Convocation speaker pushes ‘think before you click’ mindset

Stanford professor Dr. Elias Aboujaoude addresses the audience at the new student convocation on Friday. He discussed how the Internet can affect personality.  Hadley Jordan // Contributing Photographer 

Elias Aboujaoude asked a crowd of incoming freshmen at the new student convocation if they were familiar with “F?” – the text message equivalent of “are we still friends?”

Freshmen were dumbfounded.

Aboujaoude, a psychiatrist and associate clinical professor at Stanford University, told the crowd he received a text message from a younger relative after an argument they had.

In his lecture, Aboujaoude used the anecdote as an example of “e-language,” the language that most people use to communicate in the virtual world.

He explained that there is a draw to text message vocabulary like “F?” because it allows users to express complex feelings much more concisely, or what he called “regression” in his speech.

Aboujauode believes that this regression is inherent to technologies, like the Internet, by comparing a person’s interaction in the online world to the Freudian concept of the id, the most primal state of human personality.

To describe this concept, Aboujauode coined the term, “the dark side.”

“It takes more effort to do the right thing because it is difficult to self-police online,” he said in his address.

Author of “Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality,” Aboujaoude expressed that the Internet creates a sort of “e-personality,” which differs from the way a person behaves in reality.

The danger of this virtual freedom causes these liberties to seep into the personality, forming Aboujauode’s theory of e-personalities.

In an interview held before the event, Aboujauode mentioned that he decided to write “Virtually You,” because not enough attention was being given to the dangers of Internet usage.

“There seemed to have been a love affair with the positives,” he said. “I instead wanted to trigger a debate, to think before you click.”

Considering the potential of online overspending and impulsive behavior on social media sites and email, Aboujauode hoped his freshmen audience takes the “think before you click” message to heart.

“They are the generation that does not know life before Google,” he said in an interview. “The Internet can both reward and punish, and one cannot take it for granted.”

In his speech, Aboujauode noted the positive influences technology has on communication today. He advocates for moderation and not total detachment from all technologies.

“We cannot be well-adjusted without email,” he said.

Aboujauode also spoke on the issue of social media privacy. In his speech, he stated that only 20 percent of people actually use privacy settings on Facebook.

As a result, freshman Katherine Lindblad plans to update her Facebook friends list.

“I have over 2,000 friends on Facebook, but I don’t even have 200 close friends,” she said. “It can be a safety hazard for so many to have access to personal information.”

Other freshmen may take more drastic steps.

Ari Mont is considering deactivating his Facebook account altogether.

“I thought the topic was relevant and modern,” Mont said. “It now seems unnecessary to carry extra weight online.”

August 19, 2012


Alexander Gonzalez

Assistant Editor

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Sophomore Bruce Brown announced Thursday that he has declared for the 2018 NBA Draft, the University ...

Lots of Hurricanes notes on a Wednesday, with the second spring practice session set for Thursday mo ...

The battle for the University of Miami quarterback job began in earnest with the start of spring pra ...

A six-pack of UM notes from the first day of spring football on Tuesday: • UM’s first-team offensive ...

UM spring practice begins Tuesday with heavy focus on the quarterback, with N’Kosi Perry and Jarren ...

The Kislak Center opens, aims to advance new forms of scholarship and build bridges across the Unive ...

Novelist Jennine Capó Crucet’s Miami-spiced book talk spotlighted the One Book, One U initiative. ...

As part of the “It’s On Us” initiative, the former vice president urged the UM community to help com ...

Haitian-born Henri Ford’s incredible journey to the deanship of the Miller School of Medicine. ...

Keeping a 30-year tradition, graduate students organize a fun-filled Hurricane Challenge for youngst ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team will seek to continue its perfect record at home Frid ...

Amy Deem and the Hurricanes will travel to Los Angeles to compete at the Power 5 Trail Blazer Challe ...

The University of Miami baseball program will host its third annual 'Bark in the Park' gam ...

Miami sophomore guard declares for NBA Draft but will not hire agent. ...

In search of its fourth series win of the spring, the Miami Hurricanes host No. 24 Virginia from Mar ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.