Paper 3 Final

Haley Ben Moshe

Werry

RWS 100

13 December 2018

Boyd Analysis

Danah Boyd is a technology and social media scholar, as well as the author of “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens”. The chapter “Are Today’s Youth Digital Natives?” from her text provides many compelling assertions about teens today and their abilities to use advancing technology since being born into a world of digital age. This world of digital age is created on the basis of smartphones being possessed by almost everyone, computers, laptops, and tablets present in almost every household, and especially the advanced operating systems installed in these devices. Boyd brings forth the term “digital native” and creates an argument surrounding that idea. In this essay, I will analyze some of Boyd’s main claims as well as how outside sources support her ideas.

As Boyd presents the idea of digital natives in her chapter, she explores the implications of the term and also establishes the idea that children, teens, and young adults today are born into a world of a digital age. This term creates the image of the entire youth population having the same equal access to digital resources, knowledge, and devices. Digital natives essentially underlies that all of today’s youth are instinctually proficient in the use of technology, as well as wise within judging digital media. Boyd also puts forth the idea that the digital skills of the new generation seems to be lacking compared to those of individuals with much greater access to technology, thus creating a digital divide. She notes “Because teens grew up in a world in which the internet has always existed, many adults assume that youth automatically understand new technologies” (176). Boyd explores the myths associated with this term.

Boyd also asserts the idea as to why the term digital natives is problematic. Using this term as a label prevents any technological growth as well as media skills that today’s youth actually needs. It masks the digital divide between youth with very little access to technology and those will strong technological skills and access. Boyd also asserts that just because much of today’s youth uses these technological devices daily, it does not mean they are aware of the paramount practices or how to interpret or analyze the information they see.  Boyd asserts, “Talking about youth as digital natives implies that there is a world which these young people all share and a body of knowledge they have all mastered, rather than seeing the online world as a unfamiliar and uncertain for all of us” (192). Another aspect of the issues with using such a term is that many individuals come from different socioeconomic statuses. She notes that those with higher statuses seem to be the most engaged online, while those with different backgrounds struggle to gain access as well as the skills for the world of digital media. Boyd’s main claims can be extended by the YouTube video by PBS Ideal Channel titled “Do Digital Natives Exist?”. The speaker in the video states, “No one is born a native speaker of digital in the same way that no one is born a native speaker of any language”. This quote supports Boyd’s claim because it gives a sort of realization that no one is born with these digital abilities. Boyd inserts “I interviewed teens who used programming scripts to build complex websites. I also talked with teens who didn’t literally know the difference between a web browser and the internet” (pg 176). This serves as basic evidence to help debunk the myths of digital nativity. The PBS video goes into detail as well as provides examples as to why there cannot be such a thing as a digital native. The idea that instincts are something we are just born with has been disproven through sociological as well as psychological lenses. This secondary source also serves to prove why the terms “digital natives” and “digital literacy” is problematic because it creates unavoidable assumptions that are extremely misleading. Companies today could potentially hire today’s youth now or even in the future and expect them to comprehend and use the rapidly progressing technology being used each day. This alone can be harmful for companies and put today’s youth at risk for unemployment due to their lack of digital knowledge.

Digital inequality is a real issue that many face in today’s society. The fact that many do not have access to these types of devices proves a digital divide is real, and leaves some with an advantage in the workforce. It also would not be fair that one qualified individual would receive a job over another simply because one had been exposed to technology growing up while the other was not fortunate enough to due to differing socioeconomic backgrounds.This also serves as a problem in a college campus setting. Professors expect all students to have laptops or access to a computer in order to do most if not all assignments and submit them online. It is rare nowadays to have a paper textbook or turn in an essay written by hand. Almost everything is typed using computer programs that take time to learn how to use. It also serves as a divide for those who cannot afford laptops or computers or gain access to one for extended periods of time. The PBS YouTube video provides these underlying implications that not everyone innately knows how to use technology just because they were born into a digital age. Many college students who did not grow up with constant exposure and access to technology can face drastic consequences over factors they cannot control due to the assumptions made by professors. One student could face a failing grade for not turning in an assignment online correctly because they have had very little technological experience which is unjust. It is not fair that other students who submit mediocre work get credit while others get none at all because they were never taught or learned how to use these types of online programs. The idea of the digital native as a label for today’s youth serves and a disservice to what they are truly capable of, as well as creating a digital divide between those with and without access to today’s technology.

It becomes difficult to understand what the term digital native is definitively as more problems arise with the term.  Boyd believes that in today’s world, kids and teens need to be able to “understand the biases in advertising, whether the ads are disseminated inline or through more traditional media. But in a digitally saturated society, media literacy is only the first step” (182). From my own personal experience, I believe that Boyd’s belief is accurate. There are so many fake news websites taking over the internet each and everyday. These websites are relaying false information that do more harm than good. The idea that kids these days should be taught media literacy is extremely important to protect them from receiving and believing falsified information. Skills such as fact checking, reverse image searching, and staying away from potentially dangerous, misleading online advertisements. The internet today is filled with fraudulent companies looking to steal identities or information, and especially make money regardless of what they have to do in order to accumulate those things. I have witnessed websites that appear to be providing news, yet end up trying to either sell you something or give you ridiculously false information. In the world of politics, fake news is more prevalent than ever. Companies produce several different websites that portray extremist beliefs on both ends of the political spectrum in order to gain business and money regardless of how wrong the information and the act is. For example, the website “BlackMattersUS.com” is one of the few websites still up that was created by Russian operatives stemming from the 2016 election season. This website is filled with extremist opinions, created to stir controversy and create anger amongst African-Americans to persuade their votes in the election. With articles headlines such as “Modern Day Lynching” and “White Teachers Re-Enact Slavery, Act As Ship Captains, Duct Tape Students’ Wrists”, people are immediately drawn in and begin to believe the information in these articles even though it is completely false, and written by individuals who live thousands of miles away. As the election died down, so did the activity on the website as there hasn’t been a post since mid 2017. This timeline of their posting serves as even more proof that it was created to simply persuade and manipulate the American people into believing false information. The importance of digital literacy can prevent the spread of these fake news articles and false information from reaching the public and creating an even larger social and political divide.

Boyd also poses solutions, but they are quite basic and lack a deeper explanation and how to go about fixing these issues. For instance, she claims “Rather than assuming that youth have innate technical skills, parents, educators, and policymakers must collectively work to support those who come from different backgrounds and have different experiences (180). She is essentially stating that digital literacy can become a skill much of today’s youth can acquire more easily through the instruction of older authority figures. Boyd also touches on the idea of fixing the digital divide, and how instructors in schools are best fitted for closing this divide. Schools and places of learning are probably the places children can be easily gain exposure to technology and the internet. However, she does not provide specifics or ideas as to how to close this divide through the school system, or how to help schools acquire more technological devices. Boyd’s argument could have been much stronger had she added specifics in regards to eliminating the myths of digital nativity in society as well as closing the digital divide that is present. For instance, in what ways does Boyd think that school systems should implement teaching the skills of identifying fake news or other forms of manipulation present on the internet? Should it be a part of English classes, or should there be a whole separate class related to learning computer programs and acquiring these skills? How can we make sure all schools have the technology needed to perform these tasks? How will some of the less fortunate schools gain the money for that, as well as the electricity costs, plus the costs of downloading programs and installing new software every so often? There are many specific questions that were not answered in Boyd’s solutions that could have mader her argument much stronger. Her lack of detail in her solutions does not make them very convincing. I do, however, agree with Boyd in the notion that today’s youth should be better equipped with digital literacy and knowledge about technology and the internet. Fake news is everywhere and spreading more and more each day, so it is only beneficial that today’s youth be taught how to spot and avoid those websites. I personally was taught about fake news very briefly in school only during my senior year of high school in an elective course. Overall, I had to figure out how to identify false information and inaccurate posts for myself. If schools today offered a course or focused on identifying what is real and what is not in the technological world from a young age, I would be less inclined to believe false information that I see on the internet and social media every single day. Just like many tweens, teens, and young adults today, I have found myself coming across and believing incorrect news stories almost daily. Boyd’s idea that individuals of all ages should have the tools and skills necessary to sort out the truth from the lies on the internet is noted to better help our world today and for future generations. If today’s youth is better equipped with the knowledge needed for these tasks, they will be less inclined to believe and spread any fake news that comes their way, and could potentially help reduce misunderstandings and the great divide our nation is facing.

In the chapter “Are Today’s Youth Digital Natives?” of her text, Danah Boyd makes valid claims that deserve attention, such as negating the idea that all of today’s youth are digital natives. Boyd’s overarching argument includes that the term “digital natives” masks the lack of in-depth knowledge that teens today actually have, but her solutions relating to solving these social issues such as the digital divide do not serve as helpful or expanding on how to act on fixing these issues. Overall, Boyd portrays a compelling argument that aligns with many in today’s world.

 

Works Cited

Boyd, Danah. Are Today’s Youth Digital Natives? 2014.

Channel, PBS Idea, director. Do Digital Natives Exist? YouTube, YouTube, 11 Dec. 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WVKBAqjHiE.

 

Body Paragraph Draft

Danah Boyd establishes the term digital native. She explores the implications of the term and creates the argument that children, teens, and young adults today are born into a world of a digital age. This term creates the image of the entire youth population having the same equal access to digital resources, knowledge, and devices. She asserts that all of today’s youth are instinctually proficient in the use of technology, as well as wise within judging digital media. Boyd also puts forth the idea that the digital skills of the new generation seems to not be up to par with those of individuals with much greater access to technology, thus creating a digital divide. Boyd’s overarching claim is that the term “digital natives” hides the lack of in-depth digital knowledge teens actually have. She connects the idea of being a digital native to digital literacy.

Boyd also asserts the idea as to why the term digital natives is problematic. Using this term as a label prevents any technological growth as well as media skills that today’s youth actually needs. It masks the digital divide between youth with very little access to technology and those will strong technological skills and access. Boyd also asserts that just because much of today’s youth uses these technological devices daily, it does not mean they are aware of the paramount practices or how to interpret or analyze the information they see. “Talking about youth as digital natives implies that there is a world which these young people all share and a body of knowledge they have all mastered, rather than seeing the online world as a unfamiliar and uncertain for all of us” (192). Another aspect of the issues with using such a term is that many individuals come from different socioeconomic statuses.  She notes that those with higher statuses seem to be the most engaged online, while those with different backgrounds struggle to gain access as well as the skills for the world of digital media. Boyd’s main claims can be extended by the YouTube video by PBS Ideal Channel titled “Do Digital Natives Exist?”. “No one is born a native speaker of digital in the same way that no one is born a native speaker of any language”. This quote supports Boyd’s claim because it gives a sort of realization that no one is born with these digital abilities. Some people do not have access to media or technology while others do. That does not mean that those who do not have access will immediately understand how to use and operate this type of technology the second they get their hands on it. The PBS video goes into detail as well as provides examples as to why there cannot be such a thing as a digital native. The idea that instincts are something we are just born with has been disproven through sociological as well as psychological lenses. This secondary source also serves to prove why the terms “digital natives” and “digital literacy” is problematic because it creates assumptions. Companies today could potentially hire today’s youth now or even in the future and expect them to comprehend and use the rapidly progressing technology being used each day. This alone can be harmful for companies and put today’s youth at risk for unemployment due to their lack of digital knowledge. The fact that many do not have access to these types of devices proves a digital divide is real, and leaves some with an advantage in the workforce. It also would not be fair that one qualified individual would receive a job over another simply because one had been exposed to technology growing up while the other was not fortunate enough to due to differing socioeconomic backgrounds.This also serves as a problem in a college campus setting. Professors expect all students to have laptops or access to a computer in order to do most if not all assignments and submit them online. It is rare nowadays to have a paper textbook or turn in an essay written by hand. Almost everything is typed using computer programs that take time to learn how to use. It also serves as a divide for those who cannot afford laptops or computers or gain access to one for extended periods of time. The PBS YouTube video provides these underlying implications that not everyone innately knows how to use technology just because they were born into a digital age. Many college students who did not grow up with constant exposure and access to technology can face drastic consequences over factors they cannot control due to the assumptions made by professors. One student could face a failing grade for not turning in an assignment online correctly because they have had very little technological experience which is unjust. It is not fair that other students who submit mediocre work get credit while others get none at all because they were never taught or learned how to use these types of online programs. The idea of the digital native as a label for today’s youth serves and a disservice to what they are truly capable of, as well as creating a digital divide between those with and without access to today’s technology.

Plan

– Claim: Teens do not know how their phones/computers work even though they use them everyday, and they are born digital natives. This claim can be challenged by the YouTube video by PBS Ideal Channel titled “Do Digital Natives Exist?”. “No one is born a native speaker of digital in the same way that no one is born a native speaker of any language”. This quote challenges Boyd’s claim because it gives a sort of realization that no one is born with these digital abilities. Some people do not have access to media or technology while others do. That does not mean that those who do not have access will immediately understand how to use and operate this type of technology the second they get their hands on it.

– Claim: Wikipedia is not a bad source of information, and teachers have made it out to be way worse than it actually is. I will challenge this idea with the source “Why Students Can’t Google Their Way to the Truth” by Sam Wineburg and Sarah McGrew “Second, fact-checkers know it’s not about “About.” They don’t evaluate a site based solely on the description it provides about itself.” This challenges Boyd because she thinks Wikipedia is not a bad source, but the outside source goes into detail about fact checking, and how many things on the internet, especially through research, is inaccurate.

 

Homework 11/5/18

Boyd’s main argument is that children and teens were born into a world of technology, thus making them digital natives. Boyd believes that due to teens being digital natives, they have become so addicted and involved with technology and social media, but they do not have the smarts, skills or knowledge as to how to make the most out of their online experiences.

One of Boyd’s claims includes that teenagers today do not understand how the computers that they use everyday work. Boyd asserts that teens just use their devices without any idea of how their device is working and they do not seem to care for that matter. Secondly, Boyd claims that what we search online is stored into an algorithm, which is used to essentially spit out advertisements tailored to our previous searches. He is asserting that everything we search and type into the internet is stored somewhere, and they are being used to market products towards us to make us give in and buy things we do not really need.

I found it interesting that Boyd made the claim that teens do not know how their phones/computers work even though they use them everyday. This was said in a way as if it was a weakness of teens today. I think it would be intriguing to research how many adults actually know how their technology works, and how many teens do. To compare those two things on a statistical level could completely support or negate Boyd’s claim.

Homework 11/1/18

One of Boyd’s main claims includes that policymakers, parents, and educators must collectively work together to support individuals of  different cultural backgrounds or life experiences. Boyd doesn’t want people to assume that today’s youth have technological skills that they are just born with, but rather their elders work to give the youth a better opportunity to accumulate these skills.Another claim includes that teenagers today do not understand how the computers that they use everyday work. Boyd asserts that teens just use their devices without any idea of how their device is working and they do not seem to care for that matter. Secondly, Boyd claims that what we search online is stored into an algorithm, which is used to essentially spit out advertisements tailored to our previous searches. He is asserting that everything we search and type into the internet is stored somewhere, and they are being used to market products towards us to make us give in and buy things we do not really need. Lastly, Boyd claims that Wikipedia is not a bad source of information, and teachers have made it out to be way worse than it actually is. Boyd believes that Wikipedia can sometimes be better than textbooks.

I found it interesting that Boyd made the claim that teens do not know how their phones/computers work even though they use them everyday. This was said in a way as if it was a weakness of teens today. I’m pretty sure a vast majority of adults today also do not know how their technology works because they have had the same amount of time, if not more time than digital natives.

I did relate to the claim regarding Wikipedia. My entire childhood I was told to never use that website as a source for information by my teachers. They really have given the website a bad reputation. The instances that I have used the website, I found a substantial amount of information that was relatively accurate to the information I found when I would look up “scholarly sources” afterwards.

 

 

Paper 2 Final

Haley Ben Moshe

Werry

RWS 100

22 October 2018

McNamee Analysis

Roger McNamee is an American businessman, investor, venture capitalist, musician, and the author of “I invested early in Google and Facebook. Now they terrify me”. McNamee discusses how he invested in Google and Facebook years before they took off, and he elaborates on how he regrets being an aide in social media’s takeover of everyday life. Do you realize how much time you spend on social media per day? McNamee takes a look at how internet companies are overstepping privacy boundaries, aiding in the spread of fake news, and media manipulation. Many of us do not realize how so many aspects of our lives are being stored and reviewed by internet and social media companies. McNamee’s work hopes to awaken our society to realize our addictions as well as the dangers posed by these companies. In this analysis I will examine and discuss McNamee’s strategies, sources, assumptions and strengths.  

One of McNamee’s strategies includes using authorities or “big names” to establish ethos. McNamee references Google, YouTube, and Netflix when looking to back up his assertions. For example, he mentions “The CEO of Netflix recently noted that his company’s primary competitor is sleep” which supports his idea that we use technology almost 24/7, and that users of these products fail to recognize the signs of addiction (1). I think that the use of authorities and quotes or evidence from these “big names” makes his argument more effective as it creates the groundwork for the ethos within McNamee’s work. Readers tend to believe things that major companies put out into the world, so hearing statistics or quotes from the companies themselves also makes McNamee seem more credible. The big names mentioned are all companies that have a good reputation, so it makes the reader pay closer attention to an author who is questioning the motives of a company that is essentially in good standing. He begins to signal his professional standing within this topic through the title. By telling the audience right from the beginning that he has worked with and invested in these big name companies, they are more inclined to trust what he has to say, thus building upon his ethos. I think the intended effect of this strategy was to not only draw the reader in, but create a sense of recognition. Being able to recognize what the author is talking about makes the reader more comfortable, which in turn makes it easier to relate, and easier for the reader to trust the author. The use of this strategy made it quite effective in helping the author persuade his audience.

A second strategy used by McNamee includes pathos. The author asks us to “Consider a recent story from Australia, where someone at Facebook told advertisers that they had the ability to target teens who were sad or depressed, which made them more susceptible to advertising” (2). By bringing up a story like this, McNamee helps the reader relate in a more realistic sense and have a more emotional appeal. McNamee connects with his readers in an emotional way by invoking concern about how people spend too much time on social media. Emotions such as fear and slight anger or uneasiness are brought forth in his work. Fear is created through his statistical evidence, such as his mention of how often we check our phones a day, or how we are failing to realize the symptoms of our addictions to our smartphones. The discomfort is created through the ideas that the audience has been somewhat tricked by these companies, and they have succumbed to the capitalist aspects of the products that have been sold to them. McNamee hopes to enlighten the world to see the hard truth, and side effects can include anger or uneasiness. This also broadens his audience to both adults as well as teens. If a teen were to read his work, it could potentially make them more aware of the world around them because the issue was directly targeted towards their peers and themselves. This also targets adults, or even parents of teens because this helps inform them of what could potentially be going on in the technological world of their kids. By instilling fear and anger within his audience, these emotions aid in the persuasion to take on McNamee’s stance. Those emotions fuel the audience to think the same way as the author which makes it far easier to persuade. The use of pathos as a strategy really captures the reader and helps form a more personal connection, because the issues noted could directly affect themselves and possibly their loved ones.

McNamee includes several examples in his work. He notes that “A 2013 study found that average consumers check their smartphones 150 times a day” (2). While this serves as a great supportive piece of evidence for his claim that humans are addicted to their smartphones, McNamee fails to properly cite where this statistic is from. Due to the note that this statistic is from a study in 2013, it seems to be slightly outdated. Social media was not as prevalent 5 years ago as it is now. In 2013, the iPhone 5S was released. Today, with the advancements installed in the newest smartphones, people today are probably picking up their phones a lot more than 150 times a day on average because there are now more things that can be done with new technology. The sources that McNamee uses are not properly cited in practically every case, so the audience has no knowledge of whether his evidence is peer reviewed, or even real. The material from his sources, however, seem to accurately fit to support his claims.

An assumption is prevalent in McNamee’s work that go hand in hand with the claims he puts forward. McNamee compares major religions to Facebook and assumes that the audience will live their life according to their exposure to either of those things. Many people follow guidelines of their religion. For instance, if their bible tells them they have sinned, then they believe so. In terms of his comparison to social media, he believes that if social media tells someone that they are popular, they believe it to be true. McNamee generally assumes that social media plays equally as big of a role in the lives of his audience as does a religion.

One of McNamee’s weaknesses includes his assumption that social media and religion essentially run the lives of his audience. Individuals with a religious affiliation are all at varying levels as to how religious they are. Therefore, it is unjust to say that everyone is equally as invested in their social media accounts as some are in their own religions. Some people rarely check their Facebook account and some rarely read their bible. Social media does not elicit standards as to how to live your life while some religions do. It is not right to assume that getting a Facebook account is like being Jewish or Catholic. While the numbers of active Facebook and Google users are comparable to those of Islam or Christianity, it does not mean that every single user lives their life according to those accounts. A religion is a way of life, a set of beliefs, and a system of faith and worship. A social media account is simply a way to connect with the world around us, there is no faith or worship associated whatsoever. This weakness has a negative effect on McNamee’s writing as it can possibly offend some audience members. Some could find it particularly disrespectful to have an author see an Instagram or Facebook account similar to their own religion. This negative assumption created a weakness is McNamee’s work and could have decreased his credibility.

While the world of the internet, social media, and smartphones has taken off, the negative effects have begun to pile up. McNamee argues that the negative side effects are doing more harm than good, and he makes these claims through strategies, assumptions, sources and evidence, and a strength. Those aspects all collided in the formation of his claims and argument within his work.

Works Cited

McNamee, Roger. “I Invested Early in Google and Facebook. Now They Terrify Me.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 10 Aug. 2017, http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/08/08/my-google-and-facebook-investments

-made- fortune-but-now-they-menace/543755001/.

Draft Body Paragraphs

One of McNamee’s strategies includes using authorities or “big names”. McNamee references Google, YouTube, and Netflix when looking to back up his assertions. For example, he mentions “The CEO of Netflix recently noted that his company’s primary competitor is sleep” which supports his idea that we use technology almost 24/7, and that users of these products fail to recognize the signs of addiction (1). I think that the use of authorities and quotes or evidence from these “big names” makes his argument more effective. Readers tend to believe things that major companies put out into the world, so hearing statistics or quotes from the companies themselves also makes McNamee seem more credible. I think the intended effect of this strategy was to not only draw the reader in, but create a sense of recognition. Being able to recognize what the author is talking about makes the reader more comfortable, which in turn makes it easier to relate, and easier for the reader to trust the author. The use of this strategy made it quite effective in helping the author persuade his audience.

A second strategy used by McNamee includes narration. McNamee shares stories that relate to his claim, and this is done in a way that only strengthens his claim. The author asks us to “Consider a recent story from Australia, where someone at Facebook told advertisers that they had the ability to target teens who were sad or depressed, which made them more susceptible to advertising” (2). By bringing up a story like this, McNamee helps the reader relate in a more realistic sense. This also broadens his audience to both adults as well as teens. If a teen were to read his work, it would make them more aware of the world around them because the issue was directly targeted towards their peers and themselves. This also targets adults, or even parents of teens because this helps inform them of what could potentially be going on in the technological world of their kids. This also ties into the strategy previously mentioned, because this story directly mentions a big brand name company that is a part of almost everyone’s everyday life. The use of narration as a strategy really captures the reader and helps form a more personal connection, because the issues noted could directly affect them and possibly their loved ones.

10/16/18

I found it extremely interesting when Golumbia said “Many scholars have argued that the world has grown less democratic since the internet was introduced. It is important at least to consider the possibility that these things are connected” because it seems to be the opposite. I feel as though the world has become more democratic in the political sense. Being an avid social media and internet user, I can easily see some extremely democratic views and ideas being spread like wildfire. I just found that statement interesting.

One of McNamee’s strategies includes using authorities or “big names”. McNamee references Google, YouTube, and Netflix when looking to back up his assertions. For example, he mentions “The CEO of Netflix recently noted that his company’s primary competitor is sleep” which supports his idea that we use technology almost 24/7, and that users of these products fail to recognize the signs of addiction (1). I think that the use of authorities and quotes or evidence from these “big names” makes his argument more effective. Readers tend to believe things that major companies put out into the world, so hearing statistics or quotes from the companies themselves also makes McNamee seem more credible. I think the intended effect of this strategy was to not only draw the reader in, but create a sense of recognition. Being able to recognize what the author is talking about makes the reader more comfortable, which in turn makes it easier to relate, and easier for the reader to trust the author. The use of this strategy made it quite effective in helping the author persuade his audience.

Homework 10/11/18

In Tufekci’s work, he claims that Youtube will recommend more extremist-styled videos to whatever you have watched due to viewers not being “‘hard core’ enough for YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. It promotes, recommends and disseminates videos in a manner that appears to constantly up the stakes” (1).

An appeal that Tufekci uses includes ethos. Tufecki establishes a credibility to his name due to his explanation of his own sort of research. He makes two different youtube accounts and examines how different the recommended videos are depending on what he searches. For example, he found extremist right-sided videos when he watched a video on President Trump, and found extremist left-sided videos when watching some on Bernie Sanders or Hilary Clinton. He uses other examples such as vegetarianism to veganism and a few others. Through these examinations, he takes a look at the algorithms, as well as sources such as the Wall Street Journal. This definitely helps the authors credibility and appeal to ethos.

Roger McNamee’s article appears to claim that social media networks like Facebook, Youtube, and even Google produce only short-term happiness, have negative consequences, and have addictive qualities that the users fail to realize.

An appeal that McNamee uses is logos through his use of recent studies and statistical data. McNamee mentions that a “2013 study found that average consumers check their smartphones 150 times a day” (1), which helps show that humans are on their phones quite a bit since they are checking it so often. He also notes that humans are on Facebook for 50 minutes a day on average, and while this number does not include other social media networks, this goes to show how attached to social media we are. This use of statistical data helps with his credibility as well. So in short, McNamee appears to have an effective appeal to logos as well as ethos.

Public Thinking Final

Haley Ben Moshe

RWS 100

Werry

9 October 2018

“Public Thinking” Analysis

Clive Thompson, the Canadian freelance blogger and journalist has captured the idea of how technology has greatly influenced the world of writing today. Through his work, titled “Public Thinking”, Thompson has fashioned a more positive outlook on today’s generation and their use of technology. There are many controversial opinions on the current generation and how they are addicted to their smartphones. Many believe that children, teens, and young adults today are detached from the outside world, and their knowledge of what is going on around them is either completely wrong, or very limited. American writer Nicholas Carr even argues “our ability to interpret text, to make the rich mental connections that form when we read deeply and without distraction, remains largely disengaged” because of our substantial use of the internet (9). Thompson takes a dramatically different stance, as he believes that we write more, better even, and it is making a difference.

Thompson notes that writing has provided an outlet for people of all ages due to the explosion of writing that has come along with the emergence of the internet and social media. Secondly, Thompson mentions that when we post our writing on the internet, we are essentially posting for an audience, which has substantial benefits to the quality and quantity of the work we produce. Lastly, the writing produced by students has increased greatly in its quality due to the motivation brought on by the internet. In this analysis, I will discuss Thompson’s main claims and analyze the evidence used to assert those claims.

In the past, people rarely wrote for their own enjoyment. Thompson comments that, “before the Internet came along, most people rarely wrote anything at all for pleasure or intellectual satisfaction after graduating from high school or college” (48), which was in part due to people not having an outlet to write for pleasure outside of school or the workplace. Individuals have the opportunity to express themselves or simply discuss topics of interest due to the internet, which has acted a medium to do so. The internet has allowed people of all ages to write more frequently and in larger quantities than ever before. This has proven to be a significant factor in the improvement of writing in young people. Thompson discusses his mother as an example, and how “ she doesn’t use the Internet to express herself; she doesn’t write emails, comment on discussion threads or Facebook, post status updates, or answer questions online” (50). Thompson’s use of a personal anecdote directly enhances his claim and provides a strong form of evidence that the audience could potentially relate to.

Since teens and young adults are writing more than ever, this also affects the quality and quantity of their writing. Thompson claims that writing for an audience has a substantial amount of benefits. The scientifically named “audience effect”, as described by Thompson is essentially the idea that there is a “shift in our performance when we know people are watching” (54). This effect alters the level of work as well as the quality of the work that is posted online. Humans tend to feel as though they need to make their content as good as it possibly can be, and each following post should progressively be better, more entertaining, or simply stronger than the previous posts. The Vanderbilt University experiment, as exemplified by Thompson, is used as his source of evidence to support his claim. This is also aides in the trust of Thompson’s readers, since a university is seen as a prestigious and highly respected institution. The results of this experiment proved that when humans are “asked to write for a real audience of students in another country, students write essays that are substantially longer and have better organization and content than when they’re writing for their teacher” (Thompson 54). The audience effect shows to be beneficiary in the work students and internet-users post. The effect also provides a sense of motivation, some of which was never as present in the lives of those who wrote for enjoyment in the past. Having this newfound sense of motivation puts a small amount of pressure on the writer to produce the best content they possibly can, because after all, their audience can be just about anyone. Thompson brings in the story of Ory Okolloh, a law student from Kenya studying the United States who created a blog. After her blog began to take off, the audience effect began to influence her work. Okolloh states that, “knowing I had these people reading me, I was very self-conscious to build my arguments, back up what I wanted to say. It was very interesting; I got this sense of obligation” (Thompson 46). This serves as just another example as to how posting one’s writing on the internet has created a sense of motivation, and to continue to post better material.

While writing for an audience serves as motivation to create better works of writing, so should school assignments when submitting to teachers. Thompson uses evidence from a college professor at Douglas College in British Columbia who had her students research a topic and post it on Wikipedia. Brenna Clark Grey asserts that her students are often “handing in these short essays without any citations, but with Wikipedia they suddenly were staying up to two a.m. honing and rewriting the entries and carefully sourcing everything,” (Thompson 56). In short, those students put in far more effort than any other assignment simply because it was being posted online for the world to see. If the students had inputted “badly sourced articles”, “the Wikipedians simply deleted them. So the students were forced to go back, work harder, find better evidence, and write more persuasively” (Thompson 56). So why is it that we care more about what other strangers think about our work than our own teachers? Humans are inclined to want approval from everyone. Through psychological motivational theories, we can understand why posting something online for the rest of the world to see can be far more intimidating than one teacher reading our work. Humans want approval from everyone, which is why we put so much thought and effort into everything we post online.

Thompson’s use of statistical data, recent research findings, and examples cultivated from the experiences of real people have all played a role in supporting his claims. These tactics strengthen the text and offer the reader factual evidence that make his claim more believable. Readers typically obtain more of a connection when the text discusses individuals similar to who they are, such as college students in this case. Thompson’s use of evidence, as well as his relevance to the audience has served as a strength. This strength helps gain the trust of the reader which in turn makes it easier to persuade the reader. These tactics help the audience believe that within these claims, the author is on their side. This helps better gain the support and approval of the audience. Thompson often starts with an engaging story, whether that be a law student who gained success with an online blog, or his own mother and her writing habits. After these stories, he often inserts a study or statistical data to support those stories, and establish credibility.

While there are claims, Thompson also notes a rebuttal to an opposing stance. Who is to say that the audience effect is even valid? Thompson addresses the opposing side by asking “is any of this writing good? Well, that depends on your standards, of course” (48). Just because there is more writing being done by teens and young adults does not necessarily mean the content is any good. Thompson supports these rebuttals by using statistics and evidence from well-known sources. The data is a culmination of facts rather than opinions which can skew the argument in a biased direction. However, so what if the content being produced is not any good? Plenty of writing is not good, and it is unfair to hold today’s writing to the highest possible standard. Whether it be in the past, now, or 10 years from now, there is always going to be a substantial amount of poor writing, and the internet has no effect on this. Even if a large sum of writing on the internet is bad, at least people today are writing far more as opposed to the amount produced in the past. Any and all improvements in the quantity of writing produced should be welcomed aside from the quality of it. The internet provides an outlet to express your own feelings as well as a place to anonymously have your voice heard. Having such a medium has proven to be a tremendous help in socialization amongst young people as well as mental health.

The internet has dramatically changed the how we write today, as well as the quantity of writing. The internet has served as an outlet to express oneself, as well as helped the quality of writing in young people today. Thompson has noted these advantages of the internet through his work titled “Public Thinking”. Thompson’s use of statistics, formal evidence, the personal experience of others, and overall claims have shown great support for the internet in the writing of teens and young adults. Overall, I have learned that the internet has only helped individuals in their writing, including college students like me. I have experienced many of the claims Thompson expresses, especially the audience effect, and it goes to show that humans today are progressing in a positive direction in the form of writing.

Works Cited

Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 13 June 2018.

Thompson, Clive. Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the

Better. The Penguin Press, 2013.