Where social media make sense to me are as a method of exposing the fact that organizations are made up of people. I don't want to read blog posts or Facebook status updates or tweets from Microsoft, Google, Blackboard, Adobe, Apple etc.... But I do want to hear from the people who work at these companies. Particularly the people who work in the education divisions of these companies.
This weekend I spent some times reading the NYTimes, reading a novel, exchanging e-mail, watching a TED Talk, and surfing the Web. The only thing notable about any of this is that I did all these things on my ipod touch. I also did some work on a couple of courses, reading some articles, looking at some curricular videos, and checking out course blogs and wikis -- none of which I did on my ipod touch.
In this week’s Chronicle, Mary Ann Mason discusses reasons why relatively few students, especially women, opt to have children during the graduate school years. The entire essay is worth reading, but I was struck by one of the comments: “There's also the problem of isolation. Having a baby can be (not always -- but can be) very isolating, and so can graduate school.”
A regular correspondent wrote to mention that his cc is considering mandating laptops for all students. We've given that some vague thought on my campus, too, focusing mostly on netbooks. The idea has its advantages.- With good wifi on campus, students could do work just about anywhere, not just in dedicated labs.- Netbooks now are much cheaper than laptops used to be, and if they're required, they could (I think) be covered by financial aid. Some even have full-size keyboards.
Not sure if I should be depressed or elated when I learn about someone who is two years ahead of me in his or her thinking. Lev Gonick, CIO at Case Western Reserve, seems to be one of these two-year-in-the-future type people.Go check out Lev's September/October 2007 EDUCAUSE Review column, "Open-Source IT Leadership for Web 2.0." Lev writes:
When my daughter was barely five years old, I told her the phone number of someone we knew, a number that went something like “8448”. I then told her that the number was special, since it was a “palindrome”, and was the same forward and backwards. She looked up at me, and, without missing a second, said “Like Hannah Montana?” It took me a few seconds to realize that the word “Hannah” in Hannah Montana is, indeed, a palindrome, as it is spelled the same forward and backward.
A lot can be said about the ‘challenges’ of Facebook, but one of the great things about social media is that it puts you back in touch with old, college friends. (By ‘old’ I mean friends who attended college more than 20 years ago.) In a weird coincidence, I had two of my former undergraduate roommates come through Chicago during the past week.