Last week was the end of Harrisburg University’s 2nd annual social media blackout the school called “Back to Blackout.” As a motivator to get students thinking about the “use and abuse” of social media, Eric Darr, executive vice president and provost, blocked 10 popular social networking sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Bebo, Orkut, Hi5, Twitxr, and Plurk, as well as other texting outlets, according to a Campus Technology article. Of course, the university isn’t naive to the fact that many students can tap into their favorite social media outlets via their smartphones.
In a Mind/Shift article from 2010, Sara Bernard interviewed Eric Darr on the social media experiment and the results following the first annual social media blackout. In the interview, Darr said:
“Students became aware of being stressed out about checking their status continually. They weren’t even aware that they were stressed. They had been losing sleep over feeling the need to stay connected, thinking, ‘I’m a college student; that’s what we’re supposed to do.’ Turns out, it wasn’t the schoolwork [causing the stress], it was the addiction to staying connected. Many students said they were better able to concentrate on getting their work done and that they could sit around the university and not feel overwhelmed.”
This year, the experiment had a few new additions. Instead of running from Monday-Friday, the experiment ran all the way through the weekend. Also, students had the option of recording their thoughts about the blackout in a video journal, among other activities they could do with their free time.
Have you ever disconnected for a week? Do you think you could take the challenge? Do you think keeping up with social media can be stressful?
“Harrisburg U Suffers Withdrawal of Social Media,” by Dian Schaffhauser. 28 September 2011. Campus Technology. Accessed on 30 September 2011. <http://campustechnology.com/Articles/2011/09/28/Harrisburg-U-Suffers-Withdrawal-of-Social-Media.aspx?Page=1>
“No Facebook for a Week Experiment: ‘It Worked!'” by Sara Bernard. 22 September 2010. Mind/Shift. Accessed on 30 September 2011. <http://mindshift.kqed.org/2010/09/no-facebook-for-a-week-experiment-it-worked/>