The Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania has banned the use of all social media for a week. The ban proscribes the use of any online communication except for email, including Facebook, Twitter and instant messaging. Students will be allowed to continue to use text messages, and presumably BlackBerry Messenger.
University Provost Eric Darr says he’s not anti-technology, nor even anti-social media, he just wants students to examine the means of their daily communication. He thinks of the prohibition as an experiment to make students more aware, not a punishment. “Often, there are behaviors or habits, ways that we use technology that we may ourselves not even be able to articulate because we’re not aware of them,” said Darr in an NPR interview.
The social media blackout had a mixed reception from students. “I’m going to have a hard time not being able to tell people where I’m at, being able to find people,” said Ashley Harris, a senior at Harrisburg. “I use Facebook and Twitter to find people at school, to see where they’re at, where they’re studying.” But other students found the ban posed less of a problem. “I’m not a big fan of Facebook or any of those social networking sites,” said another student. “I think I’ll be fine. I can’t say the same for the rest of the students.”
Students will be asked to write essays about their experience after the week-long ban concludes.
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