Friday, August 8, 2008

Universities set social computing guidelines

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Social Computing Guidelines are the craze now a day. Ever since 2005, IBM has made its Social Computing Guidelines public. Recently, through the magic of Twitter, I learned that other companies are following suit:

Now, some universities are also setting up their own guidelines. The interesting thing, in my opinion, is that these are targeted mostly for schools' athletes! Some schools have even set up specific monitoring policies. Talk about injecting fear! The USA Today article seems to position it as a way to protect the players: "Administrators and monitors don't get involved unless issues are brought to their attention".

It's interesting that most of these guidelines are for athletes. This makes some sense, though, since the athletes kind of "work" for the school. So just like corporations set social networking guidelines for their employees, colleges are now setting their policies. But what about the actual school employees: Teacher Assistants, Professors, and the rest of the faculty? Shouldn't there be guidelines for them? This kind of feels like the school is trying to supervise children.

The article cites Ben Stone, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, as being concerned about extending these athletes' policies to the rest of the student population. And I have to say, I see his point. Students are actually paying the university for an education.

If colleges set social networking guidelines, will this start to influence the type of students that apply to certain schools ?


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