Stanford students’ video helps effort to save preemies

Through an experimental class at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business that tries to use social media for the public good, a trio of students posted a video to YouTube this spring promoting an organization that hopes to save the lives of millions of prematurely born babies in India and other developing nations by creating an innovative, low-cost baby incubator—and now the video has gone viral, reports the San Jose Mercury News. A version of the students’ video on behalf of the nonprofit organization Embrace will soon be appearing on digital billboards across India, after it was noticed on YouTube by the CEO of India’s first interactive digital billboard company. That instant digital connection from Palo Alto to Mumbai—unthinkable before the era of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter—is the focus of “The Power of Social Technology,” a new class that Stanford business professor Jennifer Aaker was inspired to teach after watching one of her students launch an effort on the internet to find South Asian bone marrow donors for two friends who were critically ill with leukemia. Enlisting an all-star cast to help teach the course, ranging from entertainer and Twitter apostle MC Hammer to executives with Pixar and the international micro loans organization Kiva, Aaker is trying to make the point that a company can earn a profit and help social change, and that platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube can be powerful tools for that change…

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Professors not ROTFL at students’ text language

College professors are anything but LOL at their students’ recent writing habits, reports the San Jose Mercury News. Not only are instructors not laughing out loud—shortened to LOL in text messages and online chats—at the technology-oriented shorthand that has seeped into academic papers, but many of them also sternly telling students to stop using the new language even in less formal writing. “Despite the fact that I happen to be perfectly capable of reading any incoherent drivel you may send to my inbox directly from your phone keypad, ‘wut up ya I cnt make it 2 clss lol’ is insanely unprofessional,” reads the syllabus of Alejo Enriquez, a Cal State East Bay instructor. “Therefore, I am imposing a higher standard of grammar, spelling, and use of the enter key upon you and kindly request that all eMails sent to me resemble any other letter to your teacher, supervisor, grandparents, or parole officer.” Faculty members increasingly have expressed irritation about reading acronyms and abbreviations they often do not understand, said Sally Murphy, a Cal State East Bay professor and director of the university’s general-education program. One eMail to a professor started with, “Yo, teach,” she said. “It has a real effect on the tone of professionalism,” said Murphy, who also has seen younger instructors use the shorthand. “We tell them very specifically how this is going to affect them in life. It’s kind of like wearing their jeans below their butt. They’re going to lose all credibility.”

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