The Switch to Gmail

Yet another inconvenience on the plate of the Harvard student

We appreciate it, FAS IT. We really do.

It really was sweet of you to switch Harvard College email accounts to Google’s email client. However, upon further reflection, it seems to us that this shift will only result in more inconveniences for the daily life of the average Harvard student, an already overburdened and drastically underappreciated demographic.

Consider: everyone already has an established Gmail already, and, with a second account, there will now have to be an annoying and delicate dance between the two. Just think of the forwarding issues! Should one forward one’s school email from one Gmail account to another Gmail account? Or should one keep—and consistently check—two separate Gmail accounts at the same time? That just seems absurd. If one opts for forwarding between the two, what about the transferring of contacts from one account to another? How on earth is that supposed to work?

Most importantly, how in God’s good name are we supposed to handle the Gchat situation this switch presents the student body? Gchat, as everyone knows, is the choice means of communication for everyone with access to free wifi, which, let it be known, we consider a human right, right up there with high thread-count sheets and the air conditioning that still has yet to be installed in our sweltering, sweaty rooms (that’s another—and far more virulent—editorial we must write for the sake of this community). It is a mode of communication—nay, expression—that requires thought, creativity, inspiration, genius, and, above all else, emoticons. Needless to say, that kind of keyboard artistry and intellectual engagement requires a focus we have carefully cultivated and are rarely able to exert on anything else. In that sense, what are we to do with two Gchats? Type on two screens at once and compromise the literary merit and the iambic pentameter of our messages? Or sacrifice one of these two outlets for essential self-expression altogether? Also, while we’re on the subject, who thought students would enjoy seeing their teaching fellows’ chat statuses change to “available” at 2:30 a.m.? Or, for that matter, seeing what drivel their professors might list as Gchat statuses?

Then, of course, there is the security issue. Perhaps FAS IT thought it would be “cute” for students to message their economics professors accidentally with an invitation to the latest rager or to gossip about who asked whom to Eliot Fête? Frankly, this is far worse than any identity theft that can be fall one on the Internet, which should never—under any circumstances—be used as a tool to increase communication between students and faculty.

Although everyone says it’s the thought that counts, we feel compelled to point out that this change—as well as any change to the status quo or, for that matter, any maintenance of the status quo—will only further inconvenience our lot as Harvard students in 2011. It seems that this, along with so many others, is yet another cross we will have to bear.


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