I’m in a relationship (with The Aquinian)

Alyssa Mosher - From the Editor (Tom Bateman/AQ)

Let me take you back, way back, to a simpler time, a time of MSN Messenger.

For most of us, MSN was a place to talk to friends after school without tying up the phone line. It was one of the first popular ways to have a conversation with someone without the pressure of responding right away.

When my dad finally caved and let me get a Hotmail account, I wasn’t allowed to use my name; so instead I was left with shortylonglegs_23. I thought this was a pretty unique username for my 13-year-old self – although it’s probably worn out its welcome eight years later.

MSN was a distraction, one of the first popular ones of its kind. For me, it was the best way to talk to the boys I liked.

And soon enough, I was hooked.

***

As of today, my cellphone has over 7,900 text messages on it. And it’s not like I haven’t deleted any since I got my non-smartphone three years ago.

As editor-in-chief of The Aquinian, I feel like I need to be available for the staff 24/7. Not only do I check my email 15 million times a day, but my phone rarely leaves the front right pocket of my jeans. (In fact, an older pair of jeans bears a faded outline of my cellphone. Embarrassing.)

In an article in MacLean’s magazine, Anne Kingston and Alex Ballingall say a recent survey by Retrevo, a consumer electronic site, found 10 per cent of people under age 25 didn’t see anything wrong with texting during sex.

Okay, I’d like to think I’m not that bad, but I recently quit a pretty great job because of my role with The Aquinian – and because I was afraid of missing important text messages from the editors.

Call me crazy, but I think most of us can relate to this anxiety.

In the same MacLean’s article, the writers talk about Kevin Newman, former host of Global National, who after receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Western Ontario, returned to his seat and tweeted from his iPhone for the rest of the evening.

Newman defended his actions, calling them “within the boundaries of etiquette in a social-media age.” But many people around him were annoyed.

Sound familiar?

TheAQ’s Jordan MacDonald, our newly appointed “Streeter Gal,” asked students if texting should be allowed in class (see page 10). And to my surprise, most people said it was disrespectful and distracting.

So why can’t we break the habit?

***

Last week, you may have noticed our backpage, theAQ Postscript, had an overhaul.

That page was always meant to be an alternative front – it has the colour and the space to draw people’s attention. We also wanted to go beyond the journalism, to find a different way to reach out to STU students.

The page is managed by arts editor Julia Whalen and it was her idea to go with the social media feel. And I have to say, good one, Julia.

She’s taken the idea of Skype and MySpace and has created a spot to showcase unique dorm rooms. By popular demand, she’s brought back “overheards” with a new Facebook feel. There’s also STUmblr., a play-on the short-blog site Tumblr. And then of course there’s the university’s “Twitter trends.”

It seems like a no brainer now that I see it all on the page. After all, this is how we communicate, so why not bring a little bit of that flavor to The Aquinian as well?

***

We say we don’t need it, we say can break the habit. But I don’t think we actually believe that.

We, the students of Generation Y, are the age of social media. It began with MSN Messenger, a simple substitute to talking on the phone, and has grown into a way of life. Face facts.

I’ve been a resister of this technological wave my whole life. It took me at least a year after the sudden popularity to get Facebook or a cellphone plan that included unlimited texting. And yes, it was a boy who convinced me to text. And a boy who got me on Facebook. Same boy, too. Yupp.

Today, I have to face this fact: my regular, old, non-flip cellphone is dying. It can’t keep up with my life. And so maybe it is time I get a smartphone.

Or maybe I just need someone to tell me so. Boys?

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