Dec 182011

Lewis Holloway, the superintendent of schools in Statesboro, Ga., imposed a new policy this fall prohibiting private electronic communications after learning that Facebook and text messages had helped fuel a relationship between an eighth grade English teacher and her 14-year-old male pupil. The teacher was arrested this summer on charges of aggravated child molestation and statutory rape, and remains in jail awaiting trial.

“It can start out innocent and get more and more in depth quickly,” said Mr. Holloway, a school administrator for 38 years. “Our students are vulnerable through new means, and we’ve got to find new ways to protect them.”

Social media doesn’t “make it easier” for teachers to form “boundary-crossing relationships with students.” It makes COMMUNICATION easier, period. If teachers have poor judgment about communicating appropriately, that’s a different story.

Likewise, “Facebook and text messages” did NOT “help fuel a relationship between an eighth grade English teacher and her 14-year-old male pupil.” Poor judgment and inappropriate conduct did that!

Let’s be clear about what’s to blame and who is responsible. The communication medium is not the enemy. There were teachers doing inappropriate things long before the Internet. Did we ban letter-writing? And if we had done that, would that have solved the REAL problem — that of obvious teacher misconduct and violations of trust, relationships, safety?

Teachers who communicate and behave inappropriately should be treated with appropriate consequences — sometimes yes, those are criminal. What are those “appropriate consequences,” you ask? Well, I’d say it depends on the professional code of conduct which governs the teaching body in the state/province/country where one is a teacher.

And how many states/provinces/countries have those, hm?

(Not too many, last I checked.)

We have them for doctors, lawyers, even engineers. But not teachers. Let’s raise the standards and values of the teaching profession, and see what happens. To everything. But banning electronic communication is the wrong place to start that journey.

Mar 172011

Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit. For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles.

So… here is what I’m thinking. I’m thinking I can “hack” the NYTimes by simply setting up Google alerts and following NYT on Twitter and Facebook.

Really, really unhappy about this news. What a disappointment.

I’m not going to pay $15/month *just* to read it on my iPhone.


Feb 032011
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  • I used to love pulsd. I follow them on Twitter, and used to visit their website often. They post amazing deals on free and cheap stuff (like the ones above) happening in the city (either NYC or SF). However, recently, they changed the way users access their sites. You now must either create an account with your email address, or connect with FB. There are *no* other options. You simply cannot access the site otherwise.

    If you choose to sign up with email (as I did initially), you also have no choice about receiving the daily email. So, signing up basically says, “Yes, please send me your spam.”

    Dear Pulsd,

    It is the 21st century. Your users are media-savvy and want options. Please give me choices as to how to access your site without having to give you my contact information. I am afraid without these choices, I will not access your site at all, as I do not like being forced into decisions. There are other places online I can find the deals, just so you know.

    A once-upon-a-time fan, now very annoyed.

Jan 262011

Now, users’ off-Facebook activities are basically part of the Facebook ecosystem thanks to “Likes” published all over the Web. If you click the Facebook Like button on any given site, that data is transmitted to your own Facebook profile and can be promoted by marketers in ads to your friends.

This is getting ridiculous. You’d think they have learned from the Beacon lawsuit. Ever since FB linked “likes” to specific pages, I’ve been careful to only include those things I “like” that I trust; usually this means I know the people behind it or I trust the organization. But now, this means they’re using my “likes” to market those things to my friends? That’s awful. I would never want to market things to my friends, unless it was something I felt very strongly about.

Hmm… maybe it’s time to only include things in my “likes” that I think are worthy of telling all my friends about. This is completely changing the meaning of the word “like” for me.

Now it should be “Like and want you to like it too.”