Weekly Blog #12: Happily Ever After

Once upon a time, a mid-level communications professional in her mid-twenties signed up for a social media class as part of her graduate school program in PR at Georgetown University

So, the time has come. The end of another semester, and the end of my social media class. I am certainly glad for the semester to be over, since I took two classes this time around, and it was definitely a lot to handle because I also work long hours and have a lot going on in other areas of my life.

But regardless of all the school work, (which was all totally worth it), 😉 I learned a great deal in this class and am very glad I decided to take it. Overall, my favorite thing about the class was the fact that as a class, we had the opportunity to learn more about the theory, foundation and philosophy behind social media, rather than just all about how to use and implement specific tactics — and how NOT to use them — (although we did that also and it was very effective as well).

I really like the main idea behind the Cluetrain Manifesto and have been excited to see how “markets are conversations” really applies to much (or all, really!) of online communications, internet communities and social media forums — and will definitely use it in my career going forward.

While at first I don’t think I completely understood Clay Shirky’s promise, bargain and tool concepts, I think I do now and actually see them as a way to help cut through the clutter of our online lives.

Speaking of our online lives, I absolutely loved the book we read for this week, Hamlet’s Blackberry. Like my classmates Amanda and Kate (and perhaps others), I took great comfort in the fact that William Powers, the author of the book, thinks it is absolutely necessary in today’s digital world to find a happy medium or balance between the part of our lives where we interact online and the part of our lives where we interact in person. (Human-sounding voices vs. actual human voices. Amazing).

As someone who still very much enjoys sending cards/writing letters, having coffee with a good friend and above all, reading a good book (NOT a Kindle or Nook), this balance is very important to me and honestly, something I often struggle with — especially as a woman in her mid-twenties who by no means grew up in a “digital-less society.” Not to mention that most other people my age seem to be perfectly fine enjoying watching their lives get swept up by the mass technology craze.

Anyway, that said, I loved how in this class we talked a lot about how this rise in technology has affected our culture and society — and other cultures around the world, too, for that matter. Going forward, I think there will be many good things about social media that will continue to aid in the change and evolvement of social interaction in society; on the other hand, I fear what our culture will become if social media and online communications continue to expand at the current rate.

As for a few other things from the semester: learning more about the love-hate relationship we should all have with Google was fascinating and eye-opening; WAY more goes into editing Wikipedia than one would EVER think (but you can see why!), and although I will never be a gamer, who knew that online games could actually be used for something useful, like America’s Army?

And regarding this blog, overall I think it has been a great project and I have learned a lot of great tips about what makes a successful blog — some of which I have already shared with clients and they found them to be helpful. However, I do really wish I would have had more time to make my blog a bit more creative, perhaps with more stories and little anecdotes that I know would have helped illustrate my points a bit more interestingly. But, when all is said and done, I am happy with the work I did on it overall… and my boyfriend certainly enjoyed all of our talks about “what Jessie’s blog post assignment is this week!” 🙂

Before I sign off for the semester, I have to say this class has definitely really made me think a lot more about the point of social media, especially particular tools, and why I’m using them. Take Dunbar’s number and Facebook, for example. Ever since we learned about Dunbar’s number in class and how it applies to Facebook, I have been thinking about “de-friending” (GASP!) a ton of people who I honestly don’t even know anymore on Facebook. It is going to happen soon, I swear.

Well, that’s all she wrote, for now, as they say. Thanks to my instructors and classmates for a very entertaining and thoughtful semester!

…and they all lived happily ever after.

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About Jessie Gillman

This blog was created for my social media class as part of my graduate program in PR and communications at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. In addition to being a grad student, I am a PR/comm professional at Environics Communications where I focus on clean energy/environmental issues, education and women's health. I am also a huge book lover, an avid traveler, a big Philly sports fanatic, and I love Yoga.
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