Summer is over and college students are making their way back to campus.
By: Stephanie Espina
Evan Williams went to “Burn the Floor” last night and it was fantastic. David Ortiz is eating lunch with a headache at work. Lance Armstrong made it to Paris and thinks it will be good to spend time on some old training roads. Most internet users have heard of Facebook and Myspace, but Twitter seems to be making a name for itself in the social networking realm. It answers a simple, tempting and ambiguous question: “What are you doing?”
Combining the elements of a typical social networking site and utilizing mobile technology as its main source of distribution, Twitter has made it possible for people to directly communicate with many friends at the same time. Just how many friends? A ton.
“Everyone uses the service differently, which is one of the reasons it’s become so popular,” says technology blogger and Twitter user Ed Kohler in a recent blog. “Over time, you’ll figure out who’s using Twitter in a way that’s interesting to you,” he says. One of the beauties of Twitter is that you can schedule “off hours” so your phone or inbox of choice is not too overwhelmed with incoming status updates. “This is useful if you have friends who like to do some drinking and Twittering late into the night, or if you have friends in different time zones,” says Kohler.
Once you are a registered user on Twitter.com, you are given the option to “follow” interesting strangers, companies, media outlets, celebrities or personal friends. Once you have established which profiles you would like to receive updates from, you will then choose the method in which you would like to receive that information. For the not-so-text-savvy, this might be a good way to start learning more about mobile updates and making use of the power of texting. Once you have an update you would like to share, text the Twitter site by texting the number “40404.” Keep in mind that the body of the message cannot exceed 140 characters and that Twitter will broadcast to all of those lovely “followers” of yours. If you would rather not receive text updates and if you do not have a big text plan you can send updates traditionally through the Twitter website or via instant message services like AIM or Google Talk.
You can even follow Twitter co-founder Evan Williams. In a recent TedTalks video podcast, Williams spoke about the importance of using a social tool like Twitter. “The fundamental idea is Twitter lets people share moments of their lives whenever they want…by sharing these moments as they’re happening it lets people feel more connected and in touch despite distance and real time,” he said. What the creators didn’t anticipated according to Williams, were the additional uses that evolved from this particular system. “It seems like when you give people easier ways to share information, more good things happen.”
You will be notified whenever the people you are following are sending a Twitter update. You can also subscribe to other Twitter user’s updates by clicking the “ADD” link on their profile page. If you choose this option, this does not mean they can receive your updates just because you interested in them. Twitter is less about posting or tagging pictures an more about simply updating users on what other users are doing or experiencing on a daily basis. The content you wish to provide can be informative, strategic in guiding your Twitter followers to particular action or realization or it can merely serve as an expressive outlet after an eventful day.
Additionally, if you log onto “Summize.com” you are able to search any event, issue or topic and see who is there sending a “tweet” about it on Twitter.
“I can see how an outlet like Twitter can be useful for all kinds of people,” said Harriman resident and father of two, David Ortiz. “I get updates from the New York Times [and] the New York Yankees but I also follow faithful bloggers who use twitter to increase their fan base,” he said. “If you like fast communication, getting updates on information you are interested in and promoting yourself or ideas you think other people should know about, then there is no doubt Twitter is for you.”
In the new age of media communication, younger generations have become so technologically savvy that the preferred method of keeping in contact with friends is through the Internet as opposed to face to face contact.
Although this may seem like a step forward (and in an era where instantaneous communication is vital, it can be) in breaking the distance barrier, I feel as though the personal side of interaction is getting lost in the midst of “OMGs” and “ROFLs.”
According to a Fuser study in 2007, “84 percent of college-aged users spend seven or more hours per week on the Internet managing their personal communications.” Also, 92 percent of college-aged users 18-21 years old also have two or more e-mail accounts while also maintaining at least one social networking account, such as Facebook.
This is a hefty amount of online chatting and interaction. Online communication, in my opinion, sacrifices authenticity and personality for convenience. It’s easy to chat online with several friends at once or with people that are far away, but more often than not, messages are misunderstood or misread, causing unnecessary drama.
Instant messages can easily be taken seriously even though they were meant to be sarcastic, or something entirely differently can be interpreted than what the original message had intended. From personal experience, I have fallen victim to sending the wrong message to someone that wasn’t supposed to see such content. I can reassure you that trying to fix online mix-ups is definitely not the most fun thing to do.
Online interaction also lacks the personal touch of communicating with someone face to face. The nonverbal cues are absent on Facebook chat and AIM (though this problem is irrelevant to Skype). Real-life conversations with others also allow for time to gather thoughts more sufficiently and choose words more wisely than chatting online.
Again, I nominate myself the worst online talker because I am that person that types whatever thought comes to mind, good or bad. My housemates are now my IM and text “editors” to keep me in check. Sometimes what someone would normally say to another in person and online can be completely different. The Internet, due to its instantaneous nature, can remove the filter for what someone would usually keep to himself or herself.
Online communication can be either a wonderful way to keep in touch with family and friends that are hundreds of miles away, yet can also be detrimental to relationships if messages are interpreted incorrectly. So just remember, think before you type.
Melodious sounds resonated through the corridor, the sounds emanating from a small dimly lit room tucked away in Marist Colleges Music department.In the room stood 16 members huddled around a piano singing loudly with emotion and conviction.At the center of the music was David Burns, Marist Colleges Gospel Choir director.
“Music has been a part of my life since I was two years old,” Burns said.“My Parents told me I liked music and I’ve been playing the piano ever since.”
David came to Marist College after hearing about the job from a friend.Choir Director Sarah Williams realized something special about David right away.“When David first came to Marist I threw him in to teach Chamber Choir and told him to make it better.He put a lot of meaning into the song.”
Religion is also an integral part of David’s life and incorporates it in his work every day.
“After every rehearsal we pray, making us aware that we are not just singing a song but that each song has its own meaning,” said Gospel Choir member Aforme Agawu-Kakraba
Music has always been a part of David‘s life but there was a time when it looked like he would never play the piano again.
Early in college David was diagnosed with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.According to Webmd.com “Carpal tunnel syndrome causes pain, tingling, and numbness in your hand from pressure on the median nerve in your wrist.”
“Sometimes the pain was so bad I couldn’t feed myself,” David said.
The pain finally caught up with David and he was faced with a choice.“I had to either undergo surgery or end my piano career,” David said.
The choice was easy for David choosing the risky surgery despite the chance that it would not ease his pain.
The surgery was a success but the victory was without its negatives.“I had to relearn how to play the piano after years of dedication and commitment.”David relearned playing the piano using the Russian technique, a technique used to minimize strain on the wrists.
David is now at full strength and has not felt pain since the surgery.Despite the setback David did not let the possibility of never playing again get in the way of Music.
“Music is my passion. I love teaching and sharing with students, you also learn as well,” David said.
Maintaining relationships often proves to be a not-so-easy task, especially when you are deprived of actually seeing your significant other in his or her flesh and blood.
Most people avoid long distance relationships like the plague and firmly believe that eventually, it will not end up working out. Thanks to the advances made in real time video technology, couples are able to condense long distances and communicate through the Internet using various video software including Skype, which provides free online calls, video chats and instant messaging, iChat, which is a software component of Apple Mac computers, integrating real time video chat into instant messaging software.
“I thought that I would ever be able to keep up my relationship with Jason,” said 22-year-old Kara Pirozzi of Long Island University. “We Skype all the time and it gives you the sense that you are with one another because unlike chatting or sending an e-mail, you can see their reactions, hear their voice and literally show them everyday things you would want to normally share with them.”
Pirozzi has been dating Jason Fema, 25, for a year and seven months crediting a mutual friend for setting them up at a wedding. Fema resides and works full-time in San Francisco, California.
“I went to California to visit him for a week, and by the time I had to go back home, we both knew that we wanted to take the next step and continue seeing each other,” said Pirozzi. “I think we were both at a point in our lives where we were ready to settle down.”
With graduation around the corner, Pirozzi says as much as the Internet has helped her relationship, she would like to see him in “flesh and bone” as much as possible.
“A huge part of me is always yearning to see him and I think that as great as technology is, it really can’t replace human affection,” says Pirozzi. “I would recommend video-chat programs, sure, but that can only last so long.”
Pirozzi’s future plans include relocating to San Francisco to pursue a full-time job, and move in with Fema. After her graduation from Long Island University, Pirozzi will also be graduating from the online world of video chatting.
“I can’t wait to start this new chapter in our lives, and I can’t wait to not have to rely on a computer to see the one person I want to see the most.”
When married couples like the Warners and the Shumways answer the inevitable question of how they first met, they aren’t surprised at people’s initial reactions: A wide-eyed expression that changes from shock to curious fascination. The couple, like 40 million other Americans in search of love, “logged on” never bearing the thought that they would ultimately find their soulmate.
According to NBC Nightly News, in 2006 online dating sites generated a whopping $768 million in revenue, evidence that many people are riding the new wave of modern dating. It’s estimated that this figure will nearly double at $1.4 million by 2010.
“For me, chatting online was an outlet to meet new people,” says Montana native, Lora Warner. “I lived in a small town and by talking online I could meet a lot of different people and I loved hearing different people’s stories.”
Lora and Justin Warner met ten years ago through Yahoo Chat, then, one of the few dating sites available on the Internet. After one year of chatting, e-mails, and eventually phone calls they finally decided to meet.
“He was in Chicago for a class trip and went out to St. Louis to visit his brother and I,” said Warner. “Then I went to see him in New York a few months later. When we did meet it was very comfortable because we knew each other so well.”
The Warners will be married six years this May and are the proud parents of a 1-year-old boy named Jacob.
“Some people who ‘knock’ online dating might not need it,” says Warner. “It has to be right for the person and they have to have the right expectations.”
With a bulk of the media spotlight resting on the deception or dangers of online dating and primetime television shows like Dateline NBC’s “How To Catch a Predator,” for the skeptical seeker, online dating doesn’t seem so appetizing. People like 30-year-old Justin Shumway roll their eyes at the thought.
“Some people are afraid they’re going to meet a creep,” says Shumway. “What they don’t understand is you can meet a creep anywhere.”
Justin and Ananda Shumway of Wappingers Falls, New York found each other on a popular online dating resource, Match.com,waiting just three weeks to meet in person and 22 months to tie the knot. The two married in October of 2008 and can say that they’ve found happiness as a result of online dating.
“I didn’t need to be brave and walk up to her,” said Shumway. “It was comfortable knowing she was there for the same reason.”
As for married life, Shumway describes it to be “great”.
Warner says, “Meeting online gave us our start, but like any relationship it takes work and we have grown together over time.”
“I mean [there are] ups and downs, but what couple doesn’t [have that]?…I love my wife more every day.”
A media firestorm erupted last week after the leak of a proposed internet blacklist by the Australian government.The blacklist would block access to the sites Internet Service Providers or ISP’s, rendering the sites inaccessible by Australian citizens.The blacklist includes over 2,400 websites, mostly consisting of sites such as child pornography and online gambling.
The controversy surrounding the list centered on the inclusion of seemingly innocent sites such as a dentist’s website, and a pet care website.Many critics also accused the list of being politically skewed.According to Time.com, sites advocating legal euthanasia, Satanism and Christianity were also on the list.
The news of the proposed blacklist was leaked by the website Wikileaks.org. The list is the product of the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the governmental body that regulates all Australian media.
Australia's Prime Minister of Communication Stephen Conroy
The ACMA is overseen by Australia’s Prime Minister of Communication Stephen Conroy, who has maintained that the leak will not stop the government from implanting the proposed blacklist.
Despite the proposed blacklist taking place in a country almost 10,000 miles away the consequences of a government proposed blacklist has startled some Marist Students.
“A blacklist is against anyone’s rightsif someone’s site is blocked because someone in an administration doesn’t like a particular political issue, they are infringing on our freedom of speech,” Marist sophomore Cynthia Dagenais said.
Other Marist students feel the blacklist protects people from the dangers of the internet.“It would be great if the sites could be blocked because that way people would not be exposed to different things,” Marist sophomore Laura Osberg said.
The proposed blacklist also raises questions about Marist’s non-restrictive internet policy.
“For a college, anything that is illegal or any downloadable content should be blocked,” Marist junior Bobby Reyes said.
Some students at Marist do agree with the Marist’s decision not to block access to any website including the website juicycampus.com which was a main point of controversy last semester.
“I don’t think Marist should block these websites because it appears as if there is a hidden agenda. Marist can’t tell us that euthanasia is completely wrong, or that we can’t see sites on Satanism, etc.If you block one site, other sites might be blocked too,” Dagenais said.
Marist College took the next step towards its goal of having an environmentally conscious campus last month when they announced their plans to implement a self sustainable house in Foy next year.This house is part of the theme housing across campus and will group people together that want to live in an environmentally conscious house.
Seniors, juniors and sophomores are eligible to live in the house, upon request and submission of an essay.According to the co-chair of the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee Steve Sansola, the essay must include your reasons for wanting to live in the house.
According to Sansola, the students will do anything they can to minimize their carbon footprint including using reusable bags while food shopping, using minimal electricity and by practicing water saving techniques.
Foy is the first in many planned self sustained buildings.The New Hancock Center which will open in fall of 2010 is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Compliant, an accolade given out by the United State s Green Building Council, to recognize environmentally friendly buildings.
Self sustainable buildings are just one of the steps Marist has taken towards furthering their environmental awareness.The creation of these buildings was headed by the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee, which was created in 2007 by Dean Murray in an effort to create a greener campus.
Marist is also trying to reduce their strain on the environment through other means.The Information Technology department has made the change from regular ink cartridges to soy ink cartridges, reducing the amount of waste put into the environment.Campus Dining is contributing to Marist’s green revolution by offering zero waste catering which deposits the waste in compost piles.
These recent efforts to “go green” have been noticed by the Marist community.
“I think it’s great that we are going green,” Sophomore Patrick Dillion said.“It’s good to use recyclables especially in this time of global warming.”
Despite Marist’s recent efforts, some students feel that Marist should have started a green revolution earlier.
“Marist should have started sooner.They just built all this new housing and none of it was environmentally friendly, it was a waste,” Sophomore Dana Nichols said.
Others feel now was the perfect time to start.
“Right now it’s a perfect storm of higher costs and a shortage of energy,” said Sansola. “We are also more aware of eco-destruction.In many ways I think people have begun to change their lifestyle more and more since the fall of the economy.”
Despite their difference in opinion, they both acknowledge the importance going green has.
“It’s important to live this way so we can leave Planet Earth for those who follow us,” Sansola said.