Opinion

“Hotcakes69” on the joy of Internet anonymity

Communication was once an art, requiring much practice and experience to perfect. We’ve carelessly downgraded it to a common side-effect involved in the pursuit of our motives and personal agendas. Thus are the times of high-speed Internet technology.
The old excuse that “the dog ate my homework” has been substituted with “the server was down.” What is it with this Internet infatuation? And could it be remotely possible that all our new technological advancements aren’t necessarily for the best? Do we even know how to communicate like people anymore, when not hidden behind the 32 bit graphics of our personal computers in the security and comfort of our own living rooms?
It seems “man’s best friend”, the lap dog, has been replaced by “man’s best friend” – the laptop. Our emotions only have to be as deep as little yellow smiley faces and we can lol even if when we’re not smiling. Is this new frontier of business and personal communication really better than the traditional phone call or face-to-face meeting? Is the intrinsic value of human interaction being completely eliminated by the sterile simplicity of high-speed Internet access?
It certainly feels a lot safer to spill your guts to a sympathetic stranger in a chat room, someone who only knows you as “hotcakes69” and who won’t see you in class or at work tomorrow morning, but think about what these innovations mean for society and the sentiment involved in interpersonal communication in its most traditional sense. What happens when the lines of communication become so homogenized that they begin to blur together? Will we accidentally slip into the nonchalant dialect so prevalent and acceptable in email correspondence?
Increased reliance on Internet communication will ultimately lead to the decrease and consequent extinction of interpersonal skills as we once knew them to be. I worked in an office this summer where my manager would actually email directions to us – from three desks down! We’re becoming so attached to the shelter provided by this one-sided communication that we’re forgetting how to communicate without it. In email, you can type and delete until you write the perfect response to a future employer – on the phone or in person, that luxury doesn’t exist. There is no spell check for bad grammar in a job interview. Not to mention, that as you’re reveling in the ability to find anyone, anytime, anywhere, they can also find you. Enough said. I’ll have my server contact your server.
Whitney W. Friedrich is a senior.

November 8, 2002

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