Harrisburg University Crisis PR: Bans Social Media Activities for a Week

Harrisburg University Social Media Ban


The Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, a private college in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has decreed a social media blackout for the week. Steve Infanti, Harrisburg University’s associate vice president for communications and marketing, told the media that the ban is intended as an exercise to “get students, staff and faculty to think about social media when they are not available.”

The Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, a private school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has decreed a social media blackout for the week. Steve Infanti, Harrisburg University’s associate vice president for communications and marketing, told the media that the ban is intended as an exercise to “get students, staff and faculty to think about social media when they are not available.”

No one in the university can currently tween, update a Facebook profile or engage in any other social media activity. The university is blocking IP addresses for campus network computers to shut down access to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and instant messaging services such as AOL.

“We want to challenge people to think about how they came to rely on it,” noted Eric Darr, the university’s executive vice president and provost. “We too have used lots of social media, some successfully, some of it not so successfully.”

Darr told the media that the staff uses social media to communicate with colleagues from the same line of work about curriculum ideas. The question this experiment is supposed to answer is whether the process would take longer if they had to rely only on face-to-face meetings, or whether the outcomes would be any different.

At the end of this week’s ban, students are expected to write an essay about the impact of social media on their lives and how the ban affected them.

Additionally, the University held today a social media summit: Twittervention: Social Media & Legal Issues for Employers, Educators & Parents in the hope to move the conversation about social media to a more strategic level.

What do you think about such an experiment? Would you be willing to participate? Can you imagine one week without social media?

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