Friday, June 23, 2006

KSU Athletes Banned from Facebook

Unbelievable. Kent State University administrators are banning their student athletes from Facebook (read the Columbus Dispatch article for more information).

My questions are:
  1. According to the article, "The move to ban the site came from students and coaches expressing concern over safety and privacy issues." What about the safety and privacy of the rest of the student population?
  2. Instead of banning them from a network that lets them connect with friends, why not do more to educate the entire campus on the dangers of Facebook and the etiquette one should use? Based on the extreme popularity of social networks (according to a News story I saw on TV last night, MySpace has 83 million users), I highly doubt they are going to go away anytime soon.
  3. Everyone is always so concerned about stalking, but is there any evidence to prove that stalking is on the rise as a result of Facebook? I haven't heard of any. As one of my students pointed out, stalkers will stalk regardless of Facebook, and it does not seem that Facebook will create stalkers out of people who would not normally be ones.
I find this particular statement in the article extremely hard to believe: "Most students have responded to the ban positively" - unless, of course, they are just turning to MySpace instead.

Plus, it's not like these students are doing things they haven't already been doing, it's just that now there is documented (writing, photographs, etc) evidence of it. The answer is user education, not banning them from Facebook altogether. Colleges need not function in loco parentis.

For starters, here's a rule of thumb: Don't put anything on a social network that you wouldn't want your mom, grandmother, pastor, future employer, etc to see.

So let's do what we do best, shall we? Educate!!

A Librarian's Worst Nightmare

Okay, perhaps not the worst nightmare (that would more likely be hurricane Katrina or other such disaster), but the domino effect in the bookstacks is pretty bad as well. Check out this Flickr photo of a rather unfortunate library.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

MP3 Player!

I finally let myself order an MP3 player. I opted not to go for the iPod because, well, it's rather expensive, and there are cheaper ones out there that will suit my needs just fine. Plus, I don't want to confine myself to iTunes. So I went with the SanDisk Sansa M240 1 GB MP3 Player. It was shipped out yesterday, and I am going crazy because it isn't here yet! Of course it probably won't arrive until the middle of next week (that's what I get for succumbing to Amazon's Super Saver Shipping).

I'm not sure what happened. I went from not even having a cell phone (*gasp* I know) to getting a jump drive, digital camera, cell phone, and mp3 player all in a few short months. :0)

I can also justify the MP3 player in a work-related way. A coworker and I are going to be doing a presentation on podcasts in August, and what better way to familiarize myself with podcasts than to get an MP3 player and listen to them? Too bad it's not enough of a work related expense that my place of work will pay for it....

Friday, June 16, 2006

MySpace is huge!

According to a recent TechCrunch post, MySpace has 75 million users, and more page views than Google, MSN, or Time Warner/AOL. It comes in second only to Yahoo!.

That's crazy!

And it also may explain why, more often than not, MySpace is having technical issues, which most often seems to be an incredible slowness. Sometimes I question why we put up with this slowness and unreliability when most of us are horrified at the thought of reverting back to dial-up. Why is it acceptable from MySpace but not an internet service provider?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

On Citing Wikipedia

According to a Chronicle of Higher Education Wired Campus Blog post, Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, says college students should not be citing Wikipedia in their papers. A better idea might be to use Wikipedia to get some basic information on a topic, and then do the appropriate research from there using books and journal articles.

I would hazard a guess that most professors do not want college students citing any encyclopedias, Wikipedia or other. At this point in their scholastic career, they should beyond that.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Google Vs Microsoft

Boy, I would not want to be Microsoft. Google just keeps calmly plodding along and throwing out new programs from time to time that seem to chip away at Microsoft's market domination. Of course, there are lots of other companies out there doing the same thing.

The latest news is that Google is putting out Google Spreadsheets, which seems to be meant to rival Excel. It will apparently have collaborative capabilities, which could be pretty handy. Check out the New York Times article here.

Of course, and others have spreadsheet capabilities as well.

One day we may reach the point where we no longer need to buy the expensive Microsoft Office Suite... or maybe we are there already?