It will be written in the context of IITK (No surprise, I know 🙂 ).Inspired by one of the comments on the previous post.
Internet has lead to reduction in the interaction amongst students, between faculty and students etc. And it would not take any effort to cite the phenomena supporting the stand. But then, is there really anything to feel too bad about? Does it mean that one learns less from the place or enjoys the stay less than what it used to be like? I doubt, I seriously doubt. Every age has its ways of interaction.
Probably people started missing writing letters on the advent of the telephone and waiting for a call from someone who is staying out on the advent of cell-phones. And some element of urgency and excitement from these events have gone away. Since you can hear the voice on phone every other day – you are not “starved to hear the voice of a loved one” etc. But that never causes the importance of human relations to cease; whatever one might say.
The above example is not exactly analogous to the point in question here – but it represents a general principle (and one of my favourite ones 🙂 ) – resistance and apprehension towards change without caring for how it can offset its own disadvantages. And in that sense it does apply to the present topic. One can call it a loss of interaction that I send a mail/message to my next door neighbour to ask if she has a particular book and she replies back saying she does not or that she has an e-book which I can download from her computer – I lost a chance of human interaction with her. Fine. But then there are other situations too. I want to go to the mess and this neighbour is not in her room. Most likely she is studying in someone else’s room. I send all such possible people a message/mail and ask them to inform her if she wants to go to the mess as well. Very likely she does and then we go to the mess together. The same thing gave me a chance of human interaction which I would otherwise have missed because it might not be possible for me to check her in everyone’s room!
If I lose some chances of making friends because I am spending more time on my computer, I make several friends through the interaction on the newsgroups which I would never have made. And these things are not so totally artificial. There are many people in the campus, with whom I developed acqaintences mainly through electronic media and with whom I still interact and share my experiences. The medium is devoid of emotions, expressions etc? Well – so we develop host of smilies and they do convey a lot – sometimes and for some people more easily than any face-to-face interaction could do.
I do not mean to defend all the effects of the Internet. There, certainly, are people who are addicted and go much beyond what can be called normal, but situation is not so hopeless either… The most common cited analogy is that of television, which was supposed to reduce the interaction almost as much, but humans are still enjoying there lives with each other, despite television and all.Its just that the Internet age is still not something around which the excitement of novelty has ceased. But it will happen soon.
Probably its not a complete description, but as and when I feel like writing or depending on the comments I receive :-), I will write more.