So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye

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.

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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.”

FacePalm

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.

And, Now…

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8 comments

  1. Great blog Lucy! I especially agree with the presentation comment. It was great to learn from my peers about topics that are interesting to them! Your presentation on Spyce was great, and even better when I read an article in the Globe today and could say “I already knew this!” I’m going to miss hearing about all these fun tech topics and am going to have to force people to have pleasant banter on all things in the news now…

  2. Habits are king indeed. Glad you enjoyed it. One thing to remember (not in this setting really when forced to reflect) is to keep your audience in mind.

  3. First off, I had no idea that was how you spell auf wiedersehein, so thanks for that. It sounds like you got a lot out of the class like so many of us did. When you mentioned how informed you felt, that was something that resonated with me as at the beginning of the class I wasn’t really sure where to get my tech news. I am inherently distrustful of media in general and it took me a while to figure out whether Wired, Engadget, Cracked etc. etc. are actually worthy sources. It was even harder to figure out who to follow on Twitter. I feel at the other end of this class I have figured out where to put my ear to the ground, which publications to trust, and which to be sceptical about to get the best tech news.

  4. I felt the same, one of the biggest take-away from this class for me is the habit to use social media correctly. Honestly, I was not active at all on social media before, and definitely not on Twitter. And now I know I have missed out a great platform to share information and gain some as well. And thank you as well for continuously sharing interesting thoughts in class and online.

  5. I totally agree that having this class served as the ultimate mandate for staying informed. It became easy for me to become irritated by the level of awareness of others by comparison and it will be sad when our weekly discussions are no longer a part of my life. However, I see it the same way that you do; this will be a part of our commitment to continuous learning moving forward. Twitter will continue to be a source of information for me in the future because as you aid, social media isn’t going anywhere and digital business is here to stay.

  6. I really agree with your comments on staying informed. I feel like I’m usually pretty well informed at a high level but rarely know the details around what’s going on. I really appreciate that this class has helped me actually become more in the know about a lot of the things in the news. I’m not much of a Twitter person but I’m planning to continue using it as a news source. Great post!

  7. I definitely share some of feelings you mentioned in your post. Like many have said I think we all were more informed this semester. I never had a habit to read news before this semester but thanks to this class and Twitter I felt very informed this semester. And I hope to continue using Twitter to get my daily dose of news. I also agree with you about gaining a deeper understanding of social media and digital trends. Because of blogs and presentation not only I learned about many cool application of technology but also I realised how much broader the topic is and how much I still do not know about it.

  8. Lucy! Thanks for the Wayfair AR shout out. I actually think that I learned a lot of things from this class. The idea to continue learning throughout our lives is one that is hard sometime to conceive of. Most people would say “of course I’m going to learn” and consider reading an article when they’re bored and taking their phone out. Other people think that reading the local newspaper or watching the news is “staying informed”. However, to truly stay up to date you have to be speaking with people, discussing and searching for what is the newest and greatest tech!! To stay up to date you have to surround yourself with smart people who are actively doing the same thing. That being said, I think this class really supported some organic and genuine learning. I’m glad you expressed it in your blog!

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