Long a prediction, not at all a surprise, perhaps more hype, but seems even more real:
In very short, Yahoo is planning to release an “all-in-one” messaging service for cell phones. This will include text messaging, instant messaging, email, and . . . oh yes, facebook.
And not just any method messaging – it will also include something that is called “Pulse” which includes Facebook status and . . . hard to tell from the screen shot. . . perhaps feeds from other services that know where you are, and perhaps some full fledged geolocation (if the phone has GPS or uses something else) .
Even if Yahoo doesn’t get it right, the iPhone is soon to allow anyone to develop software on it (and you can be sure there will be aggregation services, IM’s and facebook integrations) and other cell phone makers are catching up rapidly. (Don’t think the iPhone type functionality is only for geeks, if it follows the RAZR price curve, there will be free versions with plans sometime next year.)
So the question for Student Affairs professionals: as students increase their connectedness by communicating on the fly through multiple methods on their cell phones, and, as they expose their own whereabouts and activities to their friends, will Student Affairs plug in to this? Can/Will/Should Student Affairs be a “friend”?
Before the jump to personal / professional separation kicks in, keep in mind students look at this differently. Much of their communication is limited to friends (as defined by facebook behavioral norms) it’s kind of a “you’re in or you’re out” sort of thing.
Email, at the moment, is the preferred communication method for universities as it’s established and easy. It’s a recognized problem that students don’t check email (especially official school email) and we can expect email use to decrease further compared to other channels that are getting increasingly convenient, mobile, and socially driven.
What about assessment?
How convenient to track GPS to figure out who went to what in orientation. What if the students didn’t care? What if they actively published their location and status information to their friends and were fine with letting the university follow their digital foot prints?
Sound far fetched? Not so much.
Well anyways. Here it comes. And here come the issues:
Privacy vs. Transparency
Assessment vs. Invasion [Note: Context switch ; )]
FERPA (signed and written consent! sign a cell phone?) and lawywers (duty of care) [Note: This link is sarcastic.]