The Griffin Goes Back: What do you mean you’re not online?

by Darby Ratliff

Opinion Editor

This article is part of The Griffin Goes Back, which is a series dedicated to considering Opinion (once called “Viewpoint”) articles from years past and interpreting the same subject now. Ultimately, the goal of this series is to consider the many ways in which either our campus or our culture has changed in the last several decades. We’re sure it’ll contain some interesting anachronisms.  The original article with the same name is from March 29, 1996 by Steven Pierpaoli.

Some people are still not online, even nearly twenty years after Mr. Pierpaoli tried to share his email with his classmates. However, every Canisius student is given an email address once accepted to the College, one that will work forever (not actually that long but pretty long). Professors consistently remind their students to check their emails for updates regarding class cancellations and assignments, and the Undergraduate Student Association clearly wants to see students reading the weekly USA email. Some students, however, rarely open up their @canisius.edu address, except when absolutey necessary.

I was two years old when my predecessor wrote his article (though, fun bit of Griffin history: “Opinion” was called “Viewpoints”). I certainly didn’t have an email address, but I also undoubtedly was part of the wave of technology that washed over my generation. I’ve had a cell phone since I was thirteen, and my little sister since she was ten. It’s amazing to see the ways in which cellphones have come into our daily lives. Perhaps Mr. Pierpaoli would be even more surprised to see that  not only are Internet terminals (though obviously no one refers to them as such anymore) just as common as cellphones, but one can be the terminal for the other.

Yet, in this globalized world, not everyone has access to the Internet regularly. Third world countries lack basic amenities, and Wi-Fi has not made that list (yet). On that point, Mr. Pierpaoli is indeed correct: the world is not completely connected. However, the Internet is very mainstream. It just has yet to reach everyone.

The Internet has become the quickest way to share information, and it’s been used as a means of discussion and the spread of information. Arguments are waged daily over different viewpoints (if this was not apparent over the controversy with the Griffin statue and the Syrian refugees), and it’s even been adapted into a series of social constructs, with read receipts indicating that someone is probably ignoring you or a community of ‘likes’ tallying up how popular you are. Is this productive?

The 1996 article contends that the Internet is a luxury, and I think that we forget that it is. I think that we’ve taken for granted a lot of our technology and the good it can be used for, particularly beyond social media. Facebook, Twitter, and the ‘Gram have (unfortunately) trumped the Library of Congress, The New York Times, and even The Buffalo News (amongst Buffalonians) in the eyes of many millennials.

We’re a wide old world now, and yet, somehow we’re sometimes narrowly focused. However, it can’t be authentically be worldwide until all have access. Let’s not forget them, yes?

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