August 30, 2006

Internet, you win.

The internet: Widely discussed among the giddy high school students who were the first around me to use, and sometimes abuse, online technology. The main thing i remember from high school was all of the attention that was given to instant messenger. "I IMed her today and she said...." IMed? What does that mean? I remember thinking to myself that what these people were discussing was something that seemed like a futuristic stretch. Surely you couldn't just open a box and type to someone. It couldn't really be that simple. Any other form of communication was never quite so quick or efficient. The mail takes a few days to reach its destination and since it was the only form of communication I had really encountered, other than the telephone of course, I was skeptical of this supposed instant form of speaking...typing if you'd rather.
Despite the fact that cell phones and the internet were being introduced at a growth period in my life, I didn't grow with the technology. My parents didn't want a computer; they didn't feel the need to have something like that in our house. We also had no cell phones and no answering machine. The rest of our town, the rest of the world, was growing right along with the advanced capabilities of technology and I was stuck in a communication rut. Seton Hill University, higher education in general, has changed all of that. I was told i would get a computer when i went to college, and I did. When I started freshman year, I was aware of AIM and other aspects of the internet but I wasn't familiar with them in the least. I wasn't even sure how to download Instant Messenger onto my computer.
Once given a taste of the technology that I had been forcibly kept from, i began to spiral into a world of computer related topics and tasks. I was a member of literally, the first class to have blogs. I didn't even know what weblog was or what exactly I was supposed to do with my first official website. I began to use email, I became familiar with google, I understood what it did and what was meant when people talked about a "search engine" and I understood why google was placed into this category. I realized that I had the capability to share my writing with so many people if I were willing to do so by participating and bravely putting my thoughts out on my blog.
What was once something that was unknown territory to me has now become a main tool for all of my classes and a one of my main sources of communication with people that I rarely see, or even those that I see daily. I have even met new people through the internet, specifically through my blog. I had written an entry about Cedar Point and I had someone I didn't know comment on it and then use it on their own personal website without giving any credit to me. This person however, had also left me with, go figure, their screenname and email address in case i was interested in talking to them. I kindly asked them why they had not credited me with my work, and how they had even seen it. He, Jeff, had been searching for Cedar Point on google and my blog entry was one of the hits that came up. Although we have never met in person, Jeff eventually explained why he had not credited me, proceeded to credit me, and we still occasionally talk.
Any sort of writing or participation in anything now a days is going to end up being able to be viewed by others, mainly via the internet. When googling myself, the first thing that comes up is something that i actually wrote, a flash fiction piece called "Innocence". Several of the other things were related to me, but most of the hits weren't. I think i may have died previously, according to a certain google hit. I did find something interesting though, a site where you could find all the Rupert females. And I also found out that there was a link to the Hunter S. Thompson radio play I did with my Topics in Culture Wars class. I didn't even realize that the play was still available to listen to, nor did i expect to find a link to it connected with my name when searching google.
It doesn't seem like privacy is much of an issue with people anymore considering the wide array of information that can be found out about someone by simply typing their name into a search engine. It is also interesting to think about how the internet has come to the point where it is a main tool for most of my classes. In this technology war, i do believe the internet is the conqueror.

Posted by Lori Rupert at August 30, 2006 10:33 AM
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