Digitas Holds Internet Talk

The fledgling computer group Digitas held its second "virtual meeting" over the Internet Wednesday night, hooking up with an MTV personality as he vacationed in the Bahamas.

MTV veejay Adam Curry spoke for a few minutes with members of Digitas, a controversial new computer group which was formed last month.

"This is the first revolutionary step in holding interactive meetings," said Jeff C. Tarr '96, co-president of Digitas.

"The prospects for this technology are exciting and very practical as well," Tarr said. "students could talk with famous people over the Internet by attending [a meeting or lecture] from their homes or anywhere they want."

"It could represent a whole new method for guest lecturing," he added.

Digitas leaders said Wednesday night's meeting was designed to allow participants in the network to discuss new technology.

Digitas's virtual meetings are open to anyone willing to log on to the Internet Relay Chat channel, Tarr said.

Those who log on are invited to chat about everything from cutting edge CD players and advanced digital phones to the weather in the Bahamas. An average of 25 people have attended the first two meetings.

"The channel is like a meeting room," Tarr said. "The conversation at the meeting appears on the screen, next to the person's name who is typing. It's completely free for all--there is no moderator."

Tarr said people on the network can both talk openly to all system users and private messages.

Despite Digitas's claims that it has a "revolutionary agenda," members of the Harvard Computer Society (HCS), which Tarr and his co-president left of found Digitas, have questioned just how pragmatic the groups plan are.

"Digitas is taking advantage of public ignorance and exaggerating what they are doing," HCS President Eugene E. Kim '96 said. "In terms of formally announcing this virtual meeting, yes, it's a new and interesting idea. For that, Digitas should be applauded."

"[But] because their meetings are just for recreational purposes, it's a waste of time," Kim added. "Calling them meetings is ridiculous, they're more just 'virtual get-togethers.' It's like a party line."