By Rafael Marañón-Abreu, SDM’10, and Azamat Abdymomunov, SDM’10. This article was published in the MIT SDM Pulse, Spring 2011
Editor’s note: Rafael Marañón-Abreu and Azamat Abdymomunov founded the MIT Social Media Club in September 2010. As of this writing, the club has 70 active members, including MIT students, faculty, and staff
MIT’s System Design and Management Program (SDM) has not only provided the advantages that we expected from a world-class program in engineering and management—it has also given us the opportunity tlearn about emerging technologies that can help people, corporations, and government work more effectively. Within this realm, social media stood out for us as an area worth further exploration.
We cofounded the MIT Social Media Club to build connections with others at SDM and across the Institute and work collectively to understand the newest channels of communication—from communities such as Facebook and LinkedIn to blogs, Twitter feeds, and YouTube. As mid-career professionals returning to university, we believed that it was important to investigate social media and understand how to put them to work for individuals and organizations. We were surprised to learn that there was no social media club at MIT, so we decided to start one. We believed this could help us maximize our education and share past and present thoughts and experiences, while visualizing and creating our individual futures and simultaneously giving back to SDM and the MIT communities.
Founding the MIT Social Media Club was hard work, but applying many of the concepts we learned in our SDM courses helped us to execute this exciting startup. For example, our lessons from classes in system architecture, systems thinking, technology strategy, and project management helped us to look at how social media functions in the contemporary environment.
We discovered that social media is not only useful for job hunting, but can help us better understand the dynamics among talented people in an organization, as well as how learning teams are constituted and flourish. We believe it can offer a competitive advantage in global business, help governments reinvent themselves, and help academics expand and evolve their capacity for teaching and research.
In the MIT Social Media Club, we encourage our members—including PhD, master’s, and Sloan students, as well as others at MIT—to understand and get handson experience using social media tools and to explore how they can be used to close the gap between an organization’s senior leaders, front-line employees, partner companies, customers, and other stakeholders. In the same way, social media can be used to build bridges between faculty members and students, and among researchers from different universities and countries.
Already we have come up with a couple of frameworks that we used in teaching an Independent Activities Period course this past January, ESD.942 Social Media: Trust, Information Seeking & Systems Innovation in the Digital Age. This class was sponsored by Dr. Joseph Coughlin, director of the MIT AgeLab, who led the first multidisciplinary research program created to understand the behavior of the 45+ population, including how the older population makes decisions using social media.
Although still very new, the MIT Social Media Club has held several successful events, including workshops on how to increase your digital footprint and how to use social media in a job search. This spring we’re planning a series of social media research tours, which will allow club members to visit different departments and labs at MIT and elsewhere to explore how social media are being used in the workplace.
We would like to extend an invitation to SDM industry partners to get involved. For more information, visit the MIT Social Media Club online at socialmedia.mit.edu