While You Weren't Tweeting: It's Back to School Time

Take a stroll down any aisle in Target.  Pirouette through the airy walkways at the Houston Zoo.  Squint your eyes in disbelief at a nearly abandoned Discovery Green.  Go ahead; try it.  There's something markedly different in the world today, isn't there?

Oh, helloooooo, Big Yellow School Bus!  Does this mean...?  Is it that time...?  YES!  School's back in session!

Whether you're finally attempting to buy that High School Musical 2 lunchbox you couldn't wrestle from the iron grip of a nine-year-old diva-in-training at Wal-Mart, or you're artfully dodging ankle-biters and orange-clad crossing guards in the pedestrian crosswalks, make no bones about it -- school's b-b-b-back in, baby.  Daycare be damned, Mead's ridin' high again, educators have cleared the shelves of startling-colored pens, and local kid-centric businesses throughout the Bayou City are scrambling to determine whether summer staycations were enough to lift their heads outta the reds.

Amidst all the back-to-school hullabaloo, you might've missed the book that the SEC - which includes collegiate powerhouses such as LSU, Ole Miss, and University of Florida - threw at social media.  Last week, the conference was expected to release a final version of its "new media policy" for college-sponsored events.  The initial go at it went a lil' somethin' like this:  "Ticketed fans can't 'produce or disseminate (or aid in producing or disseminating)' any material or information about the Event, including, but not limited to, any account, description, picture, video, audio, reproduction or other information concerning the Event."  Oh yeah.  That meant no Tweeting and no mobile photo uploading for you, college coeds.  Then, of course, they changed their minds, because seriously, without spontaneous, inebriated photos from collegiate social gatherings, where would Girls Gone Wild be?  We're in a recession, folks.  It's all about stimulating the, um, economy.

Hoping to satiate your obsession with notebooks and rejoin the ruckus as a teacher one day?  Then keep your virtual nose clean.  A CareerBuilder survey revealed that a whopping 45% of employers use social networks to screen potential candidates, up from 22% last year.  The digital detectives are exactly where you'd expect to find them, with 29% using Facebook and 26% using LinkedIn to dig up your dirt.  Somewhat oddly, 21% are checking MySpace, essentially meaning that 21% of the 2,600 participating hiring managers are employed by Vivid or Wicked Pictures.

Yo, and speaking of edumacation, can you actually learn anything from social media?  Specifically, should schools use it for the benefit of their students, or is it a waste of time?  Hmmm.  Let's just hope the scholarly world doesn't share the views of Michael Phillip, a 20-year-old mechanical engineering major at Mizzou: "I don't really care. (Social media) probably wouldn't help. It's social type stuff we're trying to learn. It just wouldn't be necessary."  Sigh.  Those young whippersnappers have so much to understand.  Ahem.

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