Accept no substitutes

Even More Facebook Follow-up

Fred has additional FaceBook observations, with measures to back them, on the ibiblog. This is a very lengthy and wise follow up on Freshman behavior in regards to privacy and disclosure.

One interesting fact that Fred points out: Of nearly 400 personal websites reported “Not one freshman reports using his or her UNC provided webspace.”

As I say in a comment there:

Just observing my students, I notice that reliance on UNC services such as mail and webspace has declined and in many cases vanished entirely.

We require that students have an ONYEN and that they recieve mail at a address, but more often than not the address is a forward to an account (yahoo, hotmail, gmail etc) that the student has had since high school or earlier.

Similarly, students with web space take advantage of a service that they have had before coming to UNC and expect to have after leaving UNC.

Why? In part because the Only Name You’ll Ever Need (ONYEN) is only temporary. It vanishes when you leave UNC and with it your email and website — and without forwarding of either.

Students — and other users — see their websites and email as more of less permanent (”I want my friends to find me” etc) and the UNC solution as transient.

[end of comment on ibiblog]

The virtual communites of UNC students are mostly privately managed by free email services, web hosting services, blogging services and photo services — as well as, and I don’t recall if Fred has measured this, Instant Messaging services. Of these services, UNC offers only email and limited web hosting.


  1. coturnix

    I have updated my earlier post to link to another blogger who did a similar analysis at Kansas University.

  2. justin

    I had a nominal AOL email account before arriving at UNC as a freshman in 1998, but for the most part, my UNC email address and webspace were my first, and I treated them as if I’d have them forever. And in some respects I did, 4 years undergrad, 2 years grad school, and one more year as a UNC employee. It’s strange, but parting with my UNC email account (even though it still works and by all accounts will continue to work indefinitely) was one of the hardest things I had to do in moving across the country.

  3. Ruby

    Funny how poorly named the ONYEN is. It’s more like the opposite.

  4. tom

    Policy is that ONYEN’s are persistent and unique, like PID’s, and thus they never get recycled; it seems silly given what certain people in ITS have said about how cheap storage is to actually “tear down” people’s data.

    Here’s and excerpt from “official” documentation:

    Onyens and Data Expiration

    Your Onyen is subject to immediate termination once you are no longer affiliated with the University. Access to your Onyen, files, web pages, and ATN research computing services will be unavailable 60 days after you are deemed officially unaffiliated with the University. Your files will be deleted one year from the day you are deemed officially unaffiliated with the University. You will receive an email message from ATN informing you of these deadlines 30 days after your official separation from the university. The following sample timeline explains the order of events:

    * June 1, 2001 – Official termination with the University.
    * July 1, 2001 – Email message explaining that your account will be terminated.
    * August 1, 2001 – Termination of access to Onyen, files, web pages, and ATN research computing services.
    * June 1, 2002 – Files and data deleted.

    —- from —-

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