Oxford Today -- online
Earlier this week three copies of Oxford Today (the Oxford alum magazine) came through the letter box, one each for the husband, daughter and son who have degrees, of different kinds at different levels, from the University of Oxford (cue, I fear, for outrage about elitist closed 'university shop' -- and I apologise and say 'fair cop', and I will discuss this on another occasion).
My first thought was about the waste of money, energy and paper sending three copies of this magazine to three people with the same surname at the same address. I am sure there is somewhere a bit of small print that suggests you 'unsubscribe' in these circumstances, but my family have never spotted it.
That said, I do rather prefer Oxford Today to Cam (the Cambridge equivalent) -- partly because it tells me things I didn't already know.
So I much enjoyed the Ruby Wax interview they printed, and I hadn't spotted before that Stephen Fry was going to be giving lectures about Contemporary Theatre.. and there was the neat little notice about Martin West getting an OM.
But there was also a long article on how up to the minute Oxford now is. It featured a no doubt innocent undergraduate reading English, and her day to day online life. She finds an out of print book via "m.ox.ac.uk (rather than "scouring the card catalogues"), and the app. gives her a map to show her how to get to the library concerned (presumably it was the Bodleian, and hardly rocket science to think that, as a copyright library, it might hold that out of print book??).
She then picks up her last assignment from her "virtual pigeon hole" and was pleased to see "that the automatic plagiarism report gave her full marks for her use of source citation", But before she could think about that, she had had a twitter message from @OxfordExams to say her exam results were ready to collect online.. while her tutor had sent her a party invitation on Facebook (oh, and dont lets forget the Facebook revision group chatroom that has been so helpful).
Now I am not saying this is a bad thing (and I am as addicted to social media as much as the average 18 year old). But crikey.. I couldn't help thinking that an evening face to face down the local pub might have been better than a Facebook revision group, and that maybe a nce little invitation in her REAL pigeon hole might have been an even better invitation to a party.
And I also couldnt help thinking why a university as computer literate as Osford claims to be could work out that it was sending three copies of its alum magazine to three people with the same surname at the same address.