Tech woes provoke thought

Review Editorial Board

One week without e-mail has seemingly sent the Washburn campus back into the stone age. Phrases such as “I feel so lost” and “What am I supposed to do without email” can be heard around any corner on campus. And it’s not just the students talking; even teachers are perplexed as to how they are to communicate with their classes. This brief period of non-connectivity really makes one sit back and survey how we communicate with others.

As a society, we are almost completely dependent on instantaneous communications. With a slew of instant messengers, cell phones and text messaging, it is relatively simple to get a hold of whomever you want whenever you want. And with even more advanced technology like BlackBerrys and iPhones, one doesn’t even have to wait to be at a computer to check or send e-mail.

It seems as though the further we progress technologically, the more dependent we become on said advances. As children of the digital age, it is hard to understand what it was like to live without all the technology that we have now. How did you write a paper without a computer? How did you research that paper?

Although some say it is a fault on the part of humanity, we don’t think that co-dependency on technology is necessarily a bad thing. There is an apparent difference in the amount that can be done with technology. Instead of handwriting a one page paper for a class, we type out a four-page paper in no time, and the same paper has many more sources from a wider variety to begin with. With the rise of new technologies comes the expectation that we will adapt and utilize them in a manner that exceeds our current production and quality. We are so dependent on technology because we expect more, tackle more and have a much wider web of contacts.

On the other hand, it is easy to see the nostalgia that comes with remembering the pre-Internet days when a sticky note on the fridge passed along a message that a roommate was out and would be back around 10 o’clock. The advancement of technology has seemingly erased a few etiquette rules that need to be reinstated, such as hand-writing a thank-you note or dropping a letter in the mailbox to a friend you haven’t seen in a while.

Who knows? Maybe something good will come out of the disastrous e-mail problems that have been plaguing campus. Perhaps we will learn to appreciate the instant gratification that comes with a ringing cell-phone or recognize the convenience of sending a classmate a text message about tomorrow’s homework assignment. And maybe, just maybe, we will pick up on the basics that were once sufficient enough to maintain communications between individuals, such as a coherent voice message or a handwritten note left in a professor’s mailbox.

(Note: The views expressed in the Review’s View are those of the Washburn Review editorial board, and not necessarily the views of Washburn University.)