Concordia shuts down wired Facebook access

Facebook access at Concordia available on wireless network only

Starting September 2008, access to the social networking service Facebook will be available only on Concordia’s wireless network.

The service will no longer be accessible from desktop computers with only a wired connection to the Concordia University network.

[...]

Concordia’s network administrators are not trying to block access to Facebook, but to manage the manner in which the Concordia community accesses the service.

The university has decided to implement the restriction because of concerns that the continuing reliability of the Concordia wired network could be compromised because of spam, viruses and leaks of confidential information related to use of the social networking site.

I'll admit that the given reasons behind the restrictions are obviously bullshit / filler text (spam and viruses aren't any more likely to come from Facebook than from other web service that users are allowed to access). The real reasons behind this change are somewhat more political and pragmatic: control the amount of time that students, staff and faculty spend wasting their working hours on Facebook. If they've made this change there probably was already a problem with users using Facebook in excessive or inappropriate ways (which, of course, Facebook is designed to encourage).

Indeed, pretty much everyone I know who uses Facebook in any useful way has become less productive than they were before joining Facebook. Either way, Concordia is to be commended for stepping in and making what may well be a very unpopular decision for reasons that those without all the facts may not fully understand yet - this is, in essence, one of the principle roles of any government.

I try to steer clear of statements like "the ends justify the means", but I think it might very well apply here.

(via Christine)

Comments

Monday, September 22nd, 2008
mir's picture

I don't know, there's a slippery slope here. Since when did institutions have the right to govern productivity in such a Draconian manner? They could just issue some random edict ie; Poeple killing time on social networks when they are a/ using a public computer or b/ on the Concordia payroll will be issued a warning and following a second offense their username will be dropped from wired network access or "booya" they will lose their job.

Why use censorship when it's really an issue of appropriate behaviour?

Besides, if people can't waste time on Facebook they will do other stuff, Msn chat, maybe go dust off the MySpace page. Work is boring school can be grievously boring, unproductive behaviour won't change unless the boredom ends;)

Also Juno sucked donkey balls.

stevenmansour
Monday, September 22nd, 2008
stevenmansour's picture

Since when did institutions have the right to govern productivity in such a Draconian manner?

  • No chewing gum in kindergarten.
  • No portable video games in grade school.
  • No iPods in High School.
  • etc...

There's nothing 'Draconian' about it - universities and institutions have a history of blocking or allowing sites and services as they see fit on their network. It's not Draconian if people can simply choose to go to a different school; I hear Mcgill doesn't block Facebook.

They could just issue some random edict

No, that's not the way things work. They want people to stop wasting their time on Facebook before they lose their jobs. It's also way, way more labor-intensive (and Orwellian) to start monitoring everybody individually to see who's doing what on their computers. I don't think Concordia wants to be Homeland Security, and they don't want a conspiarcy. They really just want to make sure that their efficiency doesn't take a nose dive, plain and simple.

Why use censorship when it's really an issue of appropriate behaviour?

I'd really love to hear your thoughts on how any use of Facebook during working hours can be considered "appropriate behavior"...

Besides, if people can't waste time on Facebook they will do other stuff, Msn chat, maybe go dust off the MySpace page.

"Besides, if people are not allowed to buy guns they will just kill each other with knives and cars."

There comes a point in 'boredom' where the activity used to procrastinate is so lame and unfulfilling (ie myspace, in your example) that it ceases to be worth the effort to procrastinate at all; then, we just roll up our sleeves and get back to work, as 'grievously boring' as that can be - but if it's so boring, why sign up for school in the first place?

mir
Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008
mir's picture

I am reading your blog at work right now Steven.

I just think it's difference when you are talking about 10 year olds' versus 20 - 30 - 40 - 50 year olds'.

I feel the same about the 8 hour work day, wouldn't it be better to set goals and then let people fulfill them instead of getting mad at them for arriving at 9:45am. (says the chronically late girl).

You know like a freelancer does. Adults don't need nannies, or perhaps you think they do?

And yes, of course there should be pr0n blockers at work for obvious reasons, but why keep people from noodling on social sites, it's basically a water cooler, management just doesn't like it because a water cooler is obviously wasting time, facebook is less easy to spot.

stevenmansour
Saturday, September 27th, 2008
stevenmansour's picture

And yes, of course there should be pr0n blockers at work for obvious reasons, but why keep people from noodling on social sites, it's basically a water cooler, management just doesn't like it because a water cooler is obviously wasting time, facebook is less easy to spot.

  • We can't spend 4 hours hanging around the water cooler (or maybe we can?).
  • At the water cooler we usually gossip about work itself, not about how Johnny Football's status was recently changed from "in a relationship" to "single and looking".
  • I'd sooner allow porn sites on my network than Facebook. People can spend all day wasting time on Facebook because the flow of updates is steady. On a good porn site, though, I'd last 10, maybe 15 minutes, then get right back to work.

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
Christine's picture

Ummmmm, actually the water cooler is a very important place. The spot where peers talk about work in a relaxed way, help each other, come up with new ideas. Unlike many bullshit meetings.

Princesita
Saturday, September 27th, 2008
Princesita's picture

Actually, it is via me. I am giving credit to myself here.

PS. Too much information re: porn sites. I don't think the telenovela chicas want to hear that.

Incognito
Sunday, September 28th, 2008
Incognito's picture

Hello TMI. I think you should start a mini-blog called Steve's blue nuit, just on the basis of that comment alone.

It would be a hilarious mixture of reviews and icky personal disclosure and your female friends would a/ avoid it or b/ slam you, for being a total pervert ;) or c/ learn many things about dudes they kinda wish they didn't know.

I thought the films themselves were like an hour, what do you do press fast-forward with your toe?

'Kay and on a more serious note, at the office water cooler people gossip about who is sleeping with who, who likes who, who just broke up with their partner and is showing up to work drunk. So you are wrong in that respect.

No one spends 4 hours consecutively on FB it's more like you skim about 15% of your intellectual capacity from your daily allotment of focus and portion it out over the 6 hours you spend at your desk doing work. This translates to everyone in the world who is not a CEO or some other kind of type a high-achieving wanker having about 4 hours of good work in them a day. The rest of the time we noodle. The sooner people admit this about themselves, the sooner we'll all be happy.

Oh yeah, also I think if I had to choose between a box of President's Choice Decadent chocolate chip cookies, and Pr0n I would choose the cookies. So... I just wanted to put that out there. Oh and finishing the cookies would only take 10 -15 minutes as well.

stevenmansour
Sunday, September 28th, 2008
stevenmansour's picture

This translates to everyone in the world who is not a CEO or some other kind of type a high-achieving wanker having about 4 hours of good work in them a day. The rest of the time we noodle. The sooner people admit this about themselves, the sooner we'll all be happy.

I could say the same thing about accepting that people do, indeed, watch pornography. The sooner people admit this about themselves, the sooner we'll all be happy. :p

No one spends 4 hours consecutively on FB

Bullshit - I've seen people refreshing their Facebook page all day long.

the office water cooler people gossip about who is sleeping with who, who likes who, who just broke up with their partner and is showing up to work drunk

WTF? Do you work at Miss Teen magazine? No matter what they're talking about, they're doing so with their colleagues, so at the very least they're building relationships with the people they work with - in any case, far more valuable than trying to turn each other into zombies on Facebook.

Oh yeah, also I think if I had to choose between a box of President's Choice Decadent chocolate chip cookies, and Pr0n I would choose the cookies. So... I just wanted to put that out there. Oh and finishing the cookies would only take 10 -15 minutes as well.

You're comparing Apples and Oranges here. Or rather, cookies and porn. Compare cookies with cookies and porn with porn.

stevenmansour
Thursday, October 9th, 2008
stevenmansour's picture

I guess I'm the odd man out then. I still think the watercooler conversation is lame and does not lead to better work.

And if you don't believe me, believe wikipedia! ;)

When used in larger companies, staff somehow manage to show up at the same times during the workday. This informal gathering is often colloquially described as meeting "around the water cooler". Topics discussed during such meetings are said to have a "water cooler effect". This means that these topics are newsworthy current events or office gossip interesting (or important) enough to start off conversations around the water cooler. Television shows that people have conversations about are watercooler shows. Conversations around the water cooler are typically of a less professional nature than usual office conversation.

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