Long ago lapped by Facebook in popularity and with fast-growing Twitter on its tail, social networking site MySpace is planning a series of updates over the next months that will link its users’ posts to those sites more easily and carve out its niche as an entertainment hub more clearly, reports the Associated Press. The changes were unveiled by co-presidents Jason Hirschhorn, 38, and Mike Jones, 34, this week following the abrupt departure of CEO Owen Van Natta in February after just 10 months on the job. The two remaining executives acknowledged that change has been slow coming to the site, and critics have often cited its clunkiness compared to Facebook. MySpace’s monthly visitors declined 7 percent in January from a year ago to 120 million worldwide, compared with Facebook’s 471 million visitors, a 100 percent increase, according to internet tracker comScore Inc. Hirschhorn said MySpace needs to be more uniquely focused on the 14 million musicians who put songs and videos on the site and how fans interact with them, and it will give more control to artists over their profiles. The site also will open up its platform for games more widely and reward users who act as evangelizers of content. Refocusing its gaze on the core 13-34 age group that represents more than half of its visitors and 84 percent of all time spent on the site, MySpace also will add a better, smarter “stream” that allows users to see more of what their friends are doing in a central location, as well as a “Super Post” update bar that allows users to post links, videos, and updates to MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter all at once……Read More
Podcast Series: Innovations in Education
Explore the full series of eSchool News podcasts hosted by Kevin Hogan—created to keep you on the cutting edge of innovations in education.
Site asks social networkers to rethink revelations
As more people reveal their whereabouts on social networks, a new site has sprung up to remind students and others that letting everyone know where you are — and, by extension, where you’re not — could leave you vulnerable to those with less-than-friendly intentions. The site’s name says it all: Please Rob Me.
Launched last week, Please Rob Me is exceptionally straightforward. Pretty much all it does is show posts that appear on Twitter from a location-sharing service, Foursquare, that has become popular on college campuses. Please Rob Me puts these posts into a long, chronological list it refers to as ”Recent Empty Homes.”
Please Rob Me assembles its list by taking information that Twitter makes freely available so that many web sites can show tweets. But the point of Please Rob Me could be made with data that flows on dozens of other sites as well.…Read More
Facebook messaging glitch raises fresh privacy concerns
Social networking behemoth Facebook reported a glitch in a software update that caused users’ private messages to land in the wrong in-boxes, stoking new fears over the site’s security, eWeek reports. A Facebook spokesperson released a statement via eMail acknowledging the problem and explained that while the problem was being fixed, the affected users were not able to access the site. “During our regular code push yesterday evening, a bug caused some misrouting to a small number of users for a short period of time,” the statement read. “Our engineers diagnosed the problem moments after it began and worked diligently to get everything back in its rightful place.” The statement did not include specifics on how widespread the problem was or how long it took the company to fix the hiccup. The incident puts Facebook back in the security spotlight as questions are again raised regarding the level of security and privacy of its users’ accounts……Read More
Yearbooks another casualty of the Facebook generation
For the first time since 1887, students at the University of Virginia won’t have a hardcover memento of their college years: The school founded by Thomas Jefferson has become the latest to decide there’s no place for the traditional yearbook in the age of Facebook.
The student publishers of “Corks and Curls” decided to scrap this year’s edition because they didn’t have the money—an edition can cost more than $100,000—or the student demand. Student apathy and the financial realities of publishing makes the chance of reviving it slim, editor Michelle Burch said.
The Charlottesville, Va., university joins higher-education institutions such as Purdue, Mississippi State, and Old Dominion that no longer publish yearbooks as more students share memories through social-networking web sites.…Read More
Facebook group urges Rutgers to reconsider internet speed cap
In just three weeks, more than 1,000 Rutgers students banded together on a Facebook group to protest a new speed cap on the university’s residential internet network, reports the Daily Targum. Implemented at the start of the spring semester, the new speed cap for downloading and uploading is set to a maximum of 1.5 megabits per second and 768 kilobits per second, respectively. School of Arts and Sciences first-year student Kevin Song created the group, called “Rutgers Students for Faster Internet.” Song established the group to convince the school’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) to change the new policy to something more satisfactory. Before, the residential network had a bandwidth limit but no speed cap. OIT Director Frank Reda said numerous complaints from students and faculty prompted the university’s decision to remove the download limit when their internet privileges were suspended after exceeding the limit. “Providing uniform, uninterrupted internet access to all students is a fair solution. Now, no student will have coursework impacted by suspension of internet connectivity,” he said. “The only potential con is that peak transmission speeds are slower than previously available.” The new policy has affected students in different ways. “I used to have video chats with my family back home,” sophomore John Campagnone said. “But with the [new] speed cap, the video quality is horrible, and I can’t really see them.” But Reda said the speed caps should not affect network resources on campus, or internal university web sites such as Sakai and school eMail accounts……Read More
Can social media cure low student engagement?
Keeping college students and their professors connected through social media outlets could be key in boosting graduation rates, education technology experts said during a panel discussion at Social Media Week in New York.
Social Media Week ran through the first week of February in five cities worldwide—New York City, San Francisco, London, Sao Paulo, and Toronto—and authorities from the business world, academia, and other fields discussed how social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are shaping global culture.
During a Feb. 6 session called “The Future of Social Media in Higher Education,” a five-person panel explored how colleges can use social networking to communicate with traditional and nontraditional students, what impact the new Apple iPad might have on student-faculty communication, and why Blackboard is not meeting some students’ social media needs.…Read More
Google’s eMail gets social in Facebook face-off
Google Inc. opened a new social hub in its e-mail service on Tuesday, leaving little doubt that the Internet search leader is girding for a face-off with Facebook, reports the Associated Press. The new Gmail channel, called Google Buzz, includes many of the features that have turned Facebook into the Web’s top spot for fraternizing with friends and family. It comes less than a week after Facebook made changes of its own. Among other things, Facebook now shows a list of friends available for chatting on the left side of the page, similar to where Gmail now displays its chat feature. The Google Buzz features won’t reach all of Gmail’s estimated 176 million users worldwide for several more days. A link to the service will appear on the top left of the page, in a prominent position just under Gmail’s inbox tab……Read More
Carnegie Mellon to offer internet safety resources
Carnegie Mellon University will use a $20,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to create and distribute internet safety advice to faculty, teachers, and students in K-12 schools and on college campuses.
The university’s internet safety lessons can be found on a new web site from its Information Networking Institute, called MySecureCyberspace, which also includes tools such as an encyclopedia of hundreds of web terms.
The web-based tools will be sampled at St. Bede School in Pennsylvania, the university announced Jan. 25.…Read More
Facebook post gets teen expelled
Taylor Cummings was a popular basketball star on the verge of graduating from one of Nashville’s most prestigious high schools until a post on the social networking site Facebook got him expelled, reports the Tennessean. After weeks butting heads with his coaches, Taylor, 17, logged on to the site from home on Jan. 3. He typed his frustrations for the online world to see: “I’ma kill em all. I’ma bust this [expletive] up from the inside like nobody’s ever done before.” Taylor said the threat wasn’t real, but school officials said they can’t take any chances. The case highlights the boundaries between socializing in person at school and online at home. It also calls into question the latitude school officials have in disciplining students for their conduct online. Since the suicide of a Missouri teenager who was harassed online in 2006, school officials nationwide have become sensitive to cyber threats. Taylor’s father said the language his son used was inappropriate and banned him from posting on Facebook. But Harrison Cummings said Taylor shouldn’t have been expelled from Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School, where he was just one semester away from graduating. He has no history of school violence and has never been in a fight or suspended before this incident, documents related to his expulsion show……Read More
Study: Facebook isn’t a grade killer
Facebook could be a distraction that drags down grade point averages, or a popular online hangout spot that has no impact on college students’ academics — depending on which university study you read.
Students in a University of New Hampshire marketing research course surveyed more than 1,100 fellow students about their use of popular social media web sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and they found “no correlation between the amount of time students spend using social media and their grades.”
The University of New Hampshire findings contrasted with Ohio State University research from last year that suggested Facebook had a significant impact on student performance.…Read More