It's good to see that the UW has taken seriously the lessons from the VT murders. An armed robbery occurred this morning near campus. For the second time this week a campus wide email went out, and buildings near the last known/suspected location of the suspect were on lockdown. He's now been captured.
Interestingly the University also used facebook to notify students about the threats. Already some students are checking their facebook more frequently than their email, hence the UW's unusual ad. (If only facebook had an email plugin/widget they could do both at the same time.) Facebook has lots of uses, but I think this is the first (and now second) use by a University for emergency announcements. It was pretty cheap too; apparently only costing the university a single C-note.
In fact when I set up my course blog a close 2nd choice was to set up a facebook page for the course. The advantage would have been that students could join the group and then always have that page linked to from their profile pages... For some reason students are less diligent about bookmarking pages. Ultimately I didn't want to coerce students into joining facebook, so I went with the blog.
Also, update on that last incident: it turns out the poor guy probably wasn't even in Madison. They just arrested him in California. His story is really sad; sexual abuse, a ridiculous number of foster homes, drug use, and now this. There's no easy answers there.