A Social-Media Blackout at Harrisburg U.

Paige Chapman, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, Sept 10, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Harrisburg University will be starting the new year by blocking Facebook, Twitter, AOL Instant Messenger, and MySpace on the campus network for a week. But it's not censorship, they argue. "By blocking Web sites-instead of just discouraging use-the university will give its entire community a shared experience, Mr. Darr said." Maybe they don't understand that those students and staff who can afford them will simply use their iPhones or Palm Pres to access the sites through mobile wireless. See also the Inside Higher Ed article.

David Parry, who was quoted in the Chronicle article, also comments, "There is one other concern here worth noting, one that I tried to raise in The Chronicle article but which unfortunately came across probably too soft. I think we should start by recognizing that social media isn't an online form of communication, rather social media is how students communicate. In other words Eric isn't asking students to give up communicating online, he is asking them to give up a large portion of the way in which they communicate. Imagine if the experiment was to have no one on campus talk to each other? There are actually fairly serious concerns here that shouldn't be treaded over lightly."
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