1 ! I ll ll \I \ l I I i ! ! ! f i I; I ! ! j I' I: 1 i I' I OP/ED CitllltCorhlensis • May 18, 2000 · Page 11 . , . Opinio~s & l3£h1orials--------------- Technology Can Not Replace Personal Contact by Brooke M. Barylick Editor-in-Chief Emerita The Internet is a valu.able re- source for modern communications. Many have grown dependent upon it in their daily lives. Its ease of use, ever increasing speed, the range of information available and the im- proving accessibility ens~ue that the Internet will continue to play an integral role in our lives. Because of the developn1ent and expansiotl of the Internet teclmol- ogy. communications between people all over the world can be conducted with the click of a but- ton. Through innovative technolo- gies, we are afforded quick and easy access to global communications. The almost instantaneous connec- tion between computers facilitates a rapid transfer of ideas, which leads to a more efficient method of both personal and professional communication. This system of communication is ideal for minor issues, such as spe- cific details about a meeting time and location. E-mail is also an effi- cient method of informing recipients about upcoming events, factual in- formation and simple items that do not require much detailed explana- tion. The Internet also facilitates in- formation gathering. The World Wide W ebplaces an infinite amount of information at the fingertips of the user. Many are able to obtain complex data and facts quickly and efficiently because of its rapid pace and ease. In addition. one can lo- cate data on all topics. ranging from books to research and colleges to countries through search engines. With minimal effort, one will en- counter substantial amou11ts of data on the subject that he or she is researching. Because of the Internet, people can obtain current information very quickly. Before these pro- grams engulfed our society, we had to wait for the next news broadcast or the next morning's newspaper before we could up- date ourselves on current events, such as news, weather and sports. Now, we ca:n learn about breaking news almost instantaneously. For example, we can watch Con- gress debate issues by logging onto the C-Span Web site. Fur- thermore, we can tune into the Web sites of local television sta- tions to discover the regional news and we can also search for infor- mation on regions outside of our own. With all of the benefits that the Internet provides, one might think that it is flawless. Although I have only mentioned some of the ben- eficial aspects of the Internet, the problems that the Internet craze has already caused have the po- tential of developing into more se- rious issues in upcoming years. To begin, although the Internet boasts quick and easy access to infinite amounts of information, various obstacles arise for some who try to utilize this database. Many people are not afforded the luxury of using the Internet be- cause they do not have access to a computer or they are unsure of how to operate it. Because the Internet is not a universal com- modity, many feel inferior to those who enjoy its benefits. Another problem that arises from this technology deals with the increaseoflntemet communi- cations. The Internet is not iaeal for situations that require explanations of complex ideas because it does not allow for interactive communi- cation between the parties that are exchanging the information. Con- versations dea 1 ing with cr!11plicated ideas sometimes need to alter their tone or wording to express the ideas clearly and accurately. Thiscannot be done through a computer. Ideas are best expressed in person where each individual involved can more accurately gauge the reactions of those involved. Despite the speed and efficiency of the Internet, it can- not replace face to face conversa- tion. As mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of the Internet is the end- less supply of information that it offers. Unfortunately, there is no regulation of such information. Anyone can establish a Web site, which leads to questionable con- tent and ideas on the Internet. Al- though I support freedom of speech, some of these ideas and concepts extend too far and pro- vide false information. Those who deny the existence of tragic events, such as the Holocaust, or those who publish hate messages, such as anti-homosexual propaganda, do not deserve space on the Internet. This information is hurtful and with- out purpose. I disagree with those who argue that it is freedom of speech. Another issue with the Internet deals with its readily accessible nature. As mentioned earlier, the Internet provides a wide range of information and, as explained in the previous paragraph, this is n()t regu- lated. Children have the ability to log on to the Internet and find in- formation about sex, pornography Student Voices Not Heard Dear Editor. I have been coming to Union all my life. Begmning with my stepfa- ther. class of '72. who brought us to reunion picnics and lacrosse game~. to \'isiting my brother. class of· 00. I have always loved Union, and v. hen[ began to look into all it had to offer as a perspective. the perfect picture I had of the school remained untarnished. Union had it alL every option and opportunity I could think of. and topping it all off. an administration which seemed willing to work with the students. It is two years later. As a sopho- more I will still say that I love Union, but will also say that I have become shockingly aware of how well the school is at painting the perfect pic- ture I fell in love with. Painting a perfect picture that does not exist. There have been the little things that I just wasn't expecting such as dinner not being served past seven and how hot the dorms could get with no possible way to cool them off. But these are just things we all complain about and at the same time accepted because they aren't that big of a deal. There will always be those things we just have to ac- cept in life. But this past week I was shocked and let down at the proposition the school gave my sorority, Tri-Delta. Next fall we have eleven members going on a term abroad. This means that we have that many open beds in our house. The schoo 1 allows for 10% le- niency in filling the house which means that we would have IO fill at least five of the eleven open beds. So our choices were to make next years seniors fill the spots, let the school fill them with non- members of Tri-Delt, or to pay $5000 the cost minus board fees for those beds) in order to have those beds remain open and have more singles in the falL Seeing as all of the senior had signed expen- sive leases to live off campus back in the fall, making them move back was not an option. Allowing Union to fill the ro6ms was not something we wanted to do either. So we decided that we would come together and raise the money in order to keep the rooms open. Union has admitted that this situ- ation is purely financial, and the dorms need to be full next year. We have been willing to work with the school, and are able to fill our house, but did not expect that such a large number of members would be going away next fall. No con- sideration has been given to the fact that the house will be full win- ter and spring terms. And more than that we were completely un- aware of these stipulations and complications until this past week. We were all of a sudden thrown into the possibility o floosing our house if we could not find a solution. a house we worked very hard to get back. Our meeting to discuss the situation was stressfuL hut \Ve de- cided that we would come together as a house. as students with no other choice but to bow down to the administration, and pay the money. Five thousand dollars. We raised the money in four days. We were fortunate enough to pull it off. But we never should have had to. We were not asking for special treat- ment because we are greek, only did we think that the school would take our situation into consideration. The situation being that for fall term we would have empty spots be- cause of term abroad. We were wrong though. And I was wrong when I though I was coming to a school where the administration and the students worked together and compromised. We compro- mised sure, compromised five thou- sand dollars. And for all the listen- ing to the students that Union does, I am left questioning whether or not they choose to hear what we say. -Jesse Welsh & the members ofTri-Delta and hate groups. Although some regulatory softv,:are exists, it is ex- pensive and contains flaws that allow children to by-pass its at- tempt at censorship. Children should not have access to such information. My final dissatisfaction with the Internet stems from the de- pendence on it that has emerged. Because of the ease of writing E- mails, many have reduced their direct personal communication with friends and co-workers. For instance. phone conversations between my friends and I have decreased significantly. This is apparent even on Union's cam- pus. We do not have to call long distance to speak with friends, yet we still send E-mail rather than call. Businesses also rely on the Internet as a primaty source of communication. This detracts from the personal aspect of the work place and it also creates a detached atmosphere in which to conduct business. Through my college :years, I have learned that personal con- tact with both professors and peers is essential to the educa- tion process. Conversations with these people have enli£htened my years here, which I assume is tme for many of you. Without con- versing with my professors, my education would have lacked an essential aspect of the learning process, which is explaining my ideas and defending my positions on issues. Furthermore, because of deep and complex conversations I have developed strong friendships that will last the rest of my life. The countless hours spent dis- cussing relationshtps. wurses. fu- ture plans and life's problems would not have been as meaningful If they were conducted over E-ma1l. I would not have known nearly as much about my friends if! had only conununicated with them through a computer screen. The Internet provides unmatchablc amounts of informat1on. It has facilitated glo- bal and national commmlll:ation. This superhigh\vay of informal! on should not, however. become our primary source of interaction \\ 1th friends and co-workers. \V e should limit the extension of the Internet so that we can still soc1alize w1th others. Human interaction is a phe- nomenon that we should all take advantage of as often as po~s1ble because impromptu eotwersatlons can be some ofthe most memorable ones we have. I support the continued devd- opment ofboth technology and the Internet. I hope that it factlitates the future of global communications and commerce, but I do not want it to dictate our relationships. I have learned through my time at Union College that relationships \\ ith friends, professors and family are essential to growth and maturatiOn. Although I \aluethe benefits the Internet haYe pro\ided us. I fear that this phenomenon will escalate to situations that v;ill severely cur- tail personal interaction to a level that is practically non-existent. I would hate to see it reach the pomt where our children and granckhil- dren sit in front of a computer in- stead of attending classes with their peers. Our children should not hL' stripped of their communication and interaction with other people and neither should we. QI.on.cnrbi~nsis Tlle Student Newspaper of Union College Sillce 1877 Schenectady's Oldest Newspaper http://concordy.union.edu Michael S.l\I~Guire- Katrina L. Tcntor EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Mary Felton Kristen Zadourian NEWS EDITORS Gina L. Campanella OPINIONS EDITOR Rachel M. Bukowski SPORTS EDITOR DanCenti A &£EDITOR Kaelyn South PROMOTIONAL MAlVA GER Sloan Miller Aaron Seliger PHOTO EDITORS Jason Putorti WEBMASTER Jessica B. Zuehlke FEATURES EDITOR Sloan E. Miller .\'CIENCE ~~ Tt.'C '11 f~Df !OR Stephen :'<iciUcth IVORLD NEWS EDITOR Brooke M. Ban:lick COPYED!TOR. Eugene D. Schultz DISTRIBL'TION MANAGER David C. Brooks, Jr. Elizabeth Daigle ADVERTISEMENT COORDINATORS Erika Mandni EDiTORIAL CARTOONIST Scott Scullion FACULTY ADVISOR PHOTOGRAPHERS. Calvert Crary, Aaron D' Addario, Elizabeth Daigle. Megann Denefrio, Katie James, Dave Meguerdichian, Jerem~ Messler. Alex Militello, Rebec£a Walsh. STAFF: Matt Aronowitz, Steve Ayers, D.J. Book, Jessica Brearton, Beth Brogan, Rachel Burke, Clare Canal, Michaela Cautela, Meridith Chace, Pllilip Cho, Laura Cotton, Jim DeWan, Kristina Dorne, Steve Eichfeld, Frank Filiciotto, Stepllen Fbtherty, Hannal1 Gaw, David Gruner, Deric Harrington, Brian Kern, Cory Kiefer, Dn Kirsch, Allyson Kohlntann. Alexandra Lohse, Dave Martin, Alex Militello, fa him N oor, Kayla O'Brien, Jeff Silver, Jessica Stephens, Lee Stevens, Brian Terlinsky. Sanskriti Thakur, Cllarles Tuthill, Vinod Voleti, Patrick Wendell, Luke Wochensky.