Apologies in advance for the title of this blogpost, but like Ariana Grande, I learned a lot of valuable lessons that I will take with me beyond this class.
We use social media on such a daily basis but never really stop to analyze and think about it deeply. I am really glad this class gave us the opportunity to have important conversations about the dark side of internet, as well as the opportunities it has created. I’ll admit this class was difficult to navigate at first and keeping up with commenting and tweeting was a struggle, but I can honestly say I have never taken a class so relevant to my own life.
This class also helped me get over my fear of posting. I never really post on social media and mostly use it to view other people’s material, so forcing myself to tweet every week helped me to embrace the use of social media. I think that at this age we tend to obsess over likes so I try to not post too much. However, because our posts were only for our class to see, I focused much more on posting quality content that I actually liked.
I’m not going to lie, each week I knew I had to blog I sort of dreaded it, but once it actually came time to blogging, I ended up really liking the experience. The freedom to pick any topic and go in depth with it allowed for personal exploration and creativity that we normally do not get with CSOM classes. It was nice to be able to pick a topic that I actually wanted to learn more about and present it in an interesting and digestible way for other people. I also really liked reading the blogs and similarly chose ones to read that I personally found interesting. I learned a lot of new information each week in a fun and refreshing way. Everyone’s blogs improved a lot over the course of each week and I found myself looking forward to reading them.
I love Twitter and use it daily, but I don’t ever post myself. Back in 2009 as a 13-year-old I would post literally anything about my day, so I figured I probably have enough tweets to last me a lifetime. It was strange getting back into tweeting since I haven’t done it in so long, but it felt great to discuss relevant topics and see what everyone was interested in sharing that week. I also discovered a lot of great Twitter accounts that will help me keep up with all of the latest tech innovations. My personal Twitter is mostly filled with memes and celebrity nonsense, so I am happy to say that I can incorporate more professional and useful accounts into my feed.
The student presentations were definitely my favorite aspect of the class and I got to learn about a variety of topics that I would have never known about. I thought that some topics would have a lot of overlap, but surprisingly there was a wide range of choices and I really enjoyed that. As for presenting itself, I was terrified.
I always feel extremely nervous when I present and I was very worried beforehand, but I think it helped me get over my fear of public speaking…a little. I enjoyed the preparation for the presentation and I learned a lot about my own topic as well.
The weekly surveys we complete every week held me accountable for providing quality content and actually reminded me of how I feel when I use Instagram when I post a photo. Instead of caring about how many likes I get and if my picture looks great, I cared about if people would find my blogpost interesting or my Twitter presence noteworthy. The rating system definitely ensures that we post high quality content, but I did find myself overthinking my blog posts sometimes because I wanted other people to really like it and rate it well. It sort of reminded me why I don’t post on social media too much, but I think the surveys have a positive purpose in that they hold us accountable. At first it felt weird to rank my peers and grade them on essentially any contribution, but by doing so we ensure that we put in more effort than we perhaps normally would. I do think there are parallels between how I feel when I post a photo and a blogpost, but one certainly serves a more useful purpose than the other. Likes and positive comments give us a sense of validation and I definitely felt happy when people liked my posts and told me they found my topic interesting.
I am very glad I took this class and can honestly say that I have never taken a class like this before. The guest speakers were incredible and the combination of undergrads and grads also contributed to an interesting dynamic. I feel like I have a much better sense of how social media functions aside from a way for us to share pictures and information. I will miss the great discussions we have had as well as the delicious snacks. Thanks to everyone who made this class so wonderful and to Professor Kane for always leading great discussions!