ROUGH rough Draft #3

In her article, Boyd claims that students don’t understand what they’re reading on the internet and students nowadays tend to read the first response their given on the internet and believe it. This may be because students aren’t able to comprehend what they’re reading because they don’t receive the skills such as digital literacy skills during their primary education. In the Open University Applied Linguistics and Literacies (ALL) Research Groups’ article “Critical Digital Literacy Is Vital for Education Today” the author Liz Ellis focuses on discussing why it is so important to be learning how to comprehend what we’re reading. Ellis expands on Boyds argument and provides more information on one of her main topics that since social media is one of the main sources that people get their information from, most of it may be “fake news” and it has become a panic. She says that “Much of this focus has been on the underlying technology, and particularly the algorithms which create the experience people have of using it, and how this is having an impact on the way news is consumed and shared.” (Ellis) What she means by this is that, the algorithms the major search browsers use create the way people are encountering the information. Due to the fact that these algorithms are biased and they don’t provide the most reliable news, means that people are not getting the most correct information. If people were taught how to analyze and recognize that the information they were reading is most likely untrue then we wouldn’t consistently have the problem of “fake news” being spread around.

Boyd also speaks upon how students have grown up and are taught throughout their lives to never use Wikipedia because “anybody can edit or write what they want”. Boyd refutes these teachers by saying “Wikipedia provides an ideal context for engaging youth to interrogate their sources and understand how information is produced.” (Boyd) Additionally, Madison Malone- Kircher from New York Magazine sees eye to eye with Boyd in her article “Your Middle School Teacher Was Wrong About Wikipedia”. She expands upon how research has been done on Wikipedia and “only 7 percent of all Wikipedia edits are considered vandalism; that is, spam or edits designed to intentionally trick or misinform a reader” (Malone- Kircher). Both Boyd and Madison touch base on how since people are able to update it frequently and whenever they want, Wikipedia could possibly be the most up to date encyclopedia there is today.

 

November 13th HW

I think the path i’m choosing to take for the Unit 3 paper is path #4, the path that work’s on extending, illustrating, or challenging the argument that Boyd makes where young people aren’t being taught “critical digital literacy”. I plan to visit many different sites and sources to find the most credible of either what people are teaching the young generation, what people think we should teach them, and maybe what we shouldn’t teach.

Some websites I found are

Most of these websites focus on critical digital literacy, which is Boyd’s main claim. Some  discuss the framework for what we should teach, why we should teach these, and outcomes for students when they know these skills. One specific quote that relates to Boyd is off of the site from The Open University when they say, “… with people believing that a full 80% of the news they read online is biased. And the same pattern exists in the UK, with less than a quarter of the population trusting social media as an accurate source for the news.”

November 8th Extra Credit

“Why Students Cant Google Their Way to the Truth” Summary/ Notes

  • Authors are Sam Wineburg, a professor in the Stanford Graduate School, and Sarah McGrew a doctorate student at Stanford.
  • The overall argument is that we need to be smarter about what we think is true on the internet
  • They state that although some people think the younger generation is better at finding out what’s true, we are not because by looking things up on the internet, most of the time the information is incorrect
  • They use research studies and their results from Stanford and Northwestern University to assert their argument
  • The claim that we blindly trust the search engine to put the most reliable results first
  • They discuss what fast- checkers are and what they do
    • Landing on an unfamiliar site, the first thing checkers did was to leave it
    • Fast checkers know its not about “About”
    • Fast checkers look past the order of search results

Nov 6th

Boyd’s main argument in It’s Complicated is that we are not born into the understanding and knowledge of technology just because the time we were born. She describes that just because the generation now is tech savvy, doesn’t necessarily mean that every single child knows how to use technology. She uses examples of finding younger kids that didn’t know the difference between a web browser and the internet and other major claims to assert her overall argument.

Some of her main claims that she’s uses to assert her argument is that we have become digital natives, we need to learn how to comprehend what were reading, and Wikipedia isn’t simply a product of knowledge; it’s also a record of the process by which people share and demonstrate knowledge.

One of the things in the article I am interested in researching more about is the algorithms. Being that I’ve never heard this term before and she states “But algorithms are fundamental to how many computational systems, including Google, work.” interests me. I would further like to understand what this means and how these search engines like Google work and use “algorithms.

Nov. 1st

I found this article to be interesting because she touches on how teens these days are thought to automatically know how to use technology and understand the different in’s and out’s that come with it which I find so true. Another thing she brought up that I found to be interesting was “By 2011, 95 percent of American teenagers had some form of access to the internet, whether at home or at school” which I found to be crazy but well understandable, being that middle schools and high schools are now sending their students home with iPads or personal computers to do their work on.

Being that this article is based on technology and social media and how people use it Boyd’s main claims are evolved around these subjects. One of her main claims is that teens need to become media literate and know the skills on how to ask questions and how to critically think about what were seeing. Another claim is that “Wikipedia provides an ideal context for engaging youth to interrogate their sources and under- stand how information is produced.” she discusses how teacher tell their students to stay clear of wikipedia because the sources are not credible and anyone can change the information, making it most likely “untrue”, however she thinks that Wikipedia can help us in understanding how people produce knowledge.

Paper 2 ROUGH Draft

Sydney George

Professor Werry

RWS 100

30 October 2018

Title of Your Report

Have you ever gotten a sudden rush of excitement or happiness when you receive a notification on social media or when you feel your phone vibrate? This is because social media triggers a chemical compound, called dopamine, to be released into our neurons giving us the same rush as when humans use drugs, alcohol, and other dangerous addictive behaviors. Roger McNamee, a businessman, investor, venture capitalist, musician,q ex Facebook employee, and the managing director and co- founder of Elevation Partners, argues in his article called, “I invested early in Google and Facebook. Now they terrify me.” that social media companies have become a “menace to public health and democracy,” and consumers will have to force them to change. In this essay I will identify and examine McNamee’s rhetorical strategies, analyze his assumptions, discuss a strength or weakness, and examine one of the sources he applies to his argument.

Throughout his article, McNamee asserts his main claims with credible evidence and statistics in order to portray logos to strategically persuade his audience. He uses different research studies and their results, facts on social media, and personal anecdotes to assert his claim. He states “The Facebook application has 2 billion active users around the world. Google’s YouTube has 1.5 billion. These numbers are comparable to Christianity and Islam, respectively, giving Facebook and Google influence greater than most First World countries.” Choosing to use this statistic provides a vision and idea for the audience to understand how many people statistically use social media and how many people he claims it is affecting. McNamee’s use of this fact is strategic because, by providing evidence for the readers to understand the concept more clearly, they will be more likely to agree with him, opposed to someone who doesn’t know and can’t understand how many people are actually being affected. This strategy is effective because with the understanding and explanation about the concept it may become confusing to the audience and push them away from even finishing the article. McNamee’s choice of facts and statistics help us understand where he is coming from and it allows us to be able to be persuaded and agree with his argument.

Additionally Mcnamee also uses strategies such as word choice, and credibility in order to persuade his audience using ethos. Word choice is effective in an argument because by using certain words and phrases, they can influence people more. From the start stating “I invested in Google and Facebook years before their first revenue and profited enormously,” immediately establishes that being an ex Facebook worker, he most likely has correct information on the company and that he can be trusted. Including this quote is strategic because being that he was employed with Facebook and isn’t someone on the outside bashing on their company tells the reader that the stories, facts, and evidence are most likely correct and not made up. Another strategy McNamee uses in order to persuade us is word choice. Including words and phrases such as, “Like gambling, nicotine, alcohol or heroin, Facebook and Google — most importantly through its YouTube subsidiary — produce short-term happiness with serious negative consequences in the long term.” is very powerful because choosing to use this phrase and choice of words introduces the topic that social media is just like these dangerous addictive behaviors. Both of the strategies McNamee used in his article for ethos, word choice and credibility, assert his claims immensely as they are both effective in changing someone views on a topic.

In McNamee’s article he refers to many different sources to provide evidence for where he is getting his information for his statements. One source he uses, The Washington Post, is embedded in his statement that “Google also is analyzing credit card records of millions of people.” Being that The Washington Post is one of Washington D.C.’s newspaper companies and is highly credible and reliable, it was a great choice for McNamee to refer to for evidence. This article, “Google now knows when its users go to the store and buy stuff” expands upon his statement that Google is keeping track of our credit cards by describing that by keeping track of customers web history it was increasing sales for products that were being promoted and although there is benefits for keeping track of the history it is also found to be too intimate and breaching of our personal privacy. McNamee’s choice for using this source to prove his argument was chosen very well and it makes his article stronger and more credible by showing the support of reliable sources.

One major assumption McNamee assumes throughout the article is that his audience are composed of active users of social media and users of modern technology. Although it may be true that “tech touches us from the moment we wake up until we go to sleep” for the majority but is not necessarily true for the entirety of his audience. By assuming this, he is also assuming that everyone uses social media from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. Also, he never addresses the potential part of the audience that doesn’t use social media and how just technology is affecting them. Although McNamee does assume this about his audience, being that the vast majority does use technology and social media both, it does relate to many people across the world.

One major weakness in McNamee’s article is that he doesn’t discuss a rebuttal such as the benefits of social media and technology. Addressing the opposing side to his argument that social media has benefits, like staying in contact, marketing, advertising, and many other things, would make his argument stronger. If he would have addressed the other side and analyzed it, it would show the audience why he outweighs the faults over the benefits and he could possibly explain why he thinks the way he does. If McNamee were to address a rebuttal I feel as if his argument would be even more persuasive than it is right now.

Being that more than half of the world’s population uses social media and technology, McNamee’s article is very beneficial. Overall, I found the article to be very persuasive, interesting, and reliable. Now knowing these different facts, and information from the inside of these countries, it has led me to want to use it less and spend more quality time with the people around me face- to face- rather through an addictive smartphone. McNamee’s intentions of making a change to these companies and how they are run could very well be executed just by this article.

 

Works Cited

Brookshire, Bethany. “What Is Dopamine for, Anyway? Love, Lust, Pleasure, Addiction?” Slate Magazine, Slate, 3 July 2013, slate.com/technology/2013/07/what-is-dopamine-love-lust-sex-addiction-gambling-motivation-reward.html.

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/.

 

Paper 2 Body Paragraphs

Throughout his article, McNamee asserts his claims with credible evidence and statistics in order to portray logos to strategically persuade his audience. He uses different research studies, facts on social media, and anecdotes to backup his claim. He states “The Facebook application has 2 billion active users around the world. Google’s YouTube has 1.5 billion. These numbers are comparable to Christianity and Islam, respectively, giving Facebook and Google influence greater than most First World countries.” By using this statistic it provides a vision of how many people actually use social media which shows how many people he thinks it is affecting. This statistic is strategic because by providing it, it provides evidence, and it allows the audience to understand what he means when he talks about tons of people being affected. Another quote is “Facebook and Google get their revenue from advertising, the effectiveness of which depends on gaining and maintaining consumer attention.” This quote gives a foundation to relate to because the average person most likely would not know this and being that he was involved in the company it provides a support for his claim. McNamee’s choice of facts and statistics help us understand where he is coming from and it allows us to be able to be persuaded and agree with his argument.

Additionally Mcnamee also uses strategies such as word choice, and credibility in order to persuade his audience using ethos. Starting off his article with “I invested in Google and Facebook years before their first revenue and profited enormously,” immediately establishes that being an ex Facebook worker, he most likely has correct information on the company and that he can probably be trusted. Including this quote is strategic because being that he was employed with Facebook and isn’t someone on the outside bashing on their company tells the reader that the stories, facts, and evidence are most likely correct and not made up. Another strategy McNamee uses in order to persuade us is word choice. Including words and phrases such as, “Like gambling, nicotine, alcohol or heroin, Facebook and Google — most importantly through its YouTube subsidiary — produce short-term happiness with serious negative consequences in the long term.” is very powerful because choosing to use this phrase and choice of words introduces the topic that social media is just like these dangerous addictive behaviors. Choice of words can be very powerful in persuading because it grabs the readers attention, and just by reading one word or one sentence can make a large effect in someones opinion. Both of the strategies McNamee used in his article for ethos, word choice and credibility, assert his claims immensely as they are both effective in changing someone views on a topic.

 

HW 10/16

What I found to be most interesting in Columbia’s article is that he focuses a lot on the Middle East and uses places like Arabia and Egypt for examples. This is also pretty surprising too because we can’t relate to it as well as if it were a US story or statistic.

Golumbia uses a vast amount of evidence to argue that social media has hijacked our brains. He uses many different examples such as statistic and anecdotes to assert his side of the story. However, I don’t find the evidence too persuasive as most of his examples are based upon the Middle East and other third world countries, which are hard to relate too being that we live very differently. He uses examples referring to the Arab Spring, Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries. If he was really trying to get us to back up his point of view I would suggest for him to use examples from the US or maybe even countries like Australia where it would be easier for Americans to understand and follow.

Tufecki and McNamee Texts

In Tufecki’s article one claim she asserted was that youtube recommender algorithm has a bias toward inflammatory content. What she means by this is that youtube is keeping track of what we’re watching and by that the website recommends videos related to our watch and search history’s. One appeal she uses is pathos as she connects to our emotions. As an example she relates Youtube to a unhealthy restaurant where they keep refilling your needs with fatty sugary food. She also comments on children, and dating back children are always our main worry, but by mentioning that its dangerous to children will affect the readers.

In McNamee’s text one claim he discussed was that Facebook and Google use techniques from gambling to exploit human nature and create addictive behavior. This claim in the first place is eye opening being that most of the general public is oblivious to these things and McNamee being an ex worker within these companies, he actually knows what he’s talking about and this information is most likely correct. The main appeal he uses was pathos as he connects greatly to our emotions. Throughout his article he uses harsh diction such as comparing these websites to nicotine, heroin, and gambling, all addictive habits that most likely scares his readers.

 

Public Thinking Final Draft

Sydney George

Werry

RWS 100

09 October 2018

Is the Internet and Social Media Hurting or Helping this Generation?

When you have a conversation with people nowadays about technology and social media, most people might say they love it and its necessary for everyday life, and some people may say, it’s bad for our brains, or even that its taking over the world. Clive Thompson, a blogger, and journalist for New York Times Magazine, Wired, Fast Company, Mother Jones and Smithsonian, agrees with the vast majority in his book called “Smarter Than You Think” written in 2013. In one chapter of his book called “Public Thinking” he asserts that “The Internet has produced a foaming Niagara of writing” (Thompson, 46). His main argument throughout the chapter is that technology has influenced the way the younger generation writes and how it has increased public writing. In this essay I will evaluate Thompsons main claims and arguments and how effective they are, I will discuss the rebuttals he addresses, and lastly I will analyze his strengths and weaknesses.

One of Thompson’s claims that he presents is that writing has dramatically increased from the creation of the internet and throughout the generations. In “Public Thinking,” he explains that before we had social media and the internet, most people focused on reading rather than writing and writing was not as common. Now that social media and the internet have been created and are favored more by the younger generation, writing has become just as popular as reading has but is used in many different forms. He supports his claim that writing wasn’t as popular with an anecdote from his mother as he asked her how many times she had written something more than a paragraph long in the past year, and she responds with “Oh, never! I sign my name on checks or make lists- that’s it.” (50) and then follows with, “You could probably take all the prose she’s generated since she left high school in 1952 and fit it in a single file folder.” (50). This anecdote he chose to use communicates that since most of the older age tends to rarely use technology and social media, they do not write nearly as much as the younger generations do, due to the fact that most of our writing is done on the internet. Thompson may have added this anecdote to give the chapter a personal touch but he most likely added it to create a connection between the reader and him as the writer. The specific anecdote he uses is very powerful in persuading us for his argument as it allows us to connect personally through a story rather than a common statistic or fact. An additional example Thompson provides to back up this claim is statistics on how much we use the internet and social media daily. Thompson states that “we compose 154 billion emails, more than 500 million tweets on Twitter and over 1 million blog posts and 1.3 million blog comments on WordPress alone.” (46-47). Thompson reveals that these are only averages for one day, which might be shocking and outrageous to millenials as most people don’t realize how much we actually write on a day to day basis. The statistical data he provides, communicates to us what we actually write as a population and that the internet has provided us a source to do many different things, but by providing this statistic it also gives us a glimpse of real data that most likely no one would know off the top of their head. Most importantly this data he chose to use is relevant towards his claim, making it easier for the reader to understand and connect that the internet has dramatically increased throughout the generations. Overall, without the advanced technology we have and the internet, we would not write nearly as much as we do in our everyday lives.

Additionally Thompson presents that writing has cognitive benefits, it can clarify your thinking and improve your memory. Thompson states that writing can clarify our thinking because by writing these thoughts down, it allows us to expand on the idea and think more about them resulting in a clearer, better idea. He says that “By putting half- formed thoughts on a page, we externalize them and are able to evaluate them more objectively” (Thompson 51). What he means by this is that if we just keep the ideas in our heads we are not able to visualize and think upon it because of the overwhelming thoughts going through our brains at once. The motion of writing it down allows us to focus directly and create a better, more precise idea. This example he provides clarifies what he means and makes it easier for the reader to understand what he is arguing, making it easier for the reader to be influenced into his stance on the argument. Similarly, Thompson also argues that writing improves our memory because when we write about things we remember more about them. The evidence he provides for this portion of the claim is an experiment done in 1978 by two psychologists, who tested people to see how well they could remember words that they’d written down versus words that they just read. The results from the study came out that people could remember the words that they wrote down better than the ones they read, concluding that we’re better able to retain information from writing it which helps us in our everyday lives, retaining more now, than ever before (Thompson 57). By providing these research results it allows Thompson to provide real life data for the reader to follow but it also gives the reader a reason to question why he would use a study done from 40 years ago. Being said, the results are ultimately more beneficial because using a credible resource provides the readers a reason to believe he is accurate. Concluding that, both of these claims pertain effectively to Thompson’s argument because by writing on the internet it is actually improving our brain and strengthening it rather than hurting it as some people may think.

Lastly, one of Thompson’s biggest claims is that writing for an audience, both big and small, has benefits and helps writing become more precise. He discusses that when people know they’re writing or even performing for an audience their work tends to be better, because people are afraid of what other people think about them so they do the best work they can. Thompson asserts this by saying “I’d argue that the cognitive shift in going from an audience of zero (talking to yourself) to an audience of ten people (a few friends or random strangers checking out your online post) is so big that it’s actually huger than going from ten people to a million people.” (Thompson 56). What he means by this is that no matter how small of an audience it is, just transitioning from writing for yourself, to writing for a group people has a greater effect because you start to write more efficiently by making everything better and more precise because we want to impress our audience. This is because no matter what we’re doing, if we are doing it in front of other people, rather than just ourselves, we want to do our best so we don’t look like a fool. Another piece of evidence he provides is an anecdote about Ory Okolloh, a Kenyan- born law student, who had never written for an audience, and created a blog about Kenyan corruption, which ended up becoming very popular. She states “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). By providing this story it shows that until you actually write for an audience you don’t realize how important it is even in everyday life. This anecdote it effective in his argument because he uses it in the very beginning of the chapter opening his argument with a way for the reader to be influenced from a real life story rather than a plain fact. Furthermore, just like anything else such as sports, or a play, writing is just as important when performing in front of an audience, it pushes people to do better and create their best work.

Someone is always going to have an opposing opinion of what you think no matter what you’re talking about, and Thompson discusses some opposing arguments, called rebuttals, to his claims, in his argument. In this chapter he addresses a rebuttal that people think “college students can’t write as well as in the past.” This rebuttal he discusses about college students not writing as well or being thought of lazy was opposed by Andrea Lunsford, a Stanford English professor whose one of America’s leading researchers, where she states “today’s freshmen- comp essays are over six times longer than they were back then and also generally more complex” (Thompson, 66). This quote addresses to us that what people think of the younger generation is mostly wrong which could be applied to the subjects of us using the internet and social media. This can be related to how the older generation thinks that social media is ruining our brains and making us robots, which could be opposed by many people including Thompson. By discussing these rebuttals it portrays that what Thompson is saying does have opposing sides to it and it allows us to be able to disagree with him without feeling wrong, but they also make his argument stronger by showing us that he understands the opposing sides.

As you read Thompsons, “Public Thinking” you may find yourself agreeing with what he is saying or believing his story. This may be because you have the same position as him on these matters or it may be because he is using one of his major strengths, his credible evidence. Throughout Thompson’s article he uses various types of evidence with authoritative credibility from sources such as Universities Research, or connectable stories to back up his arguments in forms of examples or statistics. For example, when he speaks upon the audience effect, after explaining it he follows it up with results from an experiment done by Vanderbilt University on small children, and also another experiment with college students. By providing two different experiments done it provides us two different sides that have the same results, giving us a reason to believe it is true and credible. Another example is that he provides an incredible amount of statistics in the beginning of his article, which starts his argument off strong drawing his readers in to believe and help take his side of the argument. Without his credible examples, evidence, and statistics it would be harder to agree with him, believe his stories or claims and also his argument would not be as strong as it is.

On the other hand, Thompsons article isn’t perfect as he lacks in some areas, specifically his uses of examples, as he doesn’t provide details to back them up or relate to his argument. Throughout his argument he provides statistics, examples, and facts and then leaves them without giving detail on why it pertains to his argument or what the purpose is of it. An example of this is when he speaks upon the United Kingdom and their peak letter- writing years and how the United States’ writing of letters expanded when the United States Postal Service made sending mail cheaper. After introducing this story and expanding upon it for a whole paragraph he provides no connection to his argument and it is somewhat confusing. When stories and examples are just thrown in like this it not only confuses the reader but it isn’t a good strategy if he is trying to convince us. Although he does this, I still thought his strengths outweigh his weaknesses and I found his argument convincing.

After reading “Public Thinking” it has opened my eyes into what the internet and social media can actually do for us like, clarify our thinking, improve our memories, and it has taught me how the creation of the internet has influenced us to write more than we would ever expect. His evidence and claims had led me to agree with his argument strongly. Throughout my life growing up in this generation I have always been told that I was going to have eye issues from staring at a screen, or not be able to communicate because we only communicate through our phones, but by reading Thompson’s argument I can now confidently backfire some research and statistical data that the internet and social media are actually helping this generation and even the others rather than hurting.

 

Works Cited

Thompson, Clive. Smarter than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better. The Penguin Press, 2014.

Thompson, Clive. “Bio.” Clive Thompson, 14 Apr. 2016, clivethompson.net/bio/.