Pennsylvania university bans social media for a week

A university in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has grabbed some headlines for themselves by taking the attention whoring step of banning all social media on campus for a week, except for on cell phones and smartphones, which kind of just makes it more annoying and pointless.

NPR did an interview with Eric Darr, of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, who describes the half-assed social experiment and ensuing essays by students about being cut off from things like Facebook and Twitter:

Provost Eric Darr of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania tells NPR’s Guy Raz that he wanted his students to not only think about this question, but live it.

“Often there are behaviors, habits, ways we use technology that we may ourselves not even be able to articulate because we’re not aware of them,” Darr says.

Darr asserts the ban is not discipline-related, but is academic in nature and designed to provoke thought. Given the student can access networks just fine and merely less efficiently, it sounds more like an irritation than anything else. Do you think this initiative has any academic merit? Since Facebook and Twitter have become a part of your life, what’s the longest you’ve managed to remain unplugged?