Social Mis-media


January 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

Social Mis-media by MILES POSTEMA Rockford School Board Trustee In the early days of the Internet, with slow speeds and dial-up Internet connections, I thought the Internet might go the way of the CB radio—a passing fad but not a lasting part of our lives. I admit that I am not always right in my predictions. Soon there will be nearly a billion users on Facebook alone. Several recent events brought home to me the proliferation of social media in all of its forms. A recent expulsion hearing included text messages from one student to another student. After a student died from an illness on one of my university attorney colleague’s campuses, some students on the same floor posted messages of sympathy on the student’s Facebook page even before the student’s family could be informed through normal, official means. The students did not intend to be disrespectful and likely did not think about the possibility that the family had not yet been notified. They simply wanted to express their condolences using the tool they use most often. Many have Facebook up on their screens nearly all day. Recently, on a visit to my own campus, my middle school daughter noticed that a substantial number of the students in our library were on Facebook. We counted and about a third of the students had Facebook up. I confess it wasn’t any kind of scientific study on our part, but it is clear to me that middle school, high school and college students spend a significant amount of time on or with social media. Parents today did not grow up with social media and we have little real life experiences to share about it with our kids. As a university lawyer and a school board member, almost every conference or workshop I attend has a session on the perils of social media from the perspective of the school or the students. At a recent conference the speaker asked how many attendees had Facebook accounts. In an audience of mostly 40- to 60-year-old lawyers, all but a few hands went up. Students believe that social media is largely private when nothing could be farther from the truth. The speed and spontaneity of social media coupled with the perceived […]