Social Media Ban: The ImpactStudent: 'Like a Hole Through My Social and Professional Life'
"Cutting these sites off was like putting a hole through my social and professional life," says Giovanni Acosta, a network security senior who took the school's one-week ban seriously.
The school made headlines last week for an on-campus ban of social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Since returning to school - and connectivity - this week, students and faculty have engaged in extensive discussions of how social media impacts their lives.
"We all learn about our habits, which are difficult to evaluate because we don't always recognize them in ourselves," says Charles Palmer, executive director of the school's Center for Advanced Entertainment and Learning Technologies. "By removing the habit, we can reflect on its effect on us and evaluate the consequences associated with the habit."
[EDITOR'S NOTE: For an outside perspective on Harrisburg University's social media ban, listen to this exclusive interview with Sherrie Madia, author of The Social Media Survival Guide.]
Having taken the experiment to heart and not using social media at all for a week, Palmer now realizes the significance and need for organizations to have a social media usage policy focused on directing and promoting ethical and safe behavior on the internet.
"My opinion on social media hasn't changed, but I've been made aware of the various policies related to ownership, publishing and copyrights that will curtail some of my actions," says Palmer. "I was able to identify my Facebook and Twitter usage. Twitter is my tool of choice for sharing information with colleagues, while Facebook is more for sharing with friends."
The ban was for on-campus students and faculty staff members. E-mail and texting was apparently not restricted at all. The university provost Eric Darr, got the social ban idea while noticing his daughter's reliance on multiple forms of electronic communication and thinking: "What if it wasn't there?"
Students such as Acosta now understand the value of social media in his daily life and are more aware about dependency and usage. "I realized that Facebook is part of me, my little black book and I learnt how to keep it safe," Acosta says.
The main takeaway of the experiment was a frank, one-to-one student and faculty discussion on the issue, Palmer says. "We talked about classroom usage, new tools, aggregating information, and how we can continue to innovate in the arena."