As I was reading over my first blog post titled “Curious and Overwhelmed”, I realized that yes, I had a lot of good notions about Social Media and Digital Business but I also did not realize how much of a positive experience this class would be.
I think my first notion that there were lots of deadlines was a correct one. Without my planner, I would not have been able to keep track of the numerous things that needed to get done each week to stay “on track”. I had the right idea, tweets, blog posts, blog comments, individual presentation, weekly survey, oh, and did I mention blog comments (I spent perhaps too much time on these this semester). Not to mention that these things took time too, especially when I was trying to do a good job. What I think I didn’t forsee for this class is that when I was given the proper time (by only taking 4 classes this semester), I actually really enjoyed the work.
The articles we read in class were interesting and the TED talks were phenomenal. Rarely did I find myself rating a reading below a 7 and a TED talk below a 9 or a 10. Yes, TED talks are easier to digest at times, I admit that. No matter how obviously the speaker was trying to sound as if they just predicted the entire future of the human race, I still kept enjoying them. But honestly I wrote blog posts which were inspired from these readings and TED talks. I wrote a blog post about Ronson, and his notion of the Mob Mentality of Social Media. His story was compelling and drove me to investigate how people act differently online than they do in person. For the first time in a long time, I was studying something I REALLY WANTED TO STUDY. Is this not what we’re supposed to be doing at school? I think the blog posts really inspired me to realize that I was in control of my studying. It seemed that I was applauded for going out and exploring the stuff that I actually wanted to learn about.
Not only were the TED talks and readings for class inspiring, but the class dynamic itself also was interesting. Sitting in class spurred more thoughts in my own head than many of my other classes had before. Frankly, I wrote a blog post which was purely based off of one sentence that Professor Kane mentioned in class. He claimed that Facebook wasn’t meant for teenagers anymore, it was meant for people in college or beyond. That mere statement blew me away and I wanted to counter it because I had grown up on Facebook when I was in middle school and high school. That genuine desire to go out and research something based off a single statement in class is what really drove me to believe that this class was an awesome experience.
I think what this class comes down to is some really insightful students and a great professor. I believe that many of the people who were a part of this class truly and genuinely wanted to be a part of the ecosystem within which this class existed. Some students really enjoyed their blog posts, some really enjoyed tweeting, and some really enjoyed speaking up in class. Nevertheless, it was through many different avenues and lenses that I did end up learning about the students around me in the classroom. I felt like I would interact with my close friends during break time, other students in class discussions, and yet I knew what some people enjoyed most about technology exclusively through the digital presence which this class offered.
Now if I am going to post honestly about this course I have to comment upon what I didn’t like about the course too. I will say that with a busy semester, this course would’ve been more burdensome than I would’ve liked it to be. To genuinely put the best foot forward in this class, one has to be prepared to spend some serious time on the work. I can honestly say that I did come as close as I can to truly “wanting to do homework” when doing homework for this class. That being said, I do believe that a realm of too much work exists, even when it is stuff that you enjoy. Therefore, I would advise anyone who enjoys reading tech articles and doesn’t mind spending about 1.5x as much time on this work than another class to take the class. However, without knowing this going in, I could see this class as being a very very unhappy experience for some if they aren’t truly ready to try to dive into this stuff. Without the right mindset, I think the class which I think might’ve been one of my favorite classes at BC, could turn into a real pain.
But what did I really learn from this class? I really learned that knowing technology and what is new in the field is perhaps one of the biggest oversights in the whole solar system. If anyone tries to tell you that they “are an expert in everything tech related” they’re wrong. We spoke about a multitude of subjects from Block Chain to Artificial Intelligence and we spent time learning how to leverage digital business and spoke to social media experts. It was through these discussions that I learned just how vast the digital world of business is growing to be. These fields are constantly expanding and changing by the day with new tech startups getting massive amounts of funding to try to tackle new issues using these kinds of technology. It is impossible to know and one can only hope to briefly grasp what some of these EXTREMELY smart people are capable of doing.
We learned that someday Block Chain may change the very essence of how business transactions may occur, eliminating banks entirely. We learned that Artificial Intelligence may learn to speak with us as another human can, guiding our moral compass to our anniversary dinner instead of a board meeting which we had double booked by accident. Lastly, we learned that we might be eliminating the need for personal cars someday as we ride share through autonomous vehicles. These are only a few of the insanely different ways that technology may change the way in which we conduct our daily lives and we cannot begin to know the others.
I actually think that Turkle said it best in the video for this week. She mentioned how as we get more accustomed to technology, we’re actually finding ourselves becoming slave to a new way of thinking. She mentions that people “want to go to that board meeting, but […] only want to pay attention to the bits that interest [them]” as people use their cellphones to increasingly ignore colleagues, teachers, and parents. She goes on to mention that people are “designing technologies that will give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship”. I fear the world that Turkle hints at and hope that technology helps us more than it hurts our society. We need to be wary of our uses of technology, and know that each new social robot or self fulfilling contract could change the very nature of the way that humans interact.
This class really opened up my eyes to the possibilities of technology positive and negative. With a great Professor who clearly wanted to be in class (a personal thank you here @geraldckane), some great material and some great classmates, I just wanted to say thanks. I really enjoyed the times I had in this class and I REALLY enjoyed not having to take exams. I had a great semester, here’s to many sections following in our footsteps. I look forward to hearing how this class grows and changes in the coming years.