Less than two weeks into the new semester, we've shed at least one of our new students and part of the reason for him leaving relates to his perception of the burden imposed by social networking. On the Clonmel campus of the Limerick Institute of Technology, we run a tough Level 8 creative multimedia degree and part of its essence is a challenging continuous assessment (CA) component. Some of that CA is measured by collaborative work. As early as the first semester, I drive students into Google Documents where they can see and comment on the inputs of others. For someone who has avoided all sorts of online networking, jumping into the middle of a collaborative document with 50 others can be daunting. I refer to it as a "Cellphone Amish Tension" because I grew up in Amish country and I talk to the Stolzfus family when I return about how they're allowed to use their mobile phones. One of the rules imposed by the elders requires them to make outgoing calls from a phone box in the shed so they don't intrude on the sanctity of space in the family home. My point is that anyone using new technology of techniques needs to develop a level of comfort before they can feel competent with it. And some new students, who abhor the thought of getting stuck into the middle of social media, can only deal with the stress by jumping over the edge.
In my experience, they don't return.
The document that caused the stress: http://t9.ie/litmw01
Bonus Link: "What comes after social networking?" by Ade Oshineye, January 23, 2011.