University Experimentally Bans Facebook and Twitter

Tom Goldman

Crying on the inside.
Aug 17, 2009
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University Experimentally Bans Facebook and Twitter



A Pennsylvania college hopes to remind students what it's like to be free from social networking.

Anybody that uses Facebook or Twitter knows of the addictive behavior it can promote, sometimes becoming a necessity of someone's daily (or hourly) life. Pennsylvania's Harrisburg University of Science and Technology is conducting an experiment to show students what it was like before social networking websites existed.

Provost Eric Darr is instituting a campus wide social media "blackout" that includes Facebook, Twitter, and instant messaging. Kids are going to have to go back to passing notes in class and actually talking face to face if they want to communicate. I know, it's unheard of.

One student says that her main issue with the blackout is that she won't be able to find people anymore, because she uses Facebook and Twitter to "see where they're at." In other words, she won't be able to Facebook stalk for a week. Another student said that social media is a "24-hour thing" and he had to wean himself off of it just so he could sleep at night, even before the blackout, so he could definitely use a reminder of the old days.

Contrary to how this may seem, Darr isn't punishing students. He says this is an academic exercise and will have students write reflective essays about their experiences during the blackout. He wants students to become aware of the way they currently use technology, with social media in many cases now replacing previous means [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/101380-Breaking-Up-the-Facebook-Way] of communication.

Though it'll probably be tough to keep students off of everything related to social networking, the college will at least block access through campus computers. The blackout will cease at the end of this week. Just like World of Warcraft [http://www.amazon.com/World-Warcraft-Cataclysm-Pc/dp/B002I0HKIU] or any other activity, Facebook and Twitter can become addictive in excessive amounts, so maybe this experiment will help kids to realize that they don't need to be on it all the time.

Source: NPR [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129813420&ft=1&f=1019]

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Ren3004

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Jul 22, 2009
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So, will those reflective essays be limited to 140 characters?
 

KEM10

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Oct 22, 2008
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I like the idea. I kind of wish our school did that when I was in it. Besides, free credit if you can push it hard enough.
 

Sixties Spidey

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Jan 24, 2008
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OH NOES! That means we would actually have to use Instant Messaging, or calling each other on the phone! Or worse yet, TALKING TO EACH OTHER IN PERSON! DUN DUN DUN

In all seriousness though, I suppose it would be a pretty good experiment, if only because the results would just be amusing on their own.
 

Krion_Vark

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I actually think this a great idea. I actually posed a question like this back freshman year in High School 5 years ago now. What would happen if all technology as we know it stopped working? Needless to say my entire class called me retarded and basically called me blackout kid for the rest of the semester.
 

Distorted Stu

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I think i would last a long time without social media. If you cut off my phone however, i would die inside.
 

GrinningManiac

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Interesting

I never get involved in social things like this. I lack the patience and have too much of the Complusive Obsession tendencies to stick around on a website chatting to braindead muppets I spent all day chatting to face-to-face
 

Sixties Spidey

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Krion_Vark said:
I actually think this a great idea. I actually posed a question like this back freshman year in High School 5 years ago now. What would happen if all technology as we know it stopped working? Needless to say my entire class called me retarded and basically called me blackout kid for the rest of the semester.
Think about it this way. At least Blackout Kid sounds like a fucking awesome superhero. ;)
 

Tom Goldman

Crying on the inside.
Aug 17, 2009
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buy teh haloz said:
OH NOES! That means we would actually have to use Instant Messaging, or calling each other on the phone! Or worse yet, TALKING TO EACH OTHER IN PERSON! DUN DUN DUN

In all seriousness though, I suppose it would be a pretty good experiment, if only because the results would just be amusing on their own.
Actually they banned instant messaging too.

And really, it depends. What if you have family whose serving in the military you keep contact through facebook or twitter? This would be rather cruel if it was a sudden thing without warning, which I'm sure is not the case, but still. I hate facebook and twitter, but I am also not the type to demonize it (Facebook does that well enough on its own!) and ignore some of the obvious helpful things it provides as well.

Hell I wish my state would institute a ban on Facebook though, I'd love to see my sisters squirm, heh...

buy teh haloz said:
Think about it this way. At least Blackout Kid sounds like a fucking awesome superhero. ;)
He'd be scary... just imagine if he came to stop your house from being robbed, only to black out and start violating the poor robbers in ungodly ways, only to snap out of it a few hours later naked and confused...? All while you were forced to witness it...
the happiness of seeing a super hero, only to watch him perform things that not even Porn can show... *shudders*
 

Unrulyhandbag

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buy teh haloz said:
Krion_Vark said:
I actually think this a great idea. I actually posed a question like this back freshman year in High School 5 years ago now. What would happen if all technology as we know it stopped working? Needless to say my entire class called me retarded and basically called me blackout kid for the rest of the semester.
Think about it this way. At least Blackout Kid sounds like a fucking awesome superhero. ;)
or like a forties london child holding out through the blitz.
 

Nincompoop

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May 24, 2009
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Would the Escapist count in the blackout? If so, not that big of a deal, if not, wouldn't affect me at all. The only form of social website I use is Youtube and the Escapist. And I hardly ever use Youtube as a social site.

My friend often jokes and says; "You, and a few Zulu Africans, are the only ones who do not have Facebook".
 

SnootyEnglishman

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May 26, 2009
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Well i can see this doing some good. It will makes some people realize just how much Facebook and Twitter control themselves.

On second thought that's a great idea...why didn't i think of that I could be ruler of the world that much faster.
 

mjc0961

YOU'RE a pie chart.
Nov 30, 2009
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Good idea. Let's have the whole world follow suit, preferably permanently.

Or at the very least, get these fucking "facebook like" buttons off of every single web page.
 

Dexiro

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Dec 23, 2009
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I'd love it for that to happen. Banning social networking sites would just be plain hilarious, and it wouldn't affect me at all.

And while instant messaging is useful it'd be nice to have people talking to each other in person for once rather than typing away forever.
 

Tom Goldman

Crying on the inside.
Aug 17, 2009
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Ren3004 said:
So, will those reflective essays be limited to 140 characters?
ZING! lol

OT: I gave up on those sites awhile back. As for texting thats no problem for me i only text people who are in other provinces or Cities and since only 1 of my friends is he is out of the loop lol. This Study would have 0 effect on me. YAY being a black sheep of fads lol.
 

Sixties Spidey

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cursedseishi said:
buy teh haloz said:
OH NOES! That means we would actually have to use Instant Messaging, or calling each other on the phone! Or worse yet, TALKING TO EACH OTHER IN PERSON! DUN DUN DUN

In all seriousness though, I suppose it would be a pretty good experiment, if only because the results would just be amusing on their own.
Actually they banned instant messaging too.

And really, it depends. What if you have family whose serving in the military you keep contact through facebook or twitter? This would be rather cruel if it was a sudden thing without warning, which I'm sure is not the case, but still. I hate facebook and twitter, but I am also not the type to demonize it (Facebook does that well enough on its own!) and ignore some of the obvious helpful things it provides as well.

Hell I wish my state would institute a ban on Facebook though, I'd love to see my sisters squirm, heh...
Yeah, I suppose you have a point. I assume they won't be sending out a warning to see how they will react, but given a warning would kinda ruin the purpose of the experiment, right?

Well, it's not going to stop them from using their BlackBerries and BBM. Or for that matter, texting each other inspite of the fact that they're in close proximity to each other and IN THE SAME FUCKING ROOM!
 

LaBambaMan

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Jul 13, 2009
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I 100% support this. It's hard as hell to manage to get a computer in the library on campus because everyone's on them playing facebook games.

I do, however, believe that Twitter should be deemed illegal by federal law and those responsable for unleashing it hanged for treason outside the Captial building in D.C.
 

Discord

Monk of Tranquility
Nov 1, 2009
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Hmmmm I wonder if it would lead to more people trying face to face communication more or would it lead to a better apprection of who or hwta they had on Facebook and Such? Would it inspire new thought on how reliant we are on technology and social network sites to remain; social? Or Not?

Hmmmm very intresting story though.
 

Jared

The British Paladin
Jul 14, 2009
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Im sure they will find another way to feed there addiction.
 

DTWolfwood

Better than Vash!
Oct 20, 2009
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Lolz no more virtual Stalking for that poor girl XD

have a facebook i almost never check. and what the hell is twitter?
 
Jul 23, 2008
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Pfft. With the prevalence of smartphones and mobile internet, it's way too easy for students to access facebook and twitter from other places.
 

Tom Goldman

Crying on the inside.
Aug 17, 2009
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Heh. Nice. I myself always wondered how it'd be like if Facebook and Twitter went down for a day or two... I'm sure websites dedicated to 'Bring Facebook back' would pop-up within that time...
 

TheRightToArmBears

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I know of no one addicted to social networking, or are incapable of real contact.

This kind of thing is exaggerated, methinks.
 

willsham45

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Apr 14, 2009
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I see where they are comming from, Giving something up you use everyday can be an eye opener...try it some time
Dont use your mobile for a week. Things like that make you apreeate them more.
 

roekenny

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Never would of effected me since whole group use to mass migrate to pizza hut and pub if had 2 hours between lectures and if all split up just a mass txt saying PUB and all would arrive within 20 min and take over pool table for the rest of the day. Only time need it is to arrange a night out and can do that at home or cafe.
 

Generic_Dave

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Jul 15, 2009
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But how will they organise going drinking during college hours with people who's phone numbers they don't have?
 

Shivarage

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Nothing would change for me really... I just watch internet videos and Devart isnt a social networking site
 

MurderousToaster

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Aug 9, 2008
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Well, I'd be fine so long as they didn't ban Steam. Because if they did, that's about 60% of my gaming library down the drain.
 

SantoUno

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Wow, just wow.

I don't have Twitter, never will.

I hardly use Myspace or Facebook, because obviously I make my plans with my cell phone!

I never even logged onto those sites while I'm on campus.

I would be just fine with that! They seriously need to calm the fuck down.
 

Mimssy

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It's always so tragic to see people who depend on smartphones so they can keep up social media. There's something very pathetic about people who contain their lives in one phone. My thoughts are similar to those who depend on facebook to talk to those living near them (as opposed to keeping in touch with your 3rd cousin who lives across the country or a military spouse).
 

Tom Goldman

Crying on the inside.
Aug 17, 2009
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I think this is a terrible idea.
This is basically just going back to alienating those who are shy.
 

Dogstile

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Zeithri said:
I think this is a terrible idea.
This is basically just going back to alienating those who are shy.
Its banned in most schools anyway, and is banned in my college. It changes nothing, people find ways around it.
 

CK76

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I had same self imposed ban during my entire time at university.
 

Ashendarei

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it's a good idea, at least as an experiment to show the students how much of their daily life gets sucked up in those abominations.
 

SelectivelyEvil13

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mjc0961 said:
Good idea. Let's have the whole world follow suit, preferably permanently.

Or at the very least, get these fucking "facebook like" buttons off of every single web page.
My thoughts as well. Perhaps then we would not have every other business and website trying to beguile us into adding them on Facebook.

"No, Whole Foods, I do not want to make you a Facebook friend, you're a grocery store!!!"

People have become too reliant on social networking. The worst offenders treat Myspace/Facebook like water (laced with nicotine). And Twitter, I have no idea what the hell that's for.
 

sneakypenguin

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Ha wow, because most college students don't have smart phones, or live off campus, or use other sources of internet... If its anything like my school you have about 25 different means of accessing internet. Where i sit i have signal from, Starbucks, krystal's, McD's, Zaxby's,Marriot,Einstein brothers bagels, university heights apartments, numerous open private networks, I can use my phone for wi fi. This seems like one of those stupid projects schools do, like freshmen studies classes, or similar BS.

Now students have to nap in class rather than use FB chat lol.
 

TheOrangeOne

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Krion_Vark said:
I actually think this a great idea. I actually posed a question like this back freshman year in High School 5 years ago now. What would happen if all technology as we know it stopped working? Needless to say my entire class called me retarded and basically called me blackout kid for the rest of the semester.
When I was a freshman in high school we didn't have social networking sites!

...seriously though, we didn't.

I think it's a good idea, because it goes to show that it's harder for those who have used these sites from a young age to wane themselves off than those who were older when they were introduced. I was already in college when youtube/facebook/twitter were introduced, and therefore I can't say they've become an integral part of my routine :p Heck, the same is even true for texting. When I was in high school, we had to pass notes because texting was virtually non-existant in the form it is today. And I can't say that I or any of my friends text on a regular basis. I guess it really has a lot to do with what you have access to at any given age.

SelectivelyEvil13 said:
"No, Whole Foods, I do not want to make you a Facebook friend, you're a grocery store!!!"
That just made my entire week.
 

Outright Villainy

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I might chat with someone on facebook once a week or every 2 weeks. I'd hardly miss it really.

Now, The Escapist on the other hand...
*checks messages again*
 

Anti Nudist Cupcake

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Mar 23, 2010
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I think I'm immune to influence from an outside source.
Didn't get addicted to wow.
Didn't get addicted to facebook.
Never had urge to smoke.
Never had urge to drink.
Never got influenced by my friends.

Kill me now. Before I terminate John Connor...
I'm a robot! :O
 

Racecarlock

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In other news, hundreds of Harrisburg University students committed suicide recently, most leaving a note saying "OH NOEZ, I CANTZ L1V3 W1T0UT MAH TWITTERZ".
 

ItsAPaul

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So everyone just goes to an internet cafe across the street now? Way to fuck over your businesses, Pennsylvania.
 

Mr. Omega

ANTI-LIFE JUSTIFIES MY HATE!
Jul 1, 2010
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Racecarlock said:
In other news, hundreds of Harrisburg University students committed suicide recently, most leaving a note saying "OH NOEZ, I CANTZ L1V3 W1T0UT MAH TWITTERZ".
I'm waiting for this to happen...
 

JayDub147

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Looks like it's time to Tor it up.

I personally don't facebook or twitter, but I'm very much against any mandatory control over peoples' behavior.
 

RanD00M

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I wish that my school did this. Then some people might actually stop laughing in the middle of the class due to some "fuuny" facebook status when I´m trying to study.
 

thiosk

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I wish we could black it out worldwide.

Theres a guy i work with who is CONSTANTLY on facebook. I'd be annoyed, if our advisor wasn't constantly on it as well.

Anti Nudist Cupcake said:
I think I'm immune to influence from an outside source.
Didn't get addicted to wow.
Didn't get addicted to facebook.
Never had urge to smoke.
Never had urge to drink.
Never got influenced by my friends.

Kill me now. Before I terminate John Connor...
I'm a robot! :O
Not possible. Robots are less boring.
 

Android2137

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Well, I never did like Facebook and Twitter (for admittedly very stupid reasons), so if my university ever did the same, my paper would probably say "Not much changed." I do use Instant Messaging, but all my IM friends are using it less and less because they have social lives outside of the internet. :B

Anti Nudist Cupcake said:
I think I'm immune to influence from an outside source.
Didn't get addicted to wow.
Didn't get addicted to facebook.
Never had urge to smoke.
Never had urge to drink.
Never got influenced by my friends.

Kill me now. Before I terminate John Connor...
I'm a robot! :O
SO AM I! What's your serial license number?!
 

Sacman

Don't Bend! Ascend!
May 15, 2008
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I don't use either so as long as I get my daily dose of the escapist I'm all good...
 

Mikeyfell

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what is Twitter even for?

I mean could you imagine twitter with out the internet?

some guy comes up to you on the street and says "I just ate tacos for lunch."

you'd think he was a god damn lunatic
 

zelda2fanboy

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Android2137 said:
Well, I never did like Facebook and Twitter (for admittedly very stupid reasons), so if my university ever did the same, my paper would probably say "Not much changed." I do use Instant Messaging, but all my IM friends are using it less and less because they have social lives outside of the internet. :B
I use twitter and facebook a lot myself, but usually for little more than following celebrities and the very rare one off message to or from someone I know. E-mail and regular website visits would eliminate it completely. College was utterly miserable for me, though. My essay would probably read "I don't have any friends, you jerks!" This would be preceded and followed by weeping.
 
Apr 28, 2008
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No twitter, facebook, or instant messaging? And this is an "experiment" and people feel odd about it?

Its how I live my damn life! Its how we all lived back in 2006. You know, in the before time.
 

Sion_Barzahd

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I did a full media blackout over the summer, i ditched my computer and TV. Keeping my phone on solely in case of emergancies. It lasted a week Was really hard too =/ you start to wonder what you did before you had the internet.
 

bak00777

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i understand banning WoW and games like it( i used to quite addicted to it) i dont understand banning Twitter or Facebook. Facebook was made for college students to network, why ban it.
 

Sightless Wisdom

Resident Cynic
Jul 24, 2009
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Would you take away pencils if one had been used to kill? No. Why then, would you take a useful tool away from any group of people? Just because something is misused or overused it does not make it a bad thing. I've really grown to hate all the people who senselessly condemn social media as a plague upon society; it is no more than a tool.
 

Slaanax

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I know what its like, I have been using Computers since I was 4 so, its not a big deal to me. Plus my 6months or so of Basic and Ait. I did have internet access in Iraq though and could buy stuff online.
 

Nocturnal Gentleman

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Sion_Barzahd said:
I did a full media blackout over the summer, i ditched my computer and TV. Keeping my phone on solely in case of emergancies. It lasted a week Was really hard too =/ you start to wonder what you did before you had the internet.
Trust me. If you go without a tv or computer for several months you won't even think about them much by the end of the period. I did something very similar and it was amazing how much more I got done when I didn't feel like I had to check this online or watch certain shows. It's a ***** at first though. It's almost depressing when you cut yourself off.
 

Nocturnal Gentleman

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Mar 12, 2010
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Sightless Wisdom said:
Would you take away pencils if one had been used to kill? No. Why then, would you take a useful tool away from any group of people? Just because something is misused or overused it does not make it a bad thing. I've really grown to hate all the people who senselessly condemn social media as a plague upon society; it is no more than a tool.
While I agree facebook and the like can be a useful tool for many it's quickly becoming an addiction. Some don't even realize the countless hours they waste checking on the status of others or seeing if they need to update some silly game. I've actually seen people completely forget about class lessons and put off doing their work till it's too late simply because they are absorbed in facebook or twitter.

An experiment like this is short term and doesn't hurt anything. Personally I think more people need to experience this kind of thing so they know how to use these tools without becoming obsessed with them.
 

Miumaru

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May 5, 2010
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Would I fail the essay or get exemped? I dont use those, so it wouldnt change things for me. Though I may have to write about how annoying people got.
 

tkioz

Fussy Fiddler
May 7, 2009
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Personally I'd be in favour of a global ban on the damn social media crap, max 2 hours a week on Facebook, twitter, and whatever else is out there now, combined!

I've only got a damn Facebook account because my friends stopped emailing me, phoning me, etc when they were organising something and insisted on using that stupid thing.

And what is up with people's "friends" lists? some of my friends have lists numbered in 4 digits, and my is a paltry 28, and half of those are people I "have" to friend (my mother, siblings, etc) lest I get bombarded with a ton of bitching...

I just don't get the appeal of following some random tosser online...
 

Tom Goldman

Crying on the inside.
Aug 17, 2009
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I only use FB for organising pub crawls and mass outings anyway.

I don't access it in uni time.
 

Tom Phoenix

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Hopefully, this ban will do more than just make them stop using it for a while...Like, make them stop using it permanently. :p
 

WelshDanny

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Pah! Facebook didn't take off as a major force until I was in my third year at uni.

Back then we organised how and where we'd get pissed by speaking in lecturers or them old mobile telecommunication units.
 

Gralian

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Sep 24, 2008
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Well, that's amusing. I never really got into the whole social networking thing. I just don't like it, i never saw the point of 'liking' everything and i certainly don't care enough to know what people are up to. About the only thing i use it for is organising group events with friends, like getting everyone to go down the pub. Other than that i consider them useless - i don't even use twitter full stop. Maybe i'm just biased with rage over the whole bebo thing when i was at school. God i hated that.
 

Daniel_Rosamilia

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Well, my school has ALL access blocked to ALL social networking sites (they forgot all the proxies though :D) and we get on fine, but that's a SCHOOL.
I lived without social networking for about 3 years after Facebook and Myspace became the thing for everyone, and I was fine.
I just called or texted people, or, SHOCK HOROR, actually TALKED TO THEM FACE TO FACE!!! :O
 

Aphex Demon

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Aug 23, 2010
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It was banned in my college, http://www.facebook.com

Entering it via the secure server https://www.facebook.com wasnt banned.

Odd.
 

Dastardly

Imaginary Friend
Apr 19, 2010
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The McDonald's 20 yards from the edge of campus that has wi-fi will be doing AMAZING business that week.

Because unfortunately, modern kids fail at these sorts of thought experiments. Instead of diving in and experimenting with themselves, challenging themselves, maybe growing a bit... they'll just find a work-around and completely dodge even the ACCIDENTAL chance of getting the point.

And in doing so, they will prove that exact point. And we can all look down on them for about ten minutes before we realize what we've already come to know and dread. They may be stupid, brainless, will-less zombies, but they will all probably have three times as many children as you. They are the future.
 

Antari

Music Slave
Nov 4, 2009
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They will hate him for it, but hes trying to point out they are all hopelessly addicted and programmed by it all.
 

Roxor

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I really don't understand the appeal of such sites. I don't have accounts with them, and nobody is bugging me to get one either. Then again, I don't know very many people to begin with.