Perhaps because I considered myself so supposedly “informed,” I didn’t think much about how much our daily Twitter use and weekly discussions contributed to my now rapidly growing knowledge of the world around us.
A somewhat startling interaction with one of my classmates mid-semester helped me appreciate our “informedness,” if that’s a thing. This happened about a week or two following the initial blow up about Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. For some reason, she kept mentioning how crazy it was that we, as Boston residents, were right in the middle of the scandal. What? I was confused. Did I miss something? I asked her what she meant. “Oh, you know, because Cambridge Analytica is based right here in Boston. Cambridge is across the river, by Harvard.”
Did she not read the news? Had she not seen one of the, surely, hundred articles about it on Twitter? The #IS6621 #D feed had blown up in the last couple of weeks with all kinds of information about Cambridge Analytica, including the fact that it was a British consuming firm. So…not based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to clarify.
I couldn’t help but pass judgment, which wasn’t fair. She wasn’t tasked with trolling Twitter and engaging with classmates on this very subject. This detail was one, much less important detail in the larger scheme of the scandal. And one that I, as an informed IS6621 student, took knowing for granted. So, thank you, IS6621, for keeping me very thoroughly and well-informed.
Needless to say, this classmate was not a fellow IS6621 classmate.
Thank you, IS6621, for providing me with a more nuanced understanding about social media, digital business and emerging technology.
In one of my slightly more stressful searches for a blog topic, the Friday deadline seemed especially impending. I think I reached out to about everyone I’ve ever had conversation with for ideas, including my three sisters, who happen to be some of the smartest, well-read gals out there. Shameless plug.
In asking their advice, I prefaced my request for ideas with something like this: “I’m taking a class about social media, digital business and emerging technology. Every other week, we have to write a blog related to any of those subjects about a topic we’re interested in.” The responses I got were not exactly what I was hoping for.
- “Self-driving cars and how Uber is involved with it”
- “Bitcoin—Dad hates that”
- “Alexa or Siri”
They weren’t wrong. Each of these suggestions were inextricably linked to social media, digital business or emerging technology. Yet, they were some of the most commonplace and basic topics in these subject areas, especially considering our class discussions. Over the course of the semester, we had talked about how Wayfair is using AR to help customers more easily purchase furniture that fits in the spaces they have; how blockchain is being used to verify the authenticity of art, amongst other things; and, as of yesterday, how technology is being used in an infinite number of ways to improve the lives of those with disabilities. I couldn’t just write about Alexa.
Uh, Lucy, need I remind you of your very first blog post—the one in which you described the only uses of social media essentially as shameless self-promotion and “business.” What does that even mean? So apparently, as of January of this year, I, too, only knew of the “commonplace and basic topics in these subject areas,” to use my own words against myself.
This interaction with my sisters, similar to the interaction I talked about before, was humbling. It reminded me how much we’d covered over the course of the semester and how far I’d come (I’ll speak for myself…I started out a ways away).
Specifically, this class has provided me with a more nuanced understanding about social media, digital business and emerging technology. When I think of social media, I no longer am reminded about how much I hate Instagram. Rather, I think about how it’s being used for advocacy purposes within the #MeToo movement. When I think of digital business, I’m reminded that online shopping is not the only way companies interact with customers. And, when I encounter emerging technology, I’m not surprised when I see a robotic kitchen coming to town. These applications are revolutionary, unique and just 0.000001% of the amazing ways in which social media, digital business and emerging technology are being used in our world. Thanks for exposing me to some of them, IS6621.
Thank you, IS6621, for encouraging continuous learning.
I’ll go back to my early phasing. In what world do we get class credit for sitting down, reading about a subject we’re interested in and teaching our peers about it? In Professor Kane’s world. That’s what world.
In doing this, blogging not only made my Fridays (my blog due date) easily more productive than they’ve been since freshman year, it also instilled the habit of continuous learning into my future self. What better habit to promote than continuous learning to reflect the larger meaning of the class. Technology is here to stay. Social media is here to stay. Digital business are here to stay. It’s not longer what’s “trendy” or “what the kids are doing.” It’s elemental in how we go about our daily lives—get our news, order our food, catch up with friends, etc. You’ve got to keep learning to keep up.