Went to the Middle East in Cambridge for the first time this past Thursday to check out Kirk Knight and Mick Jenkins downstairs, followed by Karlton Marz, Latrell James, Cam Bells, Hil Holla, and Caliph upstairs. Two great shows, and was particularly impressed by Caliph. A friend put me on to this video and I thought it was worth sharing:



When I wrote my first reflections on social media, I talked about reasons why I hate the Internet, or, rather, why I find the intangibility of the Internet and its immeasurable power to be incredibly frightening. In my blog post, I mentioned ways that people have used the Internet that have made me both proud and ashamed of the society we live in. As my opinions of social media have become more informed and mature throughout the semester, I realized that I was trying to relay the beginnings of my understanding of social media to be somewhat of a “double-edged sword,” as Professor Kane mentioned in the comments section of my blog post, and as we have touched upon many times in class. 

Throughout this semester, I have been astounded and inspired by the immense utility of social media, but I have also been humbled by the propensity to do harm by these same means. I have learned that in order to be the most effective and informed social media user, you must be cognizant of the audience that you have the ability to reach on the Internet, and how quickly a mistake can ruin your image. I have been surprised by the number of realms that social media has found application in – fitness, travel, craft beers – to name a few. I now find myself constantly thinking about how I could use social media to improve my experiences on a daily basis. That being said, here are just a few of the main things that I will always keep in mind from this class:

Know your mission, and stick to it. When implementing a social media strategy, it is imperative that you have a goal in mind, and that you tailor your actions to meet this goal. Staying true to your mission will add to your authenticity and credibility as a business, which, although intangible, is an incredibly important characteristic of a positive relationship with the consumer. Recognizing who your audience is and what they expect from you is a large part of this mission as well.

Create a conversation. Social media greatly improves the facility of engaging with consumers. Creating conversations with these consumers allows a business to better understand them and to tailor their future actions toward better meeting their needs. Creating a conversation with consumers also allows for the crowdsourcing of ideas, and makes innovating for the future that much easier. Since social media feels relatively informal, it also allows a business to connect on a more personal level with their consumers. Creating an emotional connection with the consumer forms the foundation for a strong and long-lasting relationship.

Take advantage of the free stuff! Social media makes it really easy for a business to collect data on what their consumers are saying about them. With sentiment analysis software, a business can analyze what consumers publish to public platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and can compile this information to get an idea of the response to a new product, event, etc. As mentioned before, they can also crowdsource ways to improve their business and innovate for the future, which is both convenient and cost-effective!


It was certainly an action-packed semester, what with all of the hacked Twitter accounts, the advent of Facebook Graph Search, the utility of social media in the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Google Glass applications, April Fools shenanigans, and countless other events that were centered on social media, and this is part of the reason why I had such a positive experience in this class and am so enthralled with this area of study. This class was incredibly dynamic and I was so inspired by all of the knowledge that my classmates had to share. Professor Kane has created such an interesting and interactive learning environment that I looked forward to being apart of every week. 

Being a science major, I know that there is most likely one right answer to the majority of questions that are asked of me. I have found the opposite to be true in the case of using social media in business. There is no single, right way to use social media. It allows for innovation. It encourages people to harness its power, and although we have made great strides to do so, its practicality will probably never be fully understood. Using social media is constantly doing research, it’s carrying out hypotheses, it’s analyzing data. In a way, it is an on-going scientific research project on a topic that I am SO excited about. This class was incredibly refreshing and I was very lucky to be a part of it! Thank you to my classmates, and to Professor Kane for this experience!

I thought that I understood the power of social media, but I was wrong. In the wake of the bombings that occurred at the Boston Marathon last Monday, social media proved to be one of the greatest assets to our modern world. Up until this point, I hadn’t realized the potential that social media had to also put lives in danger. In this blog, I’ll examine a few examples of how social media negatively impacted the events that occurred last Monday and throughout the week following. Hopefully this will provide some insight into the benefits and detriments of social media that came to my attention as a result of this tragedy, but that are also important to consider going forward as business professionals.

The misidentification of missing Brown University student as bombing suspect

  • What happened: After images of the bombing suspects were released on Thursday night, crowdsourcing began immediately. Kami Mattioli, a student at Temple University, thought she recognized one of the men pictured as Sunil Tripathi, a former high school classmate and current missing student from Brown University, and took to Twitter to express her concern. Reddit users immediately flagged her tweets and took to the forum website to discuss. Boston Police “supposedly” mentioned Tripathi’s name on the police scanner; Hartford, Connecticut CBS News affiliate Kevin Michael identified Sunil as a suspect in a tweet from his personal Twitter account which was then picked up by Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, Digg’s Ross Newman, Politico’s Dylan Byers, and Newsweek’s Brian Ries; and @YourAnonNews tweeted this same information, garnering more than 3,000 RTs and creating even more of a public concern. 
  • Why this matters: It took until mid-day Friday for my friends and I to understand that Sunil Tripathi had absolutely nothing to do with the Marathon bombings. With so much information being released and shared via various social media platforms, it is very easy for valid information to get muddled by uninformed accusations such as was made on Kami’s Twitter account. Although Kami expressed a legitimate concern that was not malicious in nature, her suspicion was directed toward the wrong audience. Kami should have gone directly to the police, as the Internet community is not a mature enough audience to filter out the truth from all the lies. This accusation from a seemingly unimportant character in our story and the “information cascade” that resulted was enough to get Boston Police to believe that Tripathi might have something to do with the attacks, and enough to get the general public posting maliciously on the Tripathi’s family Facebook page. Let’s keep in mind that the Tripathi family has had a missing son for about a month, now.
  • What we can learn from this: We all want to be the first to possess and release new and relevant information. It is imperative, as professionals, to understand the importance of our words, how many people they can reach, and the potential that they have to affect people’s lives. Therefore, we must emphasize the importance of being right, not first. As consumers, we must also understand the importance of recognizing authorities on a subject. In an article written by Alexis C. Madrigal for The Atlantic, Madrigal writes, “In the aftermath, I kept coming back to the moment when the fevered detective work of a subreddit broke out into a national story within minutes. Where had that authority come from? How had so many people bought in so fast?” And she has a great point. Who had the authority to declare innocent Sunil Tripathi a terrorist and why had so many people believed it? We must all be cautious of the information we choose to believe that is delivered to us through the Internet, and also attentive to the accuracy and validity of the information that we choose to broadcast to our following. Within an instant, one can lose credibility.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • What happened: In an article on the Atlantic Wire, author Rebecca Greenfield talks abou the plethora of images and footage from the Marathon bombings and how they are a recipe for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Greenfield recalls a study that “she completed … on the lasting mental and physical effects of exposure to graphic images following 9/11 and the start of the Iraq War. The study found that people who watched more than four hours of TV coverage a day in the weeks immediately after both events went on to report PTSD symptoms and, after 9/11, more physical ailments than those that didn’t.” With the advent of social media and its serving as an “unfiltered chronicle of the most distressing imagery,” it has become even more of an issue today. 
  • Why this matters: We must decide as a society whether or not the perpetuation of the emotions related to the tragic events that happened on Marathon Monday, as a result of the circulation of graphic images and footage of the event, is the best way for us to cope. People have almost no control over the nature of the images and footage that is broadcast to them, whether it is on television, in tweets or Vine videos, Instagram or Facebook photos, or albums of pictures that are compiled by online news sources. As Whitney Erin Boesel put it,”Gone are the days when one had to watch an hour of TV news to see the same tragic explosion replay six times; gone, too, are the more recent days when seeing the same tragic explosion six times meant clicking “replay” five times on YouTube. Seeing this explosion six times takes only a single link click, and less than a minute of one’s time; in an hour, one could watch this explosion happen not just six times, but 600 times.”
  • What we can learn from this: In my opinion, if you are feeling stressed or squeamish, choose not to look through photo albums showing the aftermath of a tragedy such as the Boston Marathon bombings. I believe that those who broadcast graphic images and footage should, however, alert viewers that what they are about to see may be graphic. In that way they might be able to prevent viewers from seeing what might cause them emotional distress. I think there may be a bigger issue, however, in what is shown on broadcast television. Often viewers are not warned about the graphic nature of material that is shown on air and cannot avoid seeing images that may trigger negative responses. Again, it is important to understand the scope of the audience that you are providing information to. It is not necessary to censor the information that you release, but, rather, it is important that you are sensitive to the emotional stability of your audience and that you are wary of the unpredictable nature of their response. It is also important to be ready and able to address complaints from your audience in a respectful manner, as well as be prompt in the amelioration of mistakes.

Drawing Connections and Making Assumptions:

  • What happened: After the two bombing suspects were identified, people took to the Internet to get more information about the brothers – scouring social media websites for their personal pages and digging up their pasts in order to understand the present. And that’s just the issue. Although some leads that turned up went hand-in-hand with the identification of these brothers as terrorists such as activity on one of the brothers’ YouTube page, the public tried too hard to align any information they found on the Internet with the nature of the events that took place in order to make sense of the situation. One of the strangest connections that I saw was between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and hip-hop music as a result of numerous song quotes found on his personal Twitter page. Sources report that Tamerlan was a member of a hip-hop website called real-hiphop.com, which posts pictures and information about hip-hop music. Somehow, a link between hip-hop music and terrorism was made, and hip-hop artist T.I. spoke out about the subject saying that he isn’t pleased that his pictures were used on this website and that he has no connection to it. He also “expressed anger over the fact that hip-hop is being associated with this tragedy.” T.I. was quoted, saying, “Hip-hop narrates the activity and conditions of our culture. It doesn’t create them. Hip-hop ain’t never been about hurting innocent people.” 
  • Why this matters: In my mind, it is justified to desire to make sense of an event such as the Boston Marathon bombings by trying to put together pieces of the bombers’ pasts in order to possibly understand their motives. However, it is necessary to recognize that although these men are now considered terrorists and they did something that is unforgivable, we must also consider that they are human, like us. It is important that we understand that not every detail of these men’s lives correlate with their actions. To put it simply, T.I. shouldn’t need to defend hip-hop. A smart person knows that you can enjoy hip-hop or produce hip-hop music and not be a terrorist. It is ignorant to make assumptions and create connections such as these where none exist.
  • What we can learn from this: The lesson here is very simple. Do not create connections where none exist, and going back to the first bulletpoint, strive to be right, not first. It would be foolish to make an uninformed accusation or assumption and lose your credibility. It is imperative to thoroughly scrutinize everything that is published to a public social media account in order to prevent the spread of messages that harm your reliability as a source.

These are just a few examples of ways that social media had a negative effect following the tragedy that occurred last Monday. Social media also facilitated the broadcast of police locations that could have allowed the 2nd suspect to stay one step ahead of the police and increased the amount of time that the city of Boston sat on edge, throughout the length of the manhunt. Another difficulty with social media is that it forced broadcast journalists to function at a pace that they weren’t prepared to handle. This resulted in false information being broadcast across usually credible networks and spread to people across the globe who were seeking information. These type of errors are difficult to recover from. In the case of any emergency, we are always told to remain calm. This goes for broadcast journalists and those running the social media accounts of news networks, too – in order to bring about the best quality of information, we have to reamin calm when others report information faster than us, and be cautious when choosing to post information, making sure to fact check to confirm that your sources are reliable and so that, in turn, you will be considered a reliable source as well.

For all of the negatives that I just mentioned, there was an equal amount of positives that came out of the use of social media in the wake of this tragedy. Social media allowed us to crowdsource details about the bombing suspects and create and spread a Google Doc containing a running list of people who were ready and willing to host anyone affected by the bombings who could not return home. Social media also allowed us to share our support and affection for those who were affected by the tragedy, and to contact our loved ones when the cell service was down. It helped Boston College students to band together and create an event called “The Last 5” in which students were to walk the last 5 miles of the marathon to honor those who were affected by the bombings, and to inspire a whole  lot of school pride.

Looking back on the event, it is crazy to imagine how differently it would have evolved had social media not have been in the picture. In fact, it is difficult to imagine daily life without the use of social media, or even broadcast journalism. We live in a fast-paced world, and sometimes it is difficult to keep up, but it is of utmost importance that you remain calm and thus credible in serious situations such as the Boston Marathon bombings, as well as in every day life. No one can argue with accurate information, even if it comes a minute late.

I’ve been training for a half-marathon, so being my tech-oriented self, I’ve naturally downloaded about every run-keeping, GPS-capable, calorie-tracking app that’s been recommended to me including iMap My Run and RunKeeper. Facebook must also know what I’ve been up to, as it suggested to me, via the Facebook app, to download GymPact and prompted me to connect it to RunKeeper.

Image The thing that struck me most about this ad was the line “Motivate your runs with cash rewards – paid by those who couldn’t get off the couch.” This immediately reminded me of our discussion from last class period about social gaming and specifically Priebatch’s TEDtalk on adding a game layer to the world. And it scared me.

I decided to investigate. I went to the app’s website and saw that they would, in fact, reward you for working out.


But don’t be fooled – there is literally a price to pay if you miss a workout. As part of signing up for the app, you make a pact to work out a certain number of days per week with a certain dollar penalty ($5 – $50) for each missed day. The user makes money by going to the gym; typically $0.30 – $0.40 per workout. This money comes from penalties incurred by other users for not meeting their goal. Users can schedule or cancel a break, and even claim injury to avoid penalties – but that involves contacting your doctor! Once you reach $10 in rewards, you can redeem it via Paypal.


How it works:


  • Sign up, make a pact, assign a penalty, and link your credit card (uh oh…)
  • Make sure your gym is verified! Over 40,000 gyms are in the system, but if yours isn’t, add it:
    • If you plan on working out outdoors, consider using RunKeeper, an app that is partnered with GymPact and that will allow you to track your runs, walks, and bike rides.
    • Check into your gym using your smart phone (Apple or Android).
    • Work out. Keep in mind:
      • Workouts have to be at least 30 minutes long to count for your weekly pact.
      • Get rewards.
        • Earn $0.30 to $0.40 per workout.
        • Once you’ve reached $10, claim your reward via PayPal.


The app was developed in a behavioral development class at Harvard and the pilot, conducted in Boston, had a 90% success rate of getting people to the gym. I think the partnership with RunKeeper shows a lot of promise for this application, though I still don’t believe that this app is something that I would use.

My quarrel with this application is similar to what others brought up in class – is the society we live in becoming dominated by this game mechanism? Do we need rewards such as money in order to get motivated? I certainly hope not, though it is important to acknowledge that many things most of us already do follow a game mechanism – such as getting grades in school or getting discounts for being a frequent shopper at a certain store. It’s interesting to note how social media replaces face-to-face interactions with the ability to share information and data with a diverse group, and also in its ability to establish communities online that are difficult to facilitate in the physical world. The GymPact app seeks to replace something seemingly intangible, however: intrinsic motivation. As social media and the Internet continue to take over the tangible things in our lives, such as face-to-face communication, it is a little frightening to think about what intangible things, such as intrinsic motivation, applications can replace.

What do you guys think? Does the game mechanism frighten you? Is this app something you would use/ find effective to get you motivated to work out?

As social media is still a realm in which few can deem themselves experts, those in charge of social media, digital marketing, and public relations for large franchises such as professional sports teams often find themselves questioning the boundaries of their work, and how they can push them without facing negative consequences.  Dewayne Hankins, director of digital media for the Los Angeles Kings, faced these issues when he reported to LA to overhaul their media in November of 2010.

Los Angeles is not exactly the hockey capital of the United States, compared to Minnesota, where Hankins had previously built the social media outreach for the Minnesota Wild. Hankins faced a challenge in that he had to create a unique voice for a franchise in a city whose basketball team boasted 17 championships, but whose hockey team *had* no Stanley Cups to their name. In doing so, Hankins effectively helped to cultivate the hockey culture in southern California, and along the way, the LA Kings hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup – and was the first #8 seeded team to do so.

Social media in professional sports teams can be very bland. Those without a notion of the impact that effective use of social media can have on the fan base of the franchise tend to stray away from too much innovation, and thus engage fewer consumers. An account that serves the purpose of posting in-game updates and final scores serves a purpose, but is it worth maintaining if it isn’t doing anything to better the franchise? Dewayne Hankins thinks the answer is no, and I have to agree.

Hankins has made the most impressive influence on the Kings franchise via Twitter. From early April of 2012 to the end of May (Stanley Cup playoffs) the @LAKings account gained 60,000 new followers. It was tweets like these that really got the hockey (and social media) world talking:

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This was just after the Kings had beaten the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 in the opening game of the series in the early rounds of playoffs. Hankins called this, “the tweet that shook Canada” after media started to bring up the specific tweet with Kings players. Hankins has been quoted saying that many of the team’s “ribbing tweets” are inspired by fans of other teams – and in this case it was the fans of other Canadian teams who had tweeted at the LA Kings, thanking them for beating the Canucks. This was Hankins way of saying, “you’re welcome.”

Other provocative tweets include an awesome (IMHO) exchange with the Detroit Redwings official Twitter account:

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Now the Red Wings last won the cup in 2008, which really isn’t that long ago, but many have written them off as contenders for a few reasons, one of them being the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom.

The big question here is: are these tweets appropriate? Are they harming the franchise? I personally think that these are the exact type of interactions that hockey fans in particular love to see. No foul language was used, no specific players were targeted, but playful taunts were exchanged – incredibly toned down versions of what the actual players exchange in games. If this were the Twitter account of a children’s soccer club and it posted tweets antagonizing specific players on an opposing team and saying hurtful things about other clubs, we would have a different story on our hands. Because these taunts are kept light-hearted and cater to the culture of “chirping” that has evolved in hockey, I think they are fitting and a creative way to engage and rile up a fan base, which is exactly what Hankins serves to do.

Other examples of “Hall-of-Fame tweets” as Hankins likes to refer to them as, are:


where Hankins campaigns for Anze Kopitar to be on the cover of NHL 13, playing in on popular pop culture references (Nickelback), and posting other humorous fun facts that engage the followers.

Another great way they have engaged their following is through celebrity engagement. Rainn Wilson, probably better known as Dwight Schrute from The Office, took to his Twitter account to inquire about tickets to game 4 of the Stanley Cup Playoff series between the LA Kings and Phoenix Coyotes. Here’s what ensued:

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For those who don’t watch The Office, Wilson’s character Dwight Schrute was pranked by his co-worker Jim when he found his stapler encased in Jell-O in the pilot episode of the series.

What an awesome way to gain more publicity, engage followers of an extremely popular television show, and to have fun while doing so. Wilson tweeted while he was at the game, which gave more exposure to the franchise:

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Even though some of these tweets are a little strange (true to Dwight’s character), they are somewhat provocative and entertaining, and did nothing but good for the franchise.

I had never seen this interaction before doing a little more research on the LA Kings media presence, but this is one of my favorite things that the Kings have done:


If you’re confused, watch this:

If you haven’t seen Wayne’s World (one of the best movies of all time) you probably won’t fully appreciate this reference. But it’s absolutely brilliant. The LA Kings have found unique ways to engage their audience by sprinkling in pop culture references such as Nickelback and Wayne’s World, engaging celebrities such as Rainn Wilson, and playfully taunting their opponents in a way that mimics the style of the chirping that goes on between players on the ice. Having this account associated with the team puts a playfully competitive, engaged, humorous face to the franchise, and keeps the fans wanting to come back for more. I’m a die-hard Chicago Blackhawks fan, but after doing more research on the Kings franchise, I now follow them on Twitter as I am interested in taking away some ideas that I can possibly incorporate into social media for Boston College athletics.

What do you guys think of what the LA Kings are doing on Twitter? Do you think there are negative consequences of some of the risks that they have taken that I have failed to realize?

As news reports started flooding in about the impending snowstorm, so did texts from my mother:



Excuse her language in this last one:Image

Sue Pedersen was under the impression that this blizzard would be historic, and she was right. In an article written yesterday on wptv.com, Ben Brumfield and David Ariosto reported:

1 — Person killed due to the storm so far.

3 — NBA teams that had to change travel plans to New York City due to the blizzard.

4 to 5 inches per hour — The rate of snowfall in Connecticut during the blizzard.

6 — The number of states that have declared an emergency.

34 inches — Snowfall in Hamden, Connecticut.

83 mph — Peak wind gust at Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts.

103 — Canceled ACT achievement test sites in eight states.

Up to $500 — Fine for driving on the streets in Rhode Island

1,700 — Flights canceled Saturday.

3,612 — Number of snow plows and other equipment in use in Massachusetts.

More than 659,000 — Customers who lost power in nine states.

More than 40 million — People affected by the storm in the U.S. Northeast.

While Nemo’s numbers may not really compare to the truly historic “Blizzard of ’78,” what will truly differ is the way we remember this snowstorm, which will undoubtedly be a result of the evolution of the Internet and social media. Through extensive Google searching, one of the coolest things I found about the Blizzard of ’78 was this interactive timeline. However cool this timeline may be, Nemo will be documented in a way that could not have been predicted by anyone in the 1970s. What images we are familiar with are images that have been digitized and uploaded to the Internet long after the historic event took place.



Nemo will differ in that the vast majority of images generated of the storm will be digital, and available for everyone to see. Via Instagram and Twitter, one can simply search #Nemo and come up with a whole collection of pictures and text from users all over the eastern seaboard, documenting their experience with the blizzard. Everything available on the Internet regarding the Blizzard of ’78 is a relatively recently digitized image or newspaper article or an account written years past the event. We documented Nemo from the first snowflake.

With Twitter’s new searching feature allowing users to see older tweets, we will be able to very efficiently access multimedia from the storm that wasn’t possible in 1978. Wall Street Journal archived some of the best/weirdest Instagram and Vine posts relating to Nemo in one of their blog posts. The storm was given a name, for reasons cited below in this Weather Channel article from the fall of 2012:

1. Naming a storm raises awareness.
2. Attaching a name makes it much easier to follow a weather system’s progress.
3. A storm with a name takes on a personality all its own, which adds to awareness.
4. In today’s social media world, a name makes it much easier to reference in communication.
5. A named storm is easier to remember and refer to in the future.

I paid particular attention to the fourth bulletpoint, which cites the importance of naming the storm in today’s social media world. Not only was it instrumental in archiving multimedia from the storm, but it was also crucial in the dissemination of news from outlets around the northeast. I don’t watch a lot of television, but I do actively refresh my Twitter feed, which is the only way that I knew of the $500 fine for driving in Boston. News spread solely through print, radio, or television, which it probably was in 1978, did not have nearly as much reach as news spread via Twitter using #Nemo.

One of the coolest things I encountered while following the storm via social media was the steady stream of pictures from the Twitter account @heightsphoto of the Boston College campus during the storm. While I was inside writing lab reports, here’s what was going on:



and here’s my favorite:


Check out a full gallery of these pictures here. These pictures inspired my friends and I to take a late-night adventure, but they also are great evidence of the power of social media to compile and spread information. For some, reading about and viewing pictures of the blizzard was just enough to really experience the storm. While I didn’t take any pictures that were nearly as good as those taken by The Heights photographer, my mom did have a point when she told me to take pictures. Nemo was historic, and through social media, anyone’s images could be made iconic because of the facility of their diffusion. This wasn’t the case in 1978, where images that were publicized and made iconic were, for the most part, sourced to a professional photographer who worked for a news team.

I can’t imagine there were many adventures that went un-Instagrammed or un-Tweeted, and SNL made a joke about that last night:


We have probably all, in some way, been witness (or been victim to – shame on you) the “YOLO” craze. Most recently derived from hip-hop artist Drake’s hit song, “The Motto,” the clever acronym stands for “You Only Live Once.” Most literally, Drake is suggesting that since “you only live once” you should probably spend a lot of money, drink a lot of expensive alcohol, do a lot of drugs, fraternize with a lot of women, and ignore any “haters” because they’re just jealous of your lifestyle. In practice, not only are most of these things unrealistic for those of us not living the celebrity lifestyle, but most of them also have the potential to have fairly adverse consequences. I guess that’s where YOLO comes in. YOLO suggests that since you only have one life, you should ignore the consequences of your actions because they essentially do not matter.


Less literally, this acronym could be a “cooler” way to say, “live your life to the fullest” or to justify doing something slightly outside of your comfort zone, such as taking an impromptu trip to Europe or striking up a conversation with the Ryan Gosling look-a-like at the bar. However, it is simply impossible for an Internet-dependent society such as ours to take this clever, potentially motivational, and relatively innocent phrase and not kill it. If the search results for #YOLO on Twitter weren’t enough to make you hate my generation, then take a look at these memes:








People actually make these and think that they are funny.The Internet has allowed for proliferation of this embarrassing trend, as well as ignorance. This is why I hate the Internet.


            I may also love the Internet for the same reason that I hate the Internet. Through the use of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and the like, we are able to so easily spread our new ideas, knowledge, and even campaign for the greater good through crowdfunding efforts on Indiegogo and Kickstarter. We create viral videos and have Internet celebrities. The ability to transcend the traditional hierarchical structure of society, or “disintermediation” as The Social Economy calls it, is one of the most fascinating and exciting features of the giant social network that is the Internet. Though this disintermediation may be slightly threatening and “disruptive to power structures” in a traditional business setting, it has proven to be an extremely effective marketing tool for others. Justin Bieber, who most recently became the Twitter user with the most followers, was just KidRauhl, posting videos on YouTube of himself singing and playing guitar on street corners in his native Canada, until Scooter Braun discovered him while he was browsing videos. Outside of cyberspace and before the Internet, getting a contact in the music industry was an incredibly laborious and daunting task. Nowadays, you can post your song on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter page, and chances are through a series of strategic shares and RTs, someone in a position of power has seen your video. Pretty amazing stuff.


            So it turns out that I love the Internet. But it also scares me. Just as it allowed us to campaign for disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy and express our condolences for the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, it has also allowed us to spread hashtags such as #cutforBieber and facilitate cyber-bullying. Not to mention the spread of YOLO. The combination of the Internet’s intangibility and its immeasurable power is slightly frightening. When people ask me, “What is the point to all of this nonsense?” (obviously referring to my social media obsession), I can’t help but think, “What isn’t the point?” Social media is really more powerful than we could ever know, and until business executives reconcile with the fact that the use of social media in the workplace will change the way things are done traditionally, they might be behind their competition. I really can’t wait to learn about the ways that social media will make an impact on my future, and how I can make an impact through social media in my future career.


I’ll leave you with this: