Saturday, February 10, 2007

Everyone is Talking About MySpace

First we banned MySpace on campus. Then we unbanned it due to large numbers of student complaints. Then we rebanned it only during the morning hours when computer lab traffic is heaviest. After 2:00 each day the block is lifted.

The controversy might be the most excitement we've had in years. Add to this that the MySpace ban also affected our campus connection to, and things have been downright chaotic. My students now joke that anything that goes wrong is a result of the MySpace ban.

It might take a little while, but sooner or later whatever is troubling the rest of world makes its way to Mississippi.

There are good arguments for the ban, though I don't agree with the sheer nervousness over what the students might be up to on there. My only real concession to the ban is that our campus isn't prepared to have massive numbers of students building social lives around our school computers. They were overwhelming our labs. Immediately before the ban, I walked into one of the student labs and saw nothing but MySpace. It was something to behold--a whole sea of social networking probably among people who could have gotten up and walked across the room to speak to each other.

Still, there's a lot to be said for students feeling like they do have a social network at school. In the old days, three or four years ago, we were often told that students who got involved socially on campus were much more likely to stay in school. To our way of thinking way back then this meant clubs and organizations. Maybe it means something else today. Maybe it is time for the campus to reorganize to meet the needs of the students rather than the other way around. Maybe.

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