The current assignment (due post-exam, of course) is to research and present findings on the presence and use of social media in corporate settings. As with anything new, the policies lag behind the actual use. One student (from a previous class of mine) found a Social Media Governance site, which contains blogging-related policies and/or guidelines from 99 organizations. While I've not read them all, my current favorite is the Yahoo! Personal Blog Guidelines 1.0. I like the common-sense, treat-them-as-grownups approach...and the lessons learned from the "experienced" bloggers inside Yahoo!. Our interest in this course is whether the use of social media is an extension of corporate strategy...or a bandwagon leap. The early discoveries are intriguing, as are the student opinions.
On a micro-level, the presence and use of laptops and cell phones in class is equally risky. Though I was taught that people tend to rise to the level of our expectations for them, I've found the belief to be both a truth and a trap. In this course, social networking--and, by extension, the associated technology--is potentially an enabler and a distraction. The students are generally quite respectful, though, giving attention to peer presentations and to my occasional formal "lectures."
But it takes everything in me not to walk around and check...are they on Facebook? Email? Twittering? (Doubly painful, that possibility.) What keeps me from checking with any regularity is the knowledge that faculty meetings and business meetings provide the same temptation to professionals who are expected to manage their own behavior. Perhaps this, too, is one of the learning experiences...for me, as well as for the class.