Facebook turning SamMail into Snail Mail

Although it has not developed a 12-step program, many students would consider themselves addicted to Facebook. However, the favorite past time could be the reason for problems or delays with campus e-mail accounts. According to Computer Services of Sam Houston State University, the school server is working in overdrive to process the mass amounts of Facebook ‘notifications’ received every day.”Some people can have over 400 friends,” said Mark Adams, computer services associate vice president for information resources. “If they set it up so their friends are notified every time they update their profile, 400 notification e-mails are sent out when they change one little bit of information on their profile.”E-mails are sent to Facebook users when network friends write on their wall, comment on a note, photo or video, are added as a friend or updates any profile information.”I’ll have two full pages in my inbox of just Facebook notifications,” SHSU student Eric Payton said. “It’s full of stuff like ‘hey, someone wants to make you a vampire’ and things like that. I’m not on Facebook to be a vampire.”The flood of notifications through the SHSU server is creating a delayed delivery for SamMail users.”It will be really slow opening up some of my e-mails,” Payton said. “Sometimes, I won’t get some of my e-mails for two or three days. A lot of the e-mails I get are from my work in the athletic department and I need them ASAP. Not being able to access them when they’re sent is a definite problem.”However, students are not the only ones affected by the Facebook flood.”There are times during the day when the whole computer system will have to close,” Professor Norma Beth Williamson said. “As we become more dependent on technology, it’s important that we don’t take up too much space on the system.”For some students, SamMail serves as the lifeline between professor and student communication. Many times, the financial aid or registration will also contact students through e-mail.”My roommate had a ‘check your account balance’ e-mail that he didn’t get until a couple of days later and when he finally received it, he didn’t realize he had an outstanding balance,” Payton said.Computer Services noted an instance last month where many e-mails were lost over the course of a weekend, leaving many reports and complaints to be filed the following Monday.”With more and more people signing up for Facebook, the risk is for delayed mail is higher,” Adams said. SHSU has invested in a Microsoft Exchange server to remedy the e-mail buildup, and it is expected to be installed sometime during the next academic semester. There is no deadline for the conversion as finding a time that is convenient poses an issue for Computer Services.”Upgrading isn’t the typical ‘putting in a disk and installing the software’ thing,” Adams said. “It’s a bit more complicated than that. We don’t want to do it at a time that would be inconvenient to the students and teachers but it’s difficult to find a time that fits everyone’s schedule.”Until then, students can be proactive about the SamMail problems by adjusting the privacy settings on their Facebook accounts or switching the notifications to an e-mail address not affiliated with the university.”If you go to the ‘privacy’ menu on Facebook, you can select not to have notifications delivered to your inbox,” Payton said. “I think if everyone does that, the speed of e-mails will definitely pick back up.”Computer Services is expected to begin the first wave of upgrading during spring break to get a head start on the long process.”In the last several years, there has been problems because everyone is downloading music,” Williamson said. “This is another one of those things. We’re got this wonderful machine and this issue with Facebook just one of those side effects.”

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