The most important thing that I learned this semester was the power that social media has. Namely, the spread of misinformation online. The internet has slackened its collective grasp on the truth when posting and sharing information, in the pursuit for money or asserting one’s agenda. With billions of people on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and various other news outlets, it only makes sense that social media has become an increasingly powerful cultural and political force. The election of Donald Trump for president is the most obvious instance of the impact of social media on human society. Social media arguably won him the presidency. This is the prime example of the influence social media has on today’s world because it’s frightening how much it actually has. Social media is proving that it can change the course of history in bold, unpredictable, Trump-esque ways.
Both of my favorite videos were TED Talks. The first TED Talk, “How to Make a Splash in Social Media,” showed how movements can happen on social media. I liked this video because the movement, Fightin’ Splashy, that occurred, wasn’t supposed to happen. Greenpeace did not anticipate or want this, but it ended up working out for their mission, in the end. This goes back to the amazing un-predictableness of social media and I think this video showcased that well. The second TED Talk, “How false news can spread,” taught me how to create and spread fake news. I liked this video because of how it explained possibly the most significant problem with news and journalism. Everyone should be aware of circular reporting and how it can create fake and “incredible” news. Additionally, people need to be aware that user-generated content can also have the same result. This video is a good reminder that in today’s world you should be skeptical when reading articles and consuming information online.
While I enjoyed the digital artifact activity the most, the social media strategy activity was the most surprising to me. I enjoyed diving into a company’s, Tesla, Inc., in my case, social media analytics and then deciphering it in order to find when improvements can be made. Comparing Tesla’s data to other companies helped with that. Creating social media strategies, a critical response plan, policies, and pieces of sample content was more enjoyable than I thought.
Now that I have taken a class on social media, I feel that I can use the knowledge I have gained to potentially see social media trends and outcomes before they happen. Although, social media is still mostly unpredictable, I believe the information that was given to us in class would be enough for a well educated guess. Personally, I now know how to create the most astonishing, flabbergasting, infectious viral type of content that is easily spreadable. Time to start my YouTube or online career.