Friday, May 25, 2012

Thou shalt not Tweet

I've been enjoying life after deanship, teaching and writing and attending conferences and (gasp!) skipping meetings. One could get used to this.

Yesterday we had a mass mailing to all faculty. The Powers that Be have determined that Facebook and Twitter are the devil incarnate. They have decreed that effective immediately we are not allowed to use Facebook and/or Twitter or "similar services" because of the privacy issues involving these companies.

Now, I'm all for privacy and educating people about not posting pictures of themselves in an advanced state of inebriation in public, but this is ridiculous. There was apparently a spate of abuse directed to the administration, because a few hours later it was made clear that only the use of school computers was meant, one can use private devices if one wants. Apparently, the PR department went ballistic, as they have an active Twitter account and have been trying to build up a "fan page" on Facebook for quite some time. They sent around a notice we could all put on our course Facebook pages. No idea how to attach that to I tweet, though.

And how this affects the Great March of E-Learning that was declared a while back, in which we had to incorporate "modern" technology into all of our courses, remains to be seen.

Me? I'll just carry on. I'm betting the administration couldn't figure out if I twitter or not if their lives depended on it.

12 comments:

  1. Unfortunate type in the previous message...

    What's amusing is that your admins felt that they couldn't just come right out to say, "Stop making fun of us on Twitter and stop getting drunk and having your picture appear on a student's Facebook page."

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  2. I am always amazed that admin thinks that they have some say in my personal communications. I have heard of employers stating that potential employees have to give them their passwords for facebook etc. so they can look at their account. What makes them think that this is ok? I for one would just say "no" and would not work for that company. If they feel the need to police people before they are even employees how unbearable will it be once I actually start working there?

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    1. I have heard of employers stating that potential employees have to give them their passwords for facebook etc. so they can look at their account....

      Jeez. How about, "Okay, boss. You can access my facebook albums. But then I get to drive to your house at a random time and go through your laundry and if there are any skidmarks in your undies, I get a raise and a promotion."

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    2. I believe that the correct reply to this is "but that would violate the terms of service. You wouldn't want an employee who violates contracts, would you?"

      Of course they're welcome to search for publicly available parts of your profile, or to try to find friends of friends (e.g. alumni of the same school) and ask them to check out what they can see. But if it's password-protected -- well, it's password-protected. The house analogy is apt: no employer would ask you for your house key, or even your car key, so they could rummage around and see what they find. Of course someone could break into your house, or peer in with a telephoto lens, and take and distribute embarrassing photos of your room-size stalker-ish shrine to Dick Cheney, but that's a chance employers have been taking for years. Admittedly if the privacy settings on your facebook account go wonky, a whole lot more people can see the result than if a tornado takes off a wall of your home, but still, you've done what you can to keep the private private.

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  3. But they didn't say anything about blogging about them. Mwahahahaha.

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  4. Seriously? Sounds to me like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

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  5. I'm betting the administration couldn't figure out if I twitter or not if their lives depended on it.

    Sounds like a fair bet to me. And the chances of their being able to prove a tweet didn't come from your phone are even less.

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  6. This is yet another example of how, as administration grows, it finds itself doing more and more that it should not be doing, because it really isn't qualified.

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  7. Stealing the graphic for the fall syllabus!

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