Abstaining from Social Media

As you begin a new term, what do you think about abstaining from social media? I had some friends who fasted from Facebook through Lent and according to Inside Higher Ed a professor offered a class extra credit if they stopped using social media during his course (see Extra Credit: Abstain from Facebook).

How many took him up on the offer? 12 out of 35. How many succeeded? 6 out of 12. I wonder how he tracked and/or verified what I assume to be self-reporting.

In what manner does social media help you get to know your colleagues? Is it awkward to use with those above or below you in the campus structure? Do all faculty need to have a Facebook page to relate to students or would students prefer not to have faculty know what they’re chatting about?

Note: HT to Ivy Jungle’s July Update for information regarding this article.

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Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

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  • kle.seaton@gmail.com'
    Kelly commented on August 20, 2009 Reply

    Great article! I liked the one prof’s semester long challenge. Ironically though, I found this post through an update on my Facebook wall….

    Periodically, I will have someone change my facebook password for me, so I can go for a specific length of time without being on Facebook. It always ends up being a good thing! I do like FB and think it is useful, but again, all things in moderation.

  • hannaheag@comcast.net'
    Hannah commented on August 20, 2009 Reply

    I guess it’s sort of ironic for me to say this via blog comments, but I’m an old fashioned holdout on Facebook. I know some other people who do some good things with it, but I think if I got it I would just waste time.

    I guess I also feel that it can be pretty difficult to block out one-on-one, face to face time with people, and I might be distracted from that by social networking sites. I’m afraid that I would spend time on Facebook interacting in a more distanced way with people I don’t know very well, rather than pursuing deeper relationships via phone calls, thoughtful email exchanges, or face to face meetings with people I’m learning to know more deeply. As I said, I don’t think that’s a problem for everyone who uses Facebook, but I think it would be for me.


  • guy.chmieleski@gmail.com'
    Guy Chmieleski commented on August 20, 2009 Reply

    This post raises some good, and important questions…

    Although I’m fairly new to the social media world, I am finding it a great way to 1) connect with students who live in this world, and 2) connect with other professionals who are thinking and raising questions about the same kinds of things I am.

    While it is an environment that can definitely be too time consuming and potentially take away from face-to-face time, in moderation I think it really is a good thing to give some time to.

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