Most professors I know very rarely have to vent about a student or students. It makes sense, even to propellerheads, that social media is a poor tool for such things. Nevertheless, something seems more than a little disproportionate in this response, recent events notwithstanding.
February 26, 2010, 03:39 PM ET
Gloria Y. Gadsden, an associate professor of sociology at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, was escorted off the campus on Wednesday because of jokes she had made on her Facebook page about wanting to kill students.
On Monday the professor posted this update: “Had a good day today, didn’t want to kill even one student.:-) Now Friday was a different story …” In another comment, on January 21, she wrote: “Does anyone know where I can find a very discrete hitman, it’s been that kind of day.”
Consider the history and use of the “smiley” as recalled on the 25th anniversary of the emoticon:
Online bulletin boards became popular among Carnegie Mellon’s computer science community in the early 1980s. Faculty, staff and students used them as a social mechanism, discussing everything from the serious issues of the day to campus parking to the occasional lost-and-found item.
“Given the nature of the community, a good many of the posts were humorous, or at least attempted humor,” explained Fahlman. “The problem was that if someone made a sarcastic remark, a few readers would fail to get the joke and each of them would post a lengthy diatribe in response.”
Fahlman said that would stir up more people with more responses, and soon the original thread of the discussion was buried. So, a discussion of ideas for joke markers ensued, during which Fahlman suggested the sideways smiley face. (Read the original thread.)
And the rest is history.