I honestly thought this was going to be a class about social media and the internet. In reality, it’s a class about people.*
I originally selected this course because I thought it would help me become a better marketer. That I would learn all there is about using social media and revolutionize the work I did day-to-day. That I would finally have ALL THE ANSWERS to social advertising, spoiler alert: I haven’t yet. But what I instead found that this was a crash course of all the different ways that companies and organizations are working to evolve digitally to better serve, offer products to, and communicate to people. As much time as we spent on emerging technologies themselves, we spent as much time on how this impacted folks and their emotions. The class example that comes to mind is the AirBnB Ted Talk on how the platform was designed with people in mind and how they psychologically make purchasing decisions.
The class structure I think really drove this home. I feel like I walked out of this class, getting a better sense of my classmates, the importance of this topic in their work or life, and their perspectives, on a deeper level than any other classes in my MBA coursework. First. I’m going to spend some time raving about the undergraduates. As my first time taking a mixed ugrad-MBA class, I felt that I genuinely had a good opportunity to see the caliber of students in the CSOM program. I was consistently impressed with the level of engagement, knowledge, and contributions of the undergrads in our class discussion group (shout-out reading group C2).
Although 95% of class interactions happened digitally, I felt like there were plenty of opportunities to get to know the voice of individual people in the class. I also really appreciated the decision to avoid using the Canvas Learning System for posts and/or discussions. No offense to Canvas, it’s superior in my opinion to Blackboard, but every course before this where I’ve had to use the discussion boards for, has felt highly sterilized. Working out of WordPress and Twitter not only gave the opportunity to use networks where these conversations ACTUALLY happen, but it was also a good exercise on two different communication mediums: short vs. long form writing for public consumption. Plus, as a bonus, I was finally able to build up content on my professional twitter, an accomplishment I’ve been working towards for quite a while.
The Blogging Game: I spent a good portion of my first post dreading the blogging component of class. But honestly? It become my favorite part of the course (even though my timeliness in submitting them would indicate otherwise). My only REAL contribution of feedback on this assignment is to make the due date Sunday nights to cater to the demographic of students like me who psychologically couldn’t manage a weekday deadline. But that’s more of a “me” problem. Overall, the blogs provided a great snapshot on a wide variety of class topics. They felt like ongoing mini-research projects and was always impressed with the range and depth of topics covered by the class.
Ultimately, I think this course has helped me become a better manager. We didn’t talk about this topic explicitly but change management was a concept that I kept coming back to over and over again. When technology continues to evolve and emerge at an accelerating pace, how are we as people, as employees, as managers, reacting (or usually not reacting) to this? You can’t just expect to implement new tech and have that solve all your problems. You also need to think about the people this implementation is impacting. How do you work alongside them to understand the fears associated with this tech, the needs to better adapt to it, and the problems that arise from humans being, well human.
*If this isn’t the case Professor Kane then:
This was obviously about emerging technology only.