In Chapter 3 “Public Thinking” of Smarter Than You Think, Clive Thompson writes about how public thinkers -- all of us who write on the web in social media, on blogs, and public forums -- enjoy finding others with related ideas and sharing information.
When discussing the vastness of our internet use, Thompson writes
Consider these current rough estimates: Each day, we compose 254 billion emails, more than 500 million tweets on Twitter, and over 1 million blog posts and 1.3 million blog comments on WordPress alone. On Facebook, we write about 16 billion words per day. That’s just in the United States: in China, its 100 million updates each day on Sina Weibo, the country’s most popular microblogging tool and more on social networks in other languages worldwide, including Russia’s VK. Text messages are terse, but globally they’re our most frequent piece of writing: 12 billion per day” (46-47).The statistics presented in this chapter about internet use are beyond compelling. What was one aspect of what he presented that you find especially notable or interesting? Why? Please cite the page number.
The aspect I found interesting was about blogging and it said, "Blogging forces you to write down your arguments and assumptions (52)." I think with any type of writing/blogging, it provokes you to think creatively and see the perspectives' of others.There are many people that do blog and while some things may not be appropriate, it is a form of expression.
Thanks for the comment. Yeah, I was fascinated with the idea too that blogging or writing about a subject in public can assist with clarifying one's thinking on that subject. Hmmm...that's maybe even one of the reasons I think it's so important that we write and share here about the books that we're reading.
One aspect the author presented that I found interesting was on page 48 where he brought up the fact that before the internet, most people did not write anything after they graduated. However, there are so many things they have to share. He also brought up the fact that writing is a valuable tool that can help clarify things. I feel the internet definitely help us share information as well as our feelings and thoughts with the world through tools such as blogs.
What I found most interesting was on page 66. The author speaks about Andrea Lunsford a Stanford University English professor. She did a study on first year college students and how they write compared to students of the past. She found that the grammatical errors in student essays barely have risen over the years.
There has been this fear that with technology, especially texting, that students will start using "text" language (like LOL and TTYL). Lunsford found that out of 1.5 million words only 3 percent were in that style. I think that the technology has only helped (not hindered) my generation write better. The more you do something, the better at it you become.
Thompson's emphasis on the audience effect within the educational system was quite interesting. He states, "When asked to write for a real audience of students in another county, students write essays that are substantially longer and have better organization and content than when they're writing for their teacher. When asked to contribute to a wiki...college students snap to attention, writing more formally and including more sources to back up their work" (55-56). As a student, I can personally say that I am guilty of this; however, as a future educator, the audience effect is something that I will definitely have to take into consideration.
On page 50 the author said, "Literacy in North America has historically been focused on reading, not writing; consumption, not production." I find this interesting because I believe that just as reading could increase your knowledge, so could writing. As the author points out later, writing can help to clarify your thinking. I think if people wrote more they would be more analytical/have more logical thought patterns and maybe even make better decisions.
I was astonished by the data presented. The author mentions "in the United Kingdom's peak letter-writing years... the average citizen received barely one letter every two weeks" (49). This statement forces us to look at both the good and bad of modern day technology. We are able to communicate with one another in a matter of seconds rather than weeks. However, this creates a barrier for face to face interaction, allowing us to hide behind screens and lose touch with social interactions.
On pg 77 the author is speaking about how some people actually get on blog posts and comments sections of websites just to say brutal things to people that they wouldn't say to others if their actual name and face were behind the words. The reason I found this notable is because I have seen this brutality first hand when I'm watching my favorite YouTube gurus and tutorials and you just wonder how can people be so hateful, and show their true colors just because they know no one can identify them. It amazes me that we live in a world of people who wear masks everyday of their lives and the internet is where they choose to take them off.
I am shocked by these numbers. I think that the internet and electronics have taken over interpersonal communications. What I find most interesting is how the times have changed. He Mr. Thompson states how his mother (49-50) does not use email. I'm not a big blogger or a huge social network person but I would be lost with out my email. I feel that emails make life so much easier. I have nothing against blogging but Its just not my thing.
The paragraph where the author talks about how often his mother writes (p49-50) is really interesting to me. I have always thought that parents and grandparents before me wrote letters constantly since telephones were not always common and the Internet was not wide spread. It's amazing to me how much more we write now. Especially after high school. I feel like there are always emails to respond to or papers to write. Social media has helped us write more for our own personal pleasure.
My interest was captured on page 54 when Thompson discussed what he called the "audience effect." I found it intriguing because it is an interesting view point to consider.A lot of us like to think our "expression of self" is not based on how we want other people to respond, but this theory says it is and I agree. I think many of the things we post are for attention, whether it be to stir up emotion or create a certain image about ourselves to others, and we all do it quite frequently.
What caught my attention in this chapter was how Andrea Lunsford conducted a study that compared grammatical errors in essays today to those of the past. This interested me, because her results were that there was virtually no difference. She actually found that kids who messaged a lot were actually better at writing then others. I thought this was interesting, because people often have fears that technology is "dumbing" us down, but in this case Lunsford proved that is not particularly the case.
I have a rather different approach to an audience. As an introvert, I prefer reading silently, journaling and so forth. Thus, as the author speaks of the audience effect and how we do better in front of one due to our desire to impress or w/e is surprising. I perform better alone with a self-driven attitude. Not the other way around.
The most interesting thing that I found was on pg 49 when he was talking about letters in the 19th century. He says, "United Kingdom's peak letter-writing years-- the late nineteenth century, before the telephone became common-- the average citizen received barely one letter every two weeks." I find this the most interesting because technology is a way to communicate. There technology was through writing letters to each other. Many people talk to their loved ones everyday or at least every week nowadays but back then they just wrote letters every once in a while. It seems crazy how the world has changed so much using technology.
Page 66's information about college essay composition is intriguing. The study details are not made clear, but according to the author Andrea Lunsford found that contemporary freshman college student essays are more complex and argumentative than in the early twentieth century. This is not entirely surprising since the advent of technology and social media has created a demand for more organized and developed thoughts meant to be broadcast and understood in order to corroborate unity with an online audience.
All in all I did not find this chapter too surprising. I have grown up in an era where technology is used in our day to day lives. The one thing that I found actually shocking was the fact that 12 billion texts messages are sent our each day. It just blows my mind that there are only 7 billion people in the world. By that statistic, that means that everyone in the entire world could send a text every day almost twice. It truly has become such an essential tool in the 21st century. I cannot imagine my life without social media or even texting for that matter. It is a normal part of my every day life. (pg. 47)
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