Beyond Copy, Paste, and Delete

by Niken Lestari


My first encounter with computer unimpressive. It was a compulsory subject. The ivory colored boxes were very precious that the computer lab heavily locked. They were very expensive. So I keep my safe distance from it. They looked tough but fragile. Pretty much like myself.

I was 16-year-old and anxious to try something new. No one told me, directly or indirectly, that women can’t do techie things. You basically need to master two things, logical math and English language skill. So I was ready to go.

The first thing I like from computer was the keyboard. It still the number one thing I am looking for from a laptop. I like writing and I used to write with pens or typewriter. The command I used often with the old computer was copy, paste and delete. In the advance writing processor, I am still rely on those magic three pillars. They are everything I could ever imagine. They are the essence of any kind of software today.

Copy. I have spent my life copying behaviour, languages, ideas so it’s no wonder that I love Ctrl+C shortcut very much. It makes my day since the day I knew it. Alas! The ivory colored boxes become an ivory tower and act as “big machines” as the IT industry gain more power over them. Somehow the natural instict to copy becoming a crime. Where do we go from here?

Paste. Everyone knows, or I assume everyone knows, that the IT revolution has created the magic duo of copy and paste or copas in short. People who spend a lot of time pasting know that you can’t randomly paste something. It should be contextual so that the result will have different meaning from the previous one. One can’t copy paste something without reading the source.

I feel bothered to hear some people said that copy paste have made young people to be less creative, tendency for instant result and encourage them into plagiarism. That is not how I see and experience it. The resources are abundant. If a person priority is good passing grade than the intellectual challenge and reinterpretation, then he or she will explore many ways to do just that. With or without copy paste command.

Delete. There are some points in my lives that I want to delete. I create stories and mistakes. Somehow both are hand in hand. So I can’t delete my mistakes without also delete my stories. It’s a small command that many people take for granted. But since I experienced the typewriter era, I see it as an important tool that shape the communication technology and the way I see the IT industry. However, as ICT getting “mature”, I am faced with situation where I can’t erase (delete) my data in virtual world. I can’t fathom the idea that my data will lived forever out of my will and the delete button has lost its magic power.

I never thought that those simple commands become threathening for some industries that they went very far in creating barriers that also threaten my rights. In this era, I learn more about my activism related to information technology. I am struggling to embrace back those three commands that has shaped my activism.

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