Skepticism of Facebook Student Groups grows on college campuses

Half of Oberlin's Student Groups had less than five members.

To understand why Facebook’s unveiling of Student Groups didn’t send higher-education technologists into a tizzy, it might be helpful to examine the case of Oberlin College in Ohio, where 95 percent of its Student Groups have seen no student activity since they were made live in a pilot program that started in early March.

Facebook’s April 11 announcement, making Student Groups public after pilot programs on college campuses across the country, harkens back to the social network’s younger days, when members had to have “.edu” eMail addresses to create a Facebook account.

Student Groups will allow students and faculty members on hundreds of campuses to make private group pages that will be off limits to Facebook members outside the campus community. Students can share files–homework or class projects, perhaps–and interact with fellow students even if they’re not friends of the social network.…Read More

West Point shows military precision in its social media approach

West Point has its own YouTube channel.

Dean Tsouvalas, editor-in-chief of StudentAdvisor.com, interviewed Major Olivia Nunn, public affairs executive officer and social media chief at West Point – The United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.  West Point was ranked No. 9 on the Top 100 Social Media Colleges rankings released in fall 2011.

Founded in 1802, The United States Military Academy at West Point has gained a reputation for being one of the toughest educational institutions when it comes to admissions. And why shouldn’t its officials be selective?  They are responsible for training America’s top military officers.

Affectionately known as “The Long Gray Line,” West Point’s alumni include two presidents, three foreign heads of state, 18 astronauts, and a slew of notable generals including Robert E. Lee, Douglas MacArthur, Norman Schwarzkopf, and David Petraeus. It comes as no surprise that the history department has adopted as its unofficial motto: “Much of the history we teach was made by people we taught.”…Read More

Google tweaks Buzz social hub after privacy woes

As it introduced a new social hub, Google quickly learned that people’s most frequent e-mail contacts are not necessarily their best friends, the Associated Press reports. Rather, they could be business associates, or even lovers, and the groups don’t necessarily mix well. It’s one reason many people keep those worlds separate by using Facebook for friends and LinkedIn for professional contacts, or by keeping some people completely off either social circle despite frequent e-mails with them. Google Inc. drew privacy complaints this week when it introduced Buzz and automatically created circles of friends based on users’ most frequent contacts on Gmail. Just days later, Google responded by giving users more control over what others see about them. Google introduced Buzz on Tuesday as part of its existing Gmail service. The service includes many of the features that have turned Facebook into the Web’s top spot for fraternizing with friends and family. Like Facebook, Buzz lets Gmail users post updates about what they are doing or thinking. Gmail users can also track other people’s updates and instantly comment on them for everyone else in the social circle to see. But while Facebook requires both sides to confirm that they are friends before making that relationship public, Google automatically does so by analyzing how often they’ve communicated in the past. Those frequent contacts become part of the circle of people you follow and who follow you.

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