Source: http://www.astana-cyclingteam.com/special_features/images/blackberry_8800.jpg

By blocking social media apps in schools, are we creating a digital divide between those who can afford smartphones (administrators, superintendents, pr personnel) and those who can’t (teachers, assistants, students, etc)? Why should this matter? Simply, blocking social media (twitter, ping.fm, plurk) mean that you’re disempowering your own people. It’s not about blocking students’ access because of CIPA, but blocking adults who have a real need to share information and ideas, problem-solve with a global community of other educators and find that they can’t do it.

This idea of an organization using social media to further its own goals online but dis-empowering its employees is worth reflecting on. It was driven home to me when I considered Seth Godin’s words:

If you want to change what your boss believes, or the strategy your company is following, the first step is to figure out how to be the best informed person in the room.
Source: Seth Godin, Willfully ignorant or aggressively skeptical

Wow, what a powerful quote. Since social media is a VALID NEW approach to staying informed, should school districts (and organizations) have the ability to limit the flow of information?

But that’s not the real question. That question I just asked above (in bold) doesn’t really matter, right? It doesn’t matter because organizations CANNOT stop social media. They may put up some speed bumps but most folks are carrying affordable alternatives to organizational ways of tapping into the network. I guess we’re back to the old argument of, should organizations provide access to tools that you can get on your mobile device?

As Blackberries become more affordable (ahem) and iPhones take over, I’ve run across some Blackberry apps, so thought to make a list of them here…feel free to suggest your own (and if you’re the person selling them, be sure to tell us that rather than just leave a comment saying how great your product is, ok? Transparency….)

  • SocialScope – Access Twitter and Facebook on your Blackberry
  • UberTwitter – Integrated ability to upload pictures to a site dedicated to serving ÜberTwitter users; Ability to optionally update your Google Talk status with your last tweet, making your tweets reach a wider audience then just people following you on Twitter; Automatically update your location based on the cell tower information provided by your phone, no GPS hardware required, click here for an example; Send videos embedded in your tweet; See everyone who is tweeting near you
  • Facebook for Blackberry – obvious, huh?
  • BlackPing – Ping.fm on your Blackberry.
  • Pinglet – Ability to select default and custom triggers for posting; Input for title and a message body for post; View recent posts; Auto detect Direct TCP, MDS or WiFi connection

Any others worth recommending?

For iPhone junkies, read this.


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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