Monthly Archives: April 2010

Social Media and Higher Education disconnect and an offering

I had the chance to create a presentation for higher education administration and staff/faculty and realized about 20% of the way through there is a large disconnect in numerous areas:

  • Tools chosen to implement social media in higher education
  • Policies and privacy controls
  • Deployment and management

I am considering publishing the entire slide deck on Slideshare after I add some content I present live or verbally only.  I wanted to pass along a summary though while it was fresh on my mind.

Universities and colleges should align the goals of the school itself while considering the needs of the individual departments, groups and activities they encompass.  I watched and listened as each group presented their own versions of how social media should be included and what tools they were currently testing and have already implemented.  I am not saying each choice was valid or had a viable place in the future architecture.  However, putting a mechanism in place for global communication, direction and input was obviously missing.

Following this, we are launching a project for engagement with higher education institutions to help create and drive social media into their infrastructure offering policy creation, tool selection and deployment planning.  Please send me an email with any immediate interest as the engagement page is built.

Parents have rights to kid’s Facebook account, or do they?

An excellent story that adds a layer of complexity to parental controls and knowledge of their children’s online activity has come about in Arkansas.  CNET has the summary article, and here is an excerpt:

A teenager in Arkansas, however, has become so annoyed with his mother’s Facebook intrusion that he has reportedly decided to sue her for harassment.

The claim is the mother hacked into the Facebook account, changed his password and made some postings under his account name.  The mother states she has every right to do so and is defending that in court come May.

Here are both sides of argument from us at SocialStalking only, not as attorneys:

Her intention was ok
The mother was trying to act in some responsible manner of seeing what and why her teenager was making particular postings.  The better approach would have been to actually communicate with the teenager and have them log into their Facebook account while she sat there.  This would keep some of the trust and respect factor between them while allowing parenting to occur.

Parents always wish to know what is going on with their kids online and do not have well defined rules, guidelines and restrictions of how they will interact.  Her exact quote allows them to take the below stance when she said

“You’re within your legal rights to monitor your child and to have a conversation with your child on Facebook whether it’s his account, or your account, or whoever’s account.”

Yes, with monitor being the key here.  You could not hack into another adults account legally.  Monitoring does not include taking over.  It means watching, reviewing and even logging/taking notes on content.

Her intention broke numerous rules
The mother made one major mistake that the article from CNET mentions.  She hacked into a computer account with malicious intent.  This, in itself, is a crime she has admitted to.
She has accessed a computer (Facebook server) without authorization and with intent to portray herself as someone else.  Now enter identity theft arguments.  The teenager has a strong case if he follows this and removes the emotional and parental battle from the fight.  The local Clark County laws even address this as quoted in the article.

If the teenager was on the parents computer, it is not the one in question.  The Facebook server is the one in question and was hacked by the mother.  She had no technological right to do so and should have relied on parental rights such as knowing the passwords and lines of communication.


The legal battle needs to be separated far from the parental battle to clearly understand this.  The parent broke laws.  Good intentions do not allow this.  The parent took offense to what the child was posting.  Good parenting and communication resolves that portion.  We hope they both win in court and later parenting.

iFad – How to Win Over Consumers by Apple

I am not going to banter whether I think the iPad (Amazon link with reviews) is a winner or not.  Too many sites are doing that now.  I have been pondering this post for a few days and something in the 40 articles I read just tonight sparked the wording I wanted.  The next stage of the Apple iFad movement is in full swing.

We, as in tech writers and early adopters, quickly jump to the tear-down of each part of the device and capabilities.  The reader of these very articles we write are other tech journalists and early adopters.  Not the consumers seeing this device being shown on morning shows and CNN all day.  Or witnessing the lines at the stores.

No matter what we hate about the device, or what is missing, hand this to anyone on the street and they can work it.  If you own an iPod or iPhone in the house, this is the stepping stone, not a MacBook.  Simplicity and similarity make the iPad itself an easy decision.

Just as you are taught more difficult steps in math, writing skills and even your favorite hobby, Apple has taken that concept to the technology and created the Rosetta Stone of devices.  Easy to use, multimedia capable, adapted games, no controllers and limited real need for accessories.

I watched a YouTube video tonight of a 2.5 year old handed an iPad.  She had played with the parents iPhone for some time and understood the basics.  Click the Home button to get to the screen with the fun stuff to do and slide your finger.  She took off once handed the iPad.  No input from the parents required.

I watched a video of a grandparent that hated computers (said verbally) and was handed the iPad.  Seconds later they were reading and playing a game. Any device that traverses ages and demographics within days of launch was the right move by Apple; no matter if it has a camera or cheap enough applications.

This is only one of many portions of the iFad that Apple created.  Think everyone will have a Facebook account soon that can get connected?  I bet Apple continues to flourish by making devices people want, not what technologists say it should be.