professional reflections

Why I suppose I ought to become a Daily Mail reader

It's Sunday evening…. Brian Kelly recently resurrected the debate about Facebook and its use in an HE context. I know he's on the road at the moment so I suspect he dipped into his blog post 'reserve' for this one ;-). My initial reaction was to smile and move on, but I was caught more by a couple of the comments, from Mike [ comment] and Marieke [ comment] (both people I know and respect), which have stung me into responding. (Brian is becoming a master at inviting comments of that sort, and his blog has a sufficiently high profile that the comments can invite a response like this one). There are two messages in the post and in the two comments:

  • Facebook can't be all that wrong because millions of people have accounts in it ("100 million users can’t be wrong")
  • If you say that you don't like or want to use Facebook, then it is because you are an elitist or a techie or both (and you should "grow up"!)

I have already characterised Facebook as a a walled garden. I don't feel particularly inclined to advocate the use of Facebook to support activities in HE. I wouldn't stand in the way of people wanting to access Facebook but the argument which says that university staff should 'go where the students are' is often raised but never really backed up - in fact, as Owen Stephens blogged a while ago, there is evidence to the contrary.

Perhaps I am elitist - not for me to say really. I suppose I may be a techie - not sure what definition to check. However, my reasons for not liking Facebook are, I think, reasonable and considered.

As for millions of people using Facebook: well, 2,258,843 copies of the Daily Mail newspaper (which to my eye appears to be a horrible right-wing rag of a newspaper) were sold in August of this year. Hmmm…. more than 2 million you say…. I read the Guardian, but its figures (332,587) just don't match up…. perhaps I ought to start reading the Daily Mail and recommending it to students?

Mike asks, "if they are [wrong], who cares?" I, for one, hope that our universities do!

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