I came into IS6621 with a few main expectations: that it would be a very collaborative, discussion based class, that I would learn about what factors contribute to a successful social media campaign, and that it would be a different classroom experience than any other course I’d taken. In some ways I was right, and in some I was wrong. The course was not as strategy oriented as I had expected. When I signed up for IS6621 I was picturing lectures on which platforms to use when, how to convince managers to adopt new tech and platforms, reasons for success/how to maximize views, clicks, etc.
What actually happened was very different: the course (in my opinion) took more of a philosophical or ethical/moral route that I had anticipated. Instead of just accepting the technology that exists today as is, we dove deeper into their uses and implications on business and the greater society at large. While many semesters have passed in which I barely remember a minute of the in class course time, I vividly remember conversations from IS6621 where we discussed the role of government in social media and technology, the ethics of internet advertising/targeting practices, corporate responsibility of tech giants, and even social media as a constitutional right. Much like Portico, the business principles and ethics seminar that the undergrads started their CSOM experience with, I feel that this kind of class is unique to a Jesuit university and was a great way to approach technologies that clearly have mountain-moving effects on humanity. Professor Kane didn’t teach us how to maximize views or just to use social media to earn profits, but to question why we are using these tools in the way that we are, whether this is right or not, and whether this will (or should) change. Obviously everything we’ve done relates back to business in the end and how it will eventually effect the revenues of a company, its business model, or even the way business is done. But what I liked about this class is we didn’t just learn to accept technology and policy as it is today, but we learned to question the status quo which will ultimately help us become the innovators of tomorrow, solving the problems that the technologies of today have created.
These new technologies aren’t just things that we adopt without question – this course really taught me to question the introduction of new tech and whether or not it is or is not beneficial for our society. I love the example that we looked at multiple times this semester of Facebook and the power of their Newsfeed. They created something so cool and so innovative that has doubtlessly improved communication and sharing on a personal level. But at the same time, they didn’t know their power and could not foresee how their tech would eventually be used to spread “fake news” and even lead to their founder being questioned by the US Senate. Now their business model has changed (not necessarily by choice) from a purely social media site to a news source that people look to whether Facebook was ready for that responsibility or not (and they clearly were not).
Besides just taking a more questioning approach to Social Media, Digital Business and Emerging Technology, there is something else to be learned from the notably not strategy-oriented layout of the course. This is that there is no one sure-fire way to get attention on these platforms or be successful on them. The best that we can do is become familiar with platforms (thank you twitter discussion) as they emerge and refine your writing skills to communicate effectively (thank you blog posts).
Overall, I really enjoyed this class. Perhaps the most rewarding part of it for me was watching my peers’ presentations each week. It was really interesting to have the classroom turned around and to have my classmates teaching me about something they’re working on professionally or just something they’re really excited about. Plus, I got to learn a lot about their tastes through their snack time contributions, which didn’t hurt either. All in all, I will definitely be recommending this course to the rising senior class, not just because I learned a lot, but because it was a surprisingly great way to bring my Jesuit education at BC to a close.
Thanks to all of you for making this semester in IS6621 a great one!