April 26, 2011

KIT: Keep in Touch

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Looking back on high school, what exactly was the point of having people sign your yearbook? Though some of your best friends wrote those multi-page, heart-felt messages, too many others wrote about remembering you in math class or being “soooo sad” to graduate and to PLEASE KIT! That is, to keep in touch.

While we aren’t sure what yearbook signing protocol is in college (yes, seniors, there is a yearbook, Herff Jones Photography is harassing you for a reason), now that the end of the year is upon us, and with this being our last column, we have been thinking about yearbook signing. Yearbook messages, once penned, are forever archived. Just as these notes are very reminiscent of a specific time and are always available to read if you feel nostalgic, for our final column we decided to talk about trends that were relevant to us this year that we absolutely need to get out and into print before our time as college journalists runs out — and our soapboxes are taken out from under our feet. Below, please find a collection of these random observations:

Social Media

On April 16 of this year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg got out of his town car in front of the FourSquare headquarters in New York City and asked an associate, “Why are we here?” Existentialist as this question may have been, the mayor visited the now-prominent startup’s headquarters on that day to declare 4/16 FourSquare Day. While social media isn’t that new, the ways in which people are increasingly using these sites are evolving, as they are becoming integral parts of our lives. If you missed the Karl Rove lecture, you can check your friend’s live tweets from it. And unless you are an avid bulletin board checker, or one of the few people who doesn’t immediately discard quarter cards, how would you have known about Rove’s visit — or any other campus event for that matter — were it not for those annoying Facebook invites you receive to absolutely everything? There are tons of other applications, networks and new forms of expression, allowing everyone to get on the social media train. This year and well into the future, social media is going to matter not just for individuals but for businesses and political movements, as well.

Online Privacy

Sometime in the 1960s at Georgetown University, Bill Clinton smoked marijuana, but he “didn’t inhale.” Sure, this little factoid came back to haunt him thirty years later during his first presidential campaign, but it did not stop him from winning the vote (#winning!). Miley Cyrus, on the other hand, will not be as lucky. The viral video of her smoking something “legal,” which got over a million hits on YouTube, will probably hurt her chances of ever taking over the oval office … though in fairness to future voters, she was just being Miley. And while scholars and public officials still debate the impact of WikiLeaks, the organization, if nothing else, has demonstrated that even the most confidential documents are not immune to public exposure. This gives us little hope for the privacy of our own online personalities. Blogs, club memberships and even online passwords and purchases are all preserved indefinitely. Even things you delete from Facebook can come back to haunt you years later. So some words of wisdom: guard your online presence and be ultra-cautious, even if you don’t expect to end up in the White House.

Acronyms

Finally, let us pay homage to acronyms. While they have not made any particular comeback recently, acronyms and abbreviations have been a big part of our year. Serving as the inspiration for our column, these shortened versions of real words are thrown around in conversation, often in jest. As two avid abbreviators, shorthand has become such a vital part of our daily communications that these days, full words don’t even seem to mean the same thing. As such, and given Cornell’s own love of acronyms (BRBs, ILR, AEM, WSH, CTB), this campus was ripe for a lesson in the various uses of these linguistic gems. If you enjoyed DFM (Dance Floor Makeout) and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), you may also like NINJA (No Income; No Job or Assets) and LIGAS (Like I Give A Sh*t). We are proud to have expanded your vocabulary.

So, to our loyal readers (our parents), thanks for sticking with us. While the end of college doesn’t seem to hold the same luster as the end of high school may have, we look back with nostalgia as senioritis seeps in during these last few weeks at Cornell, Our CKB days using BRBs at RPU are long gone. Still, we channel our high school selves in saying KIT!

Jane Mermel is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at jmermel@cornellsun.com. Hilary Oran is a senior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She may be reached at horan@cornellsun.com. The Shorthand appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.

Original Author: Hilary Oran