University Blocks Access to Social Media


The Story

Could you live without Facebook for a week?  Students at the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology couldn't. To encourage students, faculty, and staff to think about the role social media plays in their lives, the university blocked access to several social media sites from the campus network.  University officials estimate about 10% of the students went "cold turkey."  The rest used their smartphones or other wireless networks to stay connected.

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Discussion Starters

  • Why would the university block access to social media sites? Ideally, what was the administration hoping would happen?
  • What are the downsides of the university's move? What were the possible repercussions for students, staff, faculty, and the university as a whole?
  • Overall, do you think this was a good strategy for the university? How would you react if your school blocked access to sites for a week?

Assignment Ideas

  • In small groups, discuss how you use social networking as a distraction.  How does your online activity prevent you from doing your work and from participating in other types of communication?
  • Give it a try!  Take a break from Facebook and your other favorite social networking sites for a week (or how about a day?).  After the break, write a brief memo to your instructor to discuss what you missed out on and what you gained from the experience.