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“The Internet Does More Harm Than Good" by Sarah Kieran

Lego blocks in different colours
Sarah Kieran presents her views about the internet at the National Finale of the Europe Direct Soapbox Competition 2014

Hi, my name is Sarah Kieran. I’m from Our Lady’s College Greenhills, Drogheda. Today I’m going to talk to you about colour. You may think that this is a talk on the internet’s effects on our lives-but that’s exactly my point. The internet brings so much colour and light into our lives. Before the age of the internet we lived in a dull black and white society, a silent movie, a mime. The coming of the internet has brightened up our lives, in so many ways.


                Just this week my own teacher, head of the drama society in my school, received a package. This package came from America, and contained a white tuxedo. This brilliant white tux is for our school play. It brightens up the stage, makes this simple transition year drama project into something that we could only ever have envisioned to be on the big screen. And of course without it, the poor chap playing the part of the man in the white tuxedo would have had to wear most likely his dad’s wedding suit-which undoubtedly would be 2 sizes too big. The internet has allowed us to close the gap between us and them. We can have any colour delivered to our doorstep. This then brings me onto my second point.


                When the internet first came on the scene we were all scared there would be another “video killed the radio star” scenario: but between email and the postal service. Yes, simple things like banking, job applications and-or those exceptionally lazy people-birthday cards, can all now be sent via email. But the workload for the postal service has in no way diminished. I cannot possibly keep count of the number of parcels delivered to my own housing estate each week from online retailers like Asos, Amazon and These bring new style, new taste and new colours to our towns every day.


                 I finally want to talk to you about online advertisements.  They are those small ads that you see on the side of your newsfeed on Facebook, with quirky colourful images trying to sell you phones and concert tickets. Before online advertisements, employers depended on their good old rolodex full of business cards, which they would flick through when they needed to get the number of the guy they got to do it last time to do it again. But this method has a major flaw: what if the employer decides to spice things up a bit? Host a samba party for his employees?  Where will he get the card for his new flamenco dress supplier? Online advertisements fill that gap and solve that problem. Employers have their own site completely dedicated to advertisements called “LinkedIn”. Here you can get anything, at any time, in any place; from didgeridoo suppliers in Roscommon to Chinese lantern manufacturers in northern Nigeria. This leads to endless opportunities for business. And no, don’t worry; business card sales have not plummeted as a result of this. In fact the amount of business cards being made has actually risen in recent years due to the new opportunities for independent businesses because of online advertisements.


                The internet is a painting; the lurking shadows in the corners are the dark net, the deep reds are the hearts of hopeful lovers, and the rich blue horizon - the top of your Facebook newsfeed. It is a portrait of society, and the frame is your screen.


Written by Sarah Kieran

Published: Wed, 20/05/2015 - 23:07

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