iPhones, Social Media and Higher Education

A possible friend/kindred spirit from the HighEdWeb conference posed the question on twitter today:

ColB: Not exactly a shock but — what does it mean for how/what we develop? Via Mashable: “iPhone Dominates Mobile WiFi Usage” http://bit.ly/f3dX9

To which I responded:

teamsiems: @ColB We use http://www.medu.com/ @tamuwww on iPhone to see class schedules, contact info, maps, and more

But seriously, what are we (Higher Education) going to do with iPhones? What should we do at this point with an untested technology (small, wireless, social media)?

Face it, twitter is running wild. No one is controlling it, there is no advertising, and fewer teenagers (future students) using it. Do we migrate with the herd? We sure fell into the social media trap almost as quickly as the rest of the world. And why not, money is money, and public universities need it as much as commerical businesses.

Only time will tell – tell how soon we continue with the soon to be old technology or jump ship for the next best thing.

Did you hear about “Cap and Trade”

In case you missed this one – I almost did – it sounds like the tree huggers tried to slip a fast one through congress: Senators Spend Recess Fine-Tuning Messages on Cap and Trade – NYTimes.com.

If ever there was a time to look at nuclear it is now. Actually, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved several “small” and “clean” reactor designs.

The industry has been working on something smaller, cheaper, standardized, and easy to build since construction on new plants ended nearly 20 years ago. The double digit interest rates of the 80’s combined with attitudes after Three Mile Island (TMI) crippled the nuclear industry. Clean, safe, and easy-to-build nuclear power is not only possible but essential for the future of U.S. energy need.

Politics in twitter

I was checking the followers list on twitter and look who’s following me now, @GovPerry2010. It seems Governor Rick Perry – or his campaign manager – started a new twitter account for the 2010 elections. I started following @GovernorPerry and @TeamKay a few weeks ago just to keep tabs on Rick and Kay. So, apparently, twitter is the new battle ground for politics. Can they get votes from twitterers? Will we ever use twitter polls to cast our votes? Probably not – not after the dangling chad incident and alleged Texas voting machine tampering*.

* Texas used Austin-based vendor Hart InterCivic model eSlate. A report commissioned by the State of Ohio in 2007 stated that Hart machines were vulnerable to attack (tampering).

My interest in Special Interest Groups @HighEdWeb 2009

My interest in Special Interest Groups @HighEdWeb 2009 and why:

  • Marketing and Communications: I work for a group called Communications and Marketing; we need to market the dry topic of information technology. But seriously, I think it is a delicate subject in higher education. We don’t have the budget that Sapient has, and we have to be more tactful than corporate America.
  • Leveraging Social Media/Networking tools: using social media is the norm today. Students coming to college use (some forms) of social media without batting an eye. We need to be comfortable with it. We need to use it as a marketing tool just like we used older forms of communication.
  • Accessibility: I’ve heard it summarized best this way, “Making anything accessible to the disabled makes it more accessible to the abled.” We need to make our communications accessible to the challenged not just because it’s the law, but because it makes it more accessible to the masses.
  • Usability and Usability testing: Like accessibility, usable design is universal. If it is good for a few chances are it’s good for the many. We need to make the web usable the first time or it wont get used and other aspects of our business will suffer – marketing, accessibility, management, etc.
  • Content Management: When we manage content well it makes life a whole lot easier. A Content Management System (CMS) can take care of a lot of above e.g. accessible, usable blogs with links to twitter/facebook/myspace.

Reposted from http://highedweb2009.ning.com/profiles/blogs/my-interest-in-special

Read more than the headline

A headline on KBTX.com read

Texas to Receive Millions of H1N1 Doses.

Oh no, we’ll all be infected!

Of course, the lead says we are going to receive receive millions of doses of novel H1N1 vaccinations.

Even that isn’t quite right. We will probably receive millions of does of vaccine which then must be administered as vaccinations.

The point, read more than the headline.

Time for campaigns to report earnings

Perry has routinely released his tax returns to the news media when requested since 1998.

His Republican primary opponent, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, has not yet released her returns, but her campaign has said she will do so.

via Governor’s ’08 tax return released after extension | Top stories | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s campaign for governor has promised to release her income tax returns later this week. We will update when they do.

via Kay Bailey Hutchison financial statements | Texas Politics | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

Before You Forward Chain Email “Interesting about McDonalds”

It might take a while, but chain letters eventually touch enough people. It’s been a while since I was fooled by one, but this one got me – for about an hour. Before you boycott Mc Donald’s read this.

Dr. Forrest’s reaction (PDF):

February 23, 2009

SUBJECT: Email concerning McDonald’s restaurants was NOT written by David Forrest

A chain email message regarding use of imported beef by McDonald’s restaurants has circulated in various forms for several years. One version of the chain email falsely identifies David Forrest as the author. David Forrest is not associated in any way with the contents of the chain email.

Web sites that have posted information regarding various versions of this chain email include:



Your efforts to curtail circulation of the chain email are appreciated

David Forrest

The chain letter that I received via e-mail from a friend with no relationship to Texas A&M:

Subject: Fw: Interesting about McDonalds
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2009 07:55:09 -0700 (PDT)

*Subject:* FW: Interesting about McDonalds


I’m sure those of you who aren’t in the cattle business don’t understand the issues here. But to those of us whose living depends on the cattle market, selling cattle, raising the best beef possible… This is frustrating. This will keep us from ever stopping there again, even for a drink. The original message is from the Texas Cattle Feeders Association American cattle producers are very passionate about this.

McDonald’s claims that there is not enough beef in the USA to support their restaurants. Well, we know that is not so. Our opinion is they are looking to save money at our expense. The sad thing of it is that the people of the USA are the ones who made McDonald’s successful in the first place, but we are not good enough to provide beef.

We personally are no longer eating at McDonald’s, which I am sure does not make an impact, but if we pass this around maybe there will be an impact felt.

All Americans that sell cows at a livestock auction barn had to sign a paper stating that we do NOT EVER feed our cows any part of another cow. South Americans are not required to do this as of yet.

McDonald’s has announced that they are going to start importing much of their beef from South America . The problem is that South Americans aren’t under the same regulations as American beef producers, and the regulations they have are loosely controlled.

They can spray numerous pesticides on their pastures that have been banned here at home because of residues found in the beef. They can also use various hormones and growth regulators that we can’t. The American public needs to be aware of this problem and that they may be putting themselves at risk from now on by eating at good old McDonald’s.

American ranchers raise the highest quality beef in the world and this is what Americans deserve to eat. Not beef from countries where quality is loosely controlled. Therefore, I am proposing a boycott of McDonald’s until they see the light.

I’m sorry but everything is not always about the bottom line, and when it comes to jeopardizing my family’s health, that is where I draw the line.

I am sending this note to about thirty people. If each of you send it to at least ten more (30 x 10 = 300) …. and those 300 send it to at l east ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000) … and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth generation of people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION consumers!

I’ll bet you didn’t think you and I had that much potential, did you? Acting together we can make a difference. If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on.

David W. Forrest, Ph.D., PAS, Dipl.
ACAP Department of Animal Science
Texas A&M University
Phone (979) 845-3560

When twitter doesn’t tweet

twitter_downThe biggest source of news/rumor – twitter – went TU this morning because it is a website like any other, and it is vulnerable to DOS attack like any other. What’s funny, is everyone scrambled to find news of why twitter was dead. Rather than be content that it’s quiet for a while we want news of why news isn’t getting to us.

A few hours after the attack CNET wrote an article about what happened. They referenced twitter’s own status blog which doesn’t detail much.