Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen a lot of buzz in the higher education community regarding Yik Yak. Is it bad? Is it good? Is it a conduct issue? What shall we do about it?! I’m a little exasperated about these conversations because to quote Aerosmith, it’s the same old song and dance, my friend.
Forgive me for being blunt. My point is that if we have to engage in these conversations every single time a new smartphone or social networking website comes out, then we are being naïve. Be proactive in addressing technology use on campus. We keep having the same conversations about technology and it serves no purpose at this point—we know better, and we need to do better.
Social media and smartphones have been a part of our lives for nearly a decade; we’ve seen cyberbullying, piracy, “anonymous” commentary, leaked information, and incriminating data in multiple iterations by this time. Yik Yak and apps of the same ilk are shades of the same things we’ve seen since the early-2000s, even before the advent of social media and iPhones. For every situation that we’ve seen in this time, we can address it and attempt to prevent it with the following:
Have you worked out a plan with your marketing and IT offices?
Has your institution put together a social media policy that seamlessly integrates into the student conduct policies?
Have you reminded students about web ethics, specifically that their actions aren’t as anonymous as they would like to believe?
To paraphrase Wayne Gretsky, we need to skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it is now. There is going to be another app or website, and it will truly be nothing new. What will our conversations look like?
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Podcast With Josie Ahlquist on Digital Identity, Social Media & Leadership