Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Smarter Than You Think -- Chapter 9

[Smarter Than You Think]

In Chapter 9, “The Connected Society” of Smarter Than You Think, Clive Thompson describes how the use of the Internet has created a global connection that would not otherwise be possible. The distinct forms of communication provided by the internet (i.e. tweets, email, instant message, skype) have been used both socially and politically.

Thompson notes:
But the Internet and modern digital tools have been particularly romanticized. Our ability to communicate instantly across vast distances, to speak to the world and to each other, seems uniquely freedomish. In the West, in particular, we tend to regard speech as both a proxy for emancipation and its inevitable catalyst; and if the Internet has done anything, it’s produced a global flood of speech (249).
What’s one scene or topic from the chapter that drew your interest? Why or how so? Please provide page citation.

17 comments:

Alexandra J said...

On page 250, I found this quote very interesting, "to understand how technology affects social change, you have to look at how it affects the way we think, learn, and cooperate with others, and how locals cultures come into play. In reality, everyone with connection to technology has the same access to information and sites on the web. Even though the sites may be the same, everything is interpreted and used differently based on cultural practices in each country. This also affects how people can utilize the information in regards to public thinking and speaking, ethics and morals, and political values.

Belainesh Nigeda said...

I think that the title of this chapter "Connected Society" is the most definitely accurate after reading this chapter. Social media is successfully used to gather larges amounts of people with the same beliefs or goal. I thought it was most interesting when the book discussed the Trayvon Martin case on page 264. I remember this and even participating in social media discussion. Social media was the reason why I participated in the Trayvon Martin walk that summer in Chicago. Social media is the reason why Zimmerman was charged and arrested and charged after 2 million signatures. I would imagine that this would not have happened as fast without social media. I think that a connected society along with collective thinking is definitely beneficial, especially when considering "seeking justice."

-B.Nigeda

Shervonti N said...

The topic that drew my interest from this chapter begins on page 251. Pluralistic ignorance is interesting to me because it goes to show that people still very much "care" about what other people think/feel. One main example given in this chapter is segregation and how some people may not have personally felt that they were racist but they thought that their neighbors still had racist tendencies... so, they went along with the idea of continuing segregation. It was also stated that people thought that others were still racist but said they were not just to look better in public eye (which is definitely what I thought when I first started reading the survey results) but the explanation does make sense. People conformed to what they thought everyone else was doing... and did not try to speak out.

Sierra Ewing said...

I always appreciate when people bring light to the truth. I really resonated with the quote on page 268 that says, " Tools for thinking help make people smarter. But they don't necessarily make them morally better. So what happens when you take brutal rulers and give them technology that makes them smarter and more efficient? They become better at doing evil." He goes on to talk about a situation in Azerbaijan but all I could think about is the exposure to more developed technology and how people can manipulate it to their personal gain. Their intentions, good or bad, can be fueled by social popularity or the curiosity or ignorance of others.

YaQkeha Witherspoon said...

I found this quote on page 250 interesting: "The Communist Party filters activity online, running a Great Firewall that blocks citizens from seeing foreign news the party deems seditious". I found it interesting to know that some countries block out information they do not want their citizens knowing. We take all of the information available to us because of the Internet for granted. Not everybody is able to find out what policies their government is putting into place, or what's happening else where in the world via Internet. And I think we should be more advantage of that opportunity.

Mercedes H said...

I found it most interesting when the topic of Trayvon Martin was discussed (pg 264) because social media was the sole reason why I began engaged and continued to keep up with the topic. If it had not been for social media connecting me to everyday life happenings I would have been clueless to the Martin case as well as many other topics in the world. Thompson was absolutely correct in this chapter concluding the internet being a communication tool to connect numerous societies around the world.

Tiera Williams said...

The topic that drew my interest was internet aiding in bettering the country. This topic is discussed on page 249, and the point "it isn't simply true" is made. It is stated that, "Communications tools may be a necessary condition for broad-based social change, but they aren't a sufficient condition."
This topic drew my interest because I didn't think they'd address the point. Everyone is usually so pro technology and no one ever thinks about the hindering aspects of it or the things it does not change. I enjoyed the fact that it addressed the issue from a more wordily standpoint.
- Tiera Williams


Mikaela Suggs said...

On page 246, Thompson tells a story about how the Chinese were ruining their countryside, and stated how citizens began talking to people online, and speaking out about the issues they were having with pollution. This is a prime example of how something as simple as a website can bring people together and let a voice be heard. In this example, technology was used in a positive way to come up with fresh ideas and to organize the protest that the students had.

Anitra B. said...

I found the section regarding "pluralistic ignorance" on pages 251-254 interesting. Thompson described it as occurring "whenever a group of people underestimate how much others around the share their attitudes and beliefs". I found it interesting because I believe that it is something that consistently occurs and it affects how people act or behave. When people don't express or share their beliefs (because of fear of what others will think or how they will act), then others change their behaviors or the the way they think to try to fit-in with the "social norm". I believe that if you disagree and know something is wrong and you share your thoughts or beliefs, you'd be surprised by how many others agree with you. Like Thompson said "to make social change begin to snowball, we need to make our thoughts visible" (pg. 254).

Paris Smith said...

I really like this quote " Tools for thinking help make people smarter. But they don't necessarily make them morally better. So what happens when you take brutal rulers and give them technology that makes them smarter and more efficient? They become better at doing evil." I found it interesting because it is the truth and it makes a lot of sense about how technology has advanced to help people achieve their goals. We use it in science everyday to make the world a better place and at the same time, a terrorist could be using the same technology to build a bomb. So at the end of the day, technology helps good and evil and we can't change it.

Tracee Williams said...

On page 264 when he talks about Trayvon Martin shows the social media at its worst/best. It spread all through out the country as a trending topic for months from the time he was shot to the time Zimmerman's trial came around. It spark negative emotions but it also spread the word on what was going on in our country and as we can still see what is still going on with incidents like Mike Brown that are still occurring now near us. Social media is a great source of what the recent world news is but it also can start confusion.

Jessica Oranika said...

One part of the chapter that interested me was on page 264 when the Trayvon Martin case was discussed. This shows how social media connects our society because without things such as Twitter, I and many others my age wouldn't have known much about it. We also would not have had any way to voice our outrage and opinions.

Ajeenah Johnson-Brown said...

The topic that interest me the most was when the author began to discuss the Trayvon Martin case on page 264. This really made me think about how much social media does make a difference. That case was the first time I really saw social media at work. There were petitions, articles, and many people showing support via twitter and facebook. Nowadays, social media keeps us up to date with current events and can bring the whole world together to fight for positive social causes.

Joi M said...

Social media in relation to news as discussed in the book (trayvon Martin) especially interested me. This grabbed my attention because of a course I'm taking about the media and its influence. Yes, social media is a powerful tool that allows us to stay connected with each other, and also stay connected with things going on in the world. However, as I have learned through my media class, it can be a dangerous tool because much of what we are exposed to through social media and other media outlets is controlled by the top 1%. I say this to point out that we as conscious beings must not let our judgement and knowledge on an issue be clouded by the limited information and perspectives that we learn from social media. I believe that the only way we can truly be connected to each other and to ongoing issues is by being proactive and going to get the information first hand, and stop heavily relying on information being passed down to us.

Kelsey W said...

I thought it was interesting on page 252 and 253 when it's talking about the idea of pluralistic ignorance. The idea that people aren't racist but they believe a lot of other people are because I would think it would be the other way around. We need to speak up and voice our own opinions and not what we think the majority wants to hear because that does not cause change.

Anonymous said...

"One topic in the chapter that interested me was the discussion on how online dissent is seen as "leaderless" (pg.264) and how many political and social movements started on the internet are effective when there's a specific goal in mind. The reason being is because I've seen it happen multiple times on sites such as Tumblr and Twitter. It's also interesting to think about this sort of thing in relation to current events such as Ferguson and Eric Garner and how sayings and hashtags such as #blacklivesmatter or "I can't breathe" respectively have helped give so much awareness to this issue of race and police relations along with racism."

Andrea R.

Kiana S said...

Without social media I probably would not know half the things I know about other aspects of the world outside of North America. To be honest, I would not know about things going on just cities away. The news can give some insight, but usually they have to remain somewhat biased. Social media gives real life and truly honest opinions straight from the people who are involved in them. Thompson did not really change my view, he just strengthened it. When he brought up Trayvon Martin and talked about how social media was a huge part of getting that message out, it was so true (264).