Taking in the trash
World Wide Web congested with self-interest, egotistical student homepages
Technology continues to expand in leaps and bounds. Three years ago, less than twenty-five Aggies had published web pages through the University. Now hundreds of students have a "presence on the web." Student web pages vary from short informational sheets that are constantly under construction to enormous web "sites" providing web surfers with a complete multimedia experience.
Though many students put hours of work into their web pages, the vast majority of personal web pages are little more than shrines to their programmer. Most web pages provide hardly any content useful to anyone who does not know the page's designer.
Most Aggie web pages are identical:
"Hi, I'm Joe Student, Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of [insert original decade of intended graduation here]. Here is a picture of me next to my car/significant other/favorite alcohol/pile of PTTS tickets." The page will include a link to the designer's resume and favorite web sites.
As long as students are already putting hard work and effort into creating and posting a web page, they might as well create something others will use and enjoy.
There are already too many sites without content, the world does not need hundreds of students adding to the pile. If web publishers continue to emphasize themselves over information which might be beneficial to others, the Information Superhighway will never meet its potential.
The World Wide Web was designed as an easy, cheap alternative to publishing. Now anyone who frequents an undergraduate Business Analysis class can post anything from baby pictures to the next Wuthering Heights.
Since publishing is now so simple, it has become evident that it is difficult to publish something worthwhile.
Everyone has stories to tell, but most people seem to have a hard time determining which ones are worth relating.
No one is so self-absorbed that they have no useful or interesting information to share with the world. Most people could offer information on a hobby which people with similar interests might enjoy, for example how to play guitar, photography tips, sources for rare books, or how to avoid evade PTTS.
Maybe this phenomenon of self-worshipping web pages is due to this generation's lack of consideration for others. When faced with the option of providing useful information to others or telling millions of internet users about themselves, many people would have a hard decision. Often the final decision is based on which option will draw more people to the site and make the designer better known.
The World Wide Web is a tremendous resource. The training and resources available to students gives them a great opportunity to contribute something to the world. The web allows writers, political activists or researchers to reach a huge number of people at a low cost. Unfortunately, it also allows anyone with a modem or a LABS password to reach a huge number of people at a low cost. The internet is full of rich information, but is also clogged with frivolous material from movie trailers to photos of pets and dorm rooms.
With thousands of students, A&M has the opportunity to be either a part of the problem or part of the solution.
Dave Johnston is a senior mathematics major.