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Tech shouldn’t trump human interaction
Posted March 24, 2006

Stephanie Duarte
Arts Editor

I recently gave up MySpace for Lent. I recently got sucked into the iPod scene thanks to my new nano. I just read an article in the New York Times about a woman who shopped for her sperm donor on the Internet and is now happily pregnant without the need of a relationship or husband. What do these three things have in common?

The Internet and our electronic-crazed society in general is quickly making us all more distant from each other. One night, I came home exhausted but determined to accomplish a short list of to-do items. I threw on my pj’s, booted my laptop and logged onto MySpace. Mistake No. 1.

When I was first sucked into the MySpace cult, I thought it was great. I found friends I hadn’t seen since high school and enjoyed browsing through their profiles, seeing what they were up to and generally being nosy. And while it has been a great way to reconnect with old friends, I’ve found that I use it in lieu of calling or meeting with closer friends.

Instead of calling someone to get together, we’ll leave each other comments on MySpace. It’s a convenience factor, I think. We can answer these messages whenever we want. There’s no urgent obligation.

It’s funny because one of the reasons cell phones became so popular was because they are so convenient. Because all of us busy people are never in one place, cell phones are the easy solution.

Now the convenience factor is reversed.

The other day I was rushing across campus, late for class as usual, when I brushed past two girls walking in front of the burnt-down Hanawalt House. They were obviously walking together, but they weren’t talking.

They were listening to their iPods. I thought it was so strange that here at La Verne, where any walk to class takes a max of 12 minutes, that students need to fill the time void by being plugged into music rather than conversation.

I could understand if someone was walking a large distance alone. My iPod nano was a gift and I like to take it on jogs or walks. I’m a fan of music, but when walking with a friend, I think that this is just rude.

And yet it’s so common. Every Friday since September, I’ve been taking the train downtown to go to work. Over that time period, I’ve seen so many people plugged into their music. The little white ear phones seem to send the message, “Don’t bother me – I’m listening to my music.” It’s like a private concert and no one else is invited. I’ve always wanted to take a survey on what kinds of music people play on their iPods, from the FIDM student on her way to school to the 45-year-old man in a business suit who reads the L.A. Times every day. That alone could spark interesting conversation.

After writing my Web exclusive story last week on online music and its effect on the music industry, I realized just how much of my world is online today. I think you can do almost anything online now, from home-based businesses to buying milk. I couldn’t believe that article about a woman who found her sperm donor online. She has a profile on him and his picture even sits in her house so she can glance over at him just to make sure he’s still cute enough for her eggs.

I was pretty skeptical when dating services went online, but sperm donation must be the epitome of efficiency. A woman wants a kid, doesn’t want to handle hassles of men and relationships and knows she can raise a kid on her own, at least until she finds Mr. Husband before her eggs retire. How convenient.

Stephanie Duarte, a senior communications major, is arts editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at duartes@ulv.edu.