What do those words even mean?

“The past few years have witnessed the rapid rise of a number of new types of information technologies, such as social media, so-called “sharing economy” platforms, artificial intelligence, blockchain, internet of things, virtual and augmented reality, just to name a few. These new tools both present immense opportunities and pose considerable threats for businesses of all sizes and across industries.”

As I was trying to figure out what classes to take this semester, the above course description caught my eye. I was pretty sure that I knew what at least half of those words meant, PLUS it was cross-listed as a Marketing class, so there was no way I could go wrong, right?

And then I got the syllabus. Twitter activity? Blog posts? A presentation on a topic we’re not covering in class? BRINGING SNACKS?!? How much free time does this professor think we have? Not to mention, from talking to my twenty-two year old brother, and interning with some undergrad students this summer, my grasp on the “hip” tech things has decreased significantly since college (and let’s be frank – it was never all that great to begin with).

I quickly worried that I was getting in over my head, but I didn’t want to drop the class. I’ll be working in brand management after graduation in May, and social media is gaining traction as a marketing tool.

To be quite honest, I don’t really know what to expect from this class.  Right now, the majority of my experience on Twitter consists of tweeting at various Bravo “celebrities” and avidly following Chrissy Teigen.  Oh, and following the news.  It’s definitely entertaining, but is probably not that useful in a business setting.

Coming to the first class definitely assuaged some of my concerns – the class structure seems like it will really foster discussion.  As an MBA student, and (significantly) older than some of the undergrads, I hope there is potential to learn a lot from classmates that use technology in a very different way.  I’ll probably feel out of touch a lot of the time, but being able see the lenses through which undergrads and MBAs view digital media should be a great way to expand my understanding of how digital technology is used both on a personal level and a business level.

I’m excited to start looking at technology news in a new way, and I think the Twitter hashtag has already started that.  I watched both the Hulu and Netflix documentaries about the Fyre Festival this weekend, and social media and influencer culture played a HUGE role in the scam that the creator was able to pull off.  As social media becomes an ever more present part of our lives, and our interactions with others, it is crucial to understand both how it is utilized and the potential risks around its utilization.

That being said, I’m under no illusions that the class will be easy.  It’s definitely more work than I had anticipated, or honestly, wanted in my final semester of school.  I’m hopeful that, as the semester progresses, I will get into the habit of following interesting technology news, and having plenty of topics to blog and tweet about.  Let’s be honest – it won’t always be easy to write a blog post, but I’m hopeful that it will become more organic with time.

All things considered, I am excited for this class – it’s a relevant topic that I will hopefully be able to utilize out in the real world.  Plus, we get snacks.  And nothing can be too terrible when it includes snacks.

So, what’s next?

2 comments

  1. I’m glad you brought up the difference in the younger undergrads’ vs. experienced grad students’ perspectives on social media and the digital world. At first, I didn’t realize the course was for both undergrad and MBA students, but in retrospect I’m glad it is. I am genuinely looking forward to hearing the perspectives of the real-world veterans, MBA students, so that we can learn the difference in our perceptions on social media and digital business and discover together how we can overcome those differences so that everyone’s qualms and eased. I think these differences in perspective could be what’s inhibiting the world of digital business from becoming all that it can be. With experienced professionals such as yourself, and real-world fledglings like myself, I think our discussions have the potential to open both of our eyes to new opportunities out there and will help us yield a better understanding of the world we live in today.

  2. Totally agree with Conor above and your point about “being able to see the lenses through which undergrads and MBAs view digital media should be a great way to expand my understanding of how digital technology is used both on a personal level and a business level.”

    I think that it’s easy for people, including myself, who didn’t grow up with smartphones and social media (to the extent that it exists today) to shrug off social media almost as if it’s a fad. I also think it’s easy for younger students to miss the big picture around the consequences of their actions and decisions because they haven’t had enough real-world experience and the opportunities to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.

    I think there’s a real benefit in being able to take these two perspectives and encourage debate and collaboration on a huge number of topics!

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