Essay 3 Final Paper

Deegan Roecker

Professor Werry

RWS100

10 December 2018

Final Paper

With the implementation of computers, social media, even cell phones, and their constant evolution in the world today, everyone of all ages is always trying to keep up and adapt to these changes. Regardless of age or what technology they grew up with, people still must learn how to be digitally literate. Danah Boyd argues this point further, by challenging the stereotypes of “digital natives,” the term for young millennials born into an age of technology, and “digital immigrants,” the term for older generations that have had to adapt to technology. She disagrees with the idea that digital natives are automatically well-equipped and tech-savvy, because many millennials and young people must in fact learn the ropes to technology. She also challenges the idea that digital immigrants are so out of touch with technology that they can never be natives and they will always be one step behind the natives because they didn’t grow up using technology. Although this may be true for some, many adults and older people are actually better adapted to technology than younger people. This conversation is very popular among many authors, and this essay will agree with and extend Boyd’s claims by drawing on outside sources that discuss this same topic. 

Danah Boyd makes many great and original claims in her chapter, “Are today’s youth digital natives?” One in particular stood out to me, which is her argument that the distinctions between generations of digital literacy should not matter or even be a discussion. In the first paragraph of this chapter she calls out the uselessness of the rhetoric of “digital natives,” and says this term is actually “often a distraction to understanding the challenges that youth face in a networked world” (Boyd 176). She is arguing that this term does not do anything to actually define youth or their technical abilities, but actually serves as a distraction to the fact that there are many young people that are not well equipped with technology. She continues, “being exposed to information or imagery through the internet and engaging with social media do not make someone a savvy interpreter of the meaning behind these artifacts” (Boyd 177). There is an important difference between simply using the internet and actually understanding the makings and workings of it. Just because these newer generations are growing up around technology, it does not automatically determine their level of expertise with the internet or different mediums.

Just as one should not assume that the youth are automatically tech-savvy, she states “it is also naive to assume that so-called digital immigrants have nothing to offer” (Boyd 177). Boyd also makes an important point that there is no magical relation between skills and age, meaning one’s digital literacy does not depend on one’s age, but it depends on their willingness and means to learn. Just as digital natives must learn and adapt to new technologies, digital immigrants must do the same if they wish to be digitally literate in this fast-moving world. To sum up all her points, she closes with the statement, “Becoming literate in a networked age requires hard work, regardless of age” (Boyd 177). This sentence embodies this claim perfectly, because she combats both the ideas of “digital natives” and “digital immigrants” being unimportant and unnecessary while also adding that it doesn’t come easy to anyone, everyone must work to become digitally literate. 

Many other authors also have opinions on the conversation of digital immigrants and digital natives, some of which disagree with Boyd. Nigel Coutts challenges Boyd’s argument that these terms given to different generations might actually be worthy of some conversation and debate. He mentions Marc Prensky, and how many people have bashed his ideas, but claims that “it is worth re-visiting and seeing how the idea might evolve to better serve our needs and understandings of how people born after the internet, learn with and think about, technology” (Coutts). First, he discusses how digital natives, as described by Prensky, seem to come from a world of fast-paced gaming and MTV. He also says that, “students who are happy to use technology to message their friends but fail to see the utility, that same technology can bring to their learning” are becoming a big group that needs to be reminded they have the world in their pockets (Coutts). This is very true in today’s world, young people seem tech-savvy because they can navigate Google and their social networks, but this could be expanded so much more because there is so much more to technology. Another interesting point is that digital natives should be able to combine their digital literacy with past experiences to collaborate in exciting ways, but they don’t because they are so young and don’t have much experience. He makes an important and new point that technology does not always mean in a classroom or work setting, but many “digital natives” are in fact digitally intelligent on things like video games. He claims that digital natives “rely on instant gratification from game play but lack the required grit and resilience to move forward when this is lacking,” and that they instead should be “shown how to learn and how to use their digital tools for learning” (Coutts). This challenges Boyd’s claims by arguing that digital natives may not be universally tech-savvy in terms of work, but most of them do know a thing or two about video games, and this knowledge should be transformed into real digital literacy. If they used this knowledge in a work setting, they would be much more useful and be respected by older people. 

Although people tend to think that younger people, or digital natives, are naturally more in-touch with technology because of when they were born, Coutts agrees with Boyd on the fact that this is not always the case. He writes, “The reality is that it is not one’s age which determines one’s level of engagement with technology but one’s disposition towards it” (Coutts). Many older generations are actually quite up to date when it comes to technology, because they want to be or because their work forces them to be. Other people may choose not to get on the bandwagon of using the internet for everything, but that is their choice. This does not mean that digital immigrants are unable to adapt or learn, however. Coutts even admits that, “some of the most successful integrators of technology I have encountered are (in my politest voice) ‘older members’ of the profession” (Coutts). This further extends Boyd’s argument that their generation does not determine level of knowledge on technology. Although he seems to stand behind the idea of digital natives, Coutts is giving them the chance to prove him wrong. He believes that teenagers only care about video games and texting their friends, but doesn’t believe that this can never change. He wants them to be aware of the technology and information they are missing out on, and become digitally literate, just like his digital immigrant friends. Nigel Coutts and Danah Boyd both claim that digital natives can be out of touch with technology, and both digital immigrants and digital natives can actually adapt and learn about technology if they wish to and put effort in.

Another article, written by Ofer Zur and Azzia Walker, agrees with Boyd’s argument about how the terms digital natives and digital immigrants should not be used to determine different generations and their relationships with technology. They further her claims that digital natives can be out of touch with technology, while digital immigrants can actually be in touch. Although they agree with Boyd’s claims, they also extend her ideas by adding different subcategories of digital immigrants and digital natives. The three subcategories of digital immigrants are “avoiders, reluctant adopters, and enthusiastic adopters” (Zur). Going back to Coutts’ article, these subcategories are based upon one’s disposition towards technology. If they want to use technology, they will enthusiastically adopt it, while people who don’t want to use technology will instead avoid it. It is interesting that this article goes more into detail about Boyd’s ideas, and further extends these terms and how they can apply to different people underneath these terms. Although Boyd claims that these terms aren’t necessary or even applicable, this article added to this and made subcategories to tend to every person in these groups. Even though people assume digital immigrants are so out of touch with technology that they most likely avoid the use of it, it is interesting that some older people do actually learn and use technology.  Similarly, there are older people that are enthusiastic to use and learn technology, and simply people that reluctantly give in, whether it be because of work, school, or boredom. No matter the age, technology can be accessible to everyone, depending on one’s disposition and will power to use it. 

This article also talks about how digital natives have three subcategories, which are “avoiders, minimalists, and enthusiastic participants” (Zur). Although young people tend to love and thrive on technology (the enthusiastic participants), there are people who are more hesitant and either choose to use it a minimal amount, or not at all. It is interesting that there are young people out there that don’t live on their computers or phones, but choose to not indulge in it at all. Contrary to what most people think, there are young people that have grown up with technology that actually don’t care to use it at all, or even just as minimal as possible. For most, it is almost impossible to avoid while being in schools with smart boards, iPads, and online homework, but many people surprisingly choose to stray from this and stick to the use of a notebook and pencil. Although this article goes more into depth on the kind of digital immigrants and digital natives there are, it still agrees with Boyd’s argument that there are very different kinds of people in each of these terms. No matter what generation they were born in, there are still natives that wish to avoid technology, and there are immigrants that choose to adopt it.  This article adds new, interesting, and pressing points that extend Boyd’s arguments, as well as build upon them.

I strongly agree with these positions, because I have experienced these different claims in real life. Before I read these, it was easy to assume, as for probably everyone, that these terms of digital natives and digital immigrants were accurate, simply because of one’s age and generation. From my experience with technology, it is easy to assume that younger people are naturally more equipped with it because they were born into it. Similarly, older people naturally seem more out of touch because they weren’t born into a generation with technology, but they instead are forced to adapt and learn.  After reading these sources, I have a better understanding of the terms “digital natives” and “digital immigrants,” and their uselessness in actually determining one’s digital literacy. I have met many young people that know how to work social media and video games, but really do not know anything about the internet or how it works. On the other hand, I also know many young people that are fascinated by the inner workings of technology and have learned how to code and truly understand technology. Similarly, I have met many older people that have willingly adapted to using technology in everyday life, whether it is for work or for fun. Then there are people like my parents who use Facebook, and that is the end to their digital literacy skills. Although many older people are not very tech-savvy, I believe this has more to do with their curiosity and desire to know rather than their inability to adapt or understand. After reading these sources and getting a grasp for what being digitally literate truly means, I understand that obtaining that requires hard work, regardless of age. 

Works Cited

Boyd, Danah. It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. Yale University Press, 2015.

Coutts, Nigel. “Revisiting Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.” The Learner’s Way, 18 Oct. 2015, thelearnersway.net/ideas/2015/10/18/revisiting-digital-natives-digital-immigrants.

Zur, Ofer, and Azzia Walker. “On Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives: How the Digital Divide Affects Families, Educational Institutions, and the Workplace.” Record Keeping Guidelines in Private Psychotherapy and Counseling Practice, by Ofer Zur, Ph.D., Offered by the Zur Institute for Psychologists, MFTs, SWs, Nurses and Counselors, www.zurinstitute.com/digital_divide.html.

Essay 3 Rough Draft

With the implementation of technology and its constant evolution in the world today, everyone of all ages is always trying to keep up and adapt to these changes. Regardless of age or what technology they grew up with, people still must learn how to be digitally literate. Danah Boyd argues this point further, by challenging the stereotypes of “digital natives,” the term for young millennials born into an age of technology, and “digital immigrants,” the term for older generations that have had to adapt to technology. She disagrees with the idea that digital natives are automatically well-equipped and tech-savvy, because many millennials and young people must in fact learn the ropes to technology. She also combats the idea that digital immigrants are so out of touch with technology that they can never be natives, they will always be one step behind the natives because they didn’t grow up using technology. Although this may be true for some, many adults and older people are actually better adapted to technology than younger people. This conversation is very popular among many authors, and this essay will outline the many different opinions and feelings these authors have towards digital literacy across different generations. 

Danah Boyd makes many great and original claims in her chapter, “Are today’s youth digital natives?” One in particular stood out to me, which is her argument that the distinctions between generations of digital literacy should not matter or even be a discussion. In the first paragraph of this chapter she calls out the uselessness of the rhetoric of “digital natives,” and says this term is actually “often a distraction to understanding the challenges that youth face in a networked world” (Boyd 176). She is arguing that this term does not do anything to actually define youth or their technical abilities, but actually serves as a distraction to the fact that there are many young people that are not well equipped with technology. She continues, “being exposed to information or imagery through the internet and engaging with social media do not make someone a savvy interpreter of the meaning behind these artifacts” (Boyd 177). There is an important difference between simply using the internet and actually understanding the makings and workings of it. Just because these newer generations are growing up around technology, it does not automatically determine their level of expertise with the internet or different mediums. Just as one should not assume that the youth are automatically tech-savvy, she states “it is also naive to assume that so-called digital immigrants have nothing to offer” (Boyd 177). Boyd also makes an important point that there is no magical relation between skills and age, meaning one’s digital literacy does not depend on one’s age, but it depends on their willingness and means to learn. To sum up all her points, she closes with the statement, “Becoming literate in a networked age requires hard work, regardless of age” (Boyd 177). This sentence embodies this claim perfectly, because she combats both the ideas of “digital natives” and “digital immigrants” being unimportant and unnecessary while also adding that it doesn’t come easy to anyone, everyone must work to become digitally literate. 

Many other authors also have opinions on the conversation of digital immigrants and digital natives, some of which agree with Boyd. Nigel Coutts extends Boyd’s argument that these terms given to different generation are in fact not realistic and do not accurately represent a whole generation of people. He makes an important and new point that technology does not always mean in a classroom or work setting, but many “digital natives” are in fact digitally intelligent on things like video games. He claims that digital natives “rely on instant gratification from game play but lack the required grit and resilience to move forward when this is lacking,” and that they instead should be “shown how to learn and how to use their digital tools for learning” (Coutts). This furthers and extends Boyd’s claims by arguing that digital natives may not be universally tech-savvy in terms of work, but most of them do know a thing or two about video games. If they used this knowledge in a work setting, they would be much more useful and be respected by older people. 

Although people tend to think that younger people, or digital natives, are naturally more in-touch with technology because of when they were born, Coutts agrees with Boyd on the fact that this is not always the case. He writes, “The reality is that it is not one’s age which determines one’s level of engagement with technology but one’s disposition towards it” (Coutts). Many older generations are actually quite up to date when it comes to technology, because they want to be or because their work forces them to be. Other people may choose not to get on the bandwagon of using the internet for everything, but that is their choice. This does not mean that digital immigrants are unable to adapt or learn, however. Coutts even admits that, “some of the most successful integrators of technology I have encountered are (in my politest voice) ‘older members’ of the profession” (Coutts). This further extends Boyd’s argument that their generation does not determine level of knowledge on technology. Nigel Coutts and Danah Boyd both claim that digital natives can be out of touch with technology, and digital immigrants can actually adapt and learn about technology if they wish to.

Another article, written by Ofer Zur and Azzia Walker, agrees with Boyd’s argument about how the terms digital natives and digital immigrants should not be used to determine different generations and their relationships with technology. They further her claims that digital natives can be out of touch with technology, while digital immigrants can actually be in touch. Although they agree with Boyd’s claims, they also extend her ideas by adding different subcategories of digital immigrants and digital natives. The three subcategories of digital immigrants are “avoiders, reluctant adopters, and enthusiastic adopters” (Zur). Going back to Coutts’ article, these subcategories are based upon one’s disposition towards technology. If they want to use technology, they will enthusiastically adopt it, while people who don’t want to use technology will instead avoid it. It is interesting that this article goes more into detail about Boyd’s ideas, and further extends these terms and how they can apply to different people underneath these terms. Although Boyd claims that these terms aren’t necessary or even applicable, this article added to this and made subcategories to tend to every person in these groups. Even though people assume digital immigrants are so out of touch with technology that they most likely avoid the use of it, it is interesting that some older people do actually learn and use technology.  Similarly, there are older people that are enthusiastic to use and learn technology, and simply people that reluctantly give in, whether it be because of work, school, or boredom. No matter the age, technology can be accessible to everyone, depending one one’s disposition and will power to use it. 

This article also talks about how digital natives have three subcategories, which are “avoiders, minimalists, and enthusiastic participants” (Zur). Although young people tend to love and thrive on technology (the enthusiastic participants), there are people who are more hesitant and either choose to use it a minimal amount, or not at all. It is interesting that there are young people out there that don’t live on their computers or phones, but choose to not indulge in it at all. Contrary to what most people think, there are young people that have grown up with technology that actually don’t care to use it at all, or even just as minimal as possible. For most, it is almost impossible to avoid while being in schools with smart boards, iPads, and online homework, but many people surprisingly choose to stray from this and stick to the use of a notebook and pencil. Although this article goes more into depth on the kind of digital immigrants and digital natives there are, it still agrees with Boyd’s argument that there are very different kinds of people in each of these terms. No matter what generation they were born in, there are still natives that wish to avoid technology, and there are immigrants that choose to adopt it.  This article adds new, interesting, and pressing points that extend Boyd’s arguments, as well as build upon them.

*** Persuasiveness ??? (Strategies, evidence, ???) help

I strongly agree with these positions, because I have experienced these different claims in real life. Before I read these, it was easy to assume, as for probably everyone, that these terms were accurate, simply because of one’s age and generation. From my experience with technology, it is easy to assume that younger people are naturally more equipped with it because they were born into it. Similarly, older people naturally seem more out of touch because they weren’t born into a generation with technology, but they instead are forced to adapt and learn.  After reading these sources, I have a better understanding of the terms “digital natives” and “digital immigrants,” and their uselessness in actually determining one’s digital literacy. I have met many young people that know how to work social media and video games, but really do not know anything about the internet or how it works. On the other hand, I also know many young people that are fascinated by the inner workings of technology and have learned how to code and truly understand technology. Similarly, I have met many older people that have willingly adapted to using technology in everyday life, whether it is for work or for fun. Then there are people like my parents who use Facebook, and that is the end to their digital literacy skills. Although many older people are not very tech-savvy, I believe this has more to do with their curiosity and desire to know rather than their inability to adapt or understand. After reading these sources and getting a grasp for what being digitally literate truly means, I understand that obtaining that requires hard work, regardless of age. 

Works Cited

Boyd, Danah. It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. Yale University Press, 2015.

Coutts, Nigel. “Revisiting Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.” The Learner’s Way, 18 Oct. 2015, thelearnersway.net/ideas/2015/10/18/revisiting-digital-natives-digital-immigrants.

Zur, Ofer, and Azzia Walker. “On Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives: How the Digital Divide Affects Families, Educational Institutions, and the Workplace.” Record Keeping Guidelines in Private Psychotherapy and Counseling Practice, by Ofer Zur, Ph.D., Offered by the Zur Institute for Psychologists, MFTs, SWs, Nurses and Counselors, www.zurinstitute.com/digital_divide.html.

Unit 3 Draft

With the implementation of technology and its constant evolution in the world today, everyone of all ages is always trying to keep up and adapt to these changes. Regardless of age or what technology they grew up with, people still must learn how to be digitally literate. Danah Boyd argues this point further, by challenging the stereotypes of “digital natives,” the term for young millennials born into an age of technology, and “digital immigrants,” the term for older generations that have had to adapt to technology. She disagrees with the idea that digital natives are automatically well-equipped and tech-savvy, because many millennials and young people must in fact learn the ropes to technology. She also combats the idea that digital immigrants are so out of touch with technology that they can never be natives, they will always be one step behind the natives because they didn’t grow up using technology. Although this may be true for some, many adults and older people are actually better adapted to technology than younger people. This conversation is very popular among many authors, and this essay will outline the many different opinions and feelings these authors have towards digital literacy across different generations. 

Many other authors also have opinions on the conversation of digital immigrants and digital natives, some of which agree with Boyd. Nigel Coutts extends Boyd’s argument that these terms given to different generation are in fact not realistic and do not accurately represent a whole generation of people. He makes an important and new point that technology does not always mean in a classroom or work setting, but many “digital natives” are in fact digitally intelligent on things like video games. He claims that digital natives “rely on instant gratification from game play but lack the required grit and resilience to move forward when this is lacking,” and that they instead should be “shown how to learn and how to use their digital tools for learning” (Coutts). This furthers and extends Boyd’s claims by arguing that digital natives may not be universally tech-savvy in terms of work, but most of them do know a thing or two about video games. If they used this knowledge in a work setting, they would be much more useful and be respected by older people. 

Although people tend to think that younger people, or digital natives, are naturally more in-touch with technology because of when they were born, Coutts agrees with Boyd on the fact that this is not always the case. He writes, “The reality is that it is not one’s age which determines one’s level of engagement with technology but one’s disposition towards it” (Coutts). Many older generations are actually quite up to date when it comes to technology, because they want to be or because their work forces them to be. Other people may choose not to get on the bandwagon of using the internet for everything, but that is their choice. This does not mean that digital immigrants are unable to adapt or learn, however. Coutts even admits that, “some of the most successful integrators of technology I have encountered are (in my politest voice) ‘older members’ of the profession” (Coutts). This further extends Boyd’s argument that their generation does not determine level of knowledge on technology. Nigel Coutts and Danah Boyd both claim that digital natives can be out of touch with technology, and digital immigrants can actually adapt and learn about technology if they wish to.

Another article, written by Ofer Zur and Azzia Walker, agrees with Boyd’s argument about how the terms digital natives and digital immigrants should not be used to determine different generations and their relationships with technology. They further her claims that digital natives can be out of touch with technology, while digital immigrants can actually be in touch. Although they agree with Boyd’s claims, they also extend her ideas by adding different subcategories of digital immigrants and digital natives. The three subcategories of digital immigrants are “avoiders, reluctant adopters, and enthusiastic adopters” (Zur). Going back to Coutts’ article, these subcategories are based upon one’s disposition towards technology. If they want to use technology, they will enthusiastically adopt it, while people who don’t want to use technology will instead avoid it. Digital native also have three subcategories, which are “avoiders, minimalists, and enthusiastic participants” (Zur). Although young people tend to love and thrive on technology (the enthusiastic participants), there are people who are more hesitant and either choose to use it a minimal amount, or not at all. Although this article goes more into depth on the kind of digital immigrants and digital natives there are, it still agrees with Boyd’s argument that there are very different kinds of people in each of these terms. No matter what generation they were born in, there are still natives that wish to avoid technology, and there are immigrants that choose to adopt it.  

Works Cited

Coutts, Nigel. “Revisiting Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.” The Learner’s Way, 18 Oct. 2015, thelearnersway.net/ideas/2015/10/18/revisiting-digital-natives-digital-immigrants.

Zur, Ofer, and Azzia Walker. “On Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives: How the Digital Divide Affects Families, Educational Institutions, and the Workplace.” Record Keeping Guidelines in Private Psychotherapy and Counseling Practice, by Ofer Zur, Ph.D., Offered by the Zur Institute for Psychologists, MFTs, SWs, Nurses and Counselors, www.zurinstitute.com/digital_divide.html

Boyd’s Arguments

11/6/18

Overall, she wishes to exterminate the divide between the “digital natives” and “digital immigrants” and shed light on the fact that the time you were born does not determine your digital literacy. She argues that your generation doesn’t determine your knowledge on technology, nor your ability to learn it. She says “Becoming literate in a networked age requires hard work, regardless of age,” which sums up her overall argument very well. 

One of her main claims is that although teenagers were born and grew up in a generation full of technology, this does not guarantee that they are automatically experts on technology, nor should they be termed “digital natives.” Similarly, another claim is that older people should not be called “digital immigrants” because this hints that they are new to technology and therefore can never be as knowledgeable on technology as the “natives,” which often is not the case.

One of the people she talks about is John Perry Barlow, who tied these ideas of a  technologically advanced generation to politics seems very interesting. She describes him as a renowned poet and cyberlibertarian, which seems like a very interesting combination. I would like to read further into his ideas, because he was one of the first to challenge the idea of native vs. immigrants, while also including a political aspect. 

Rough Draft 10/22

Deegan Roecker

Professor Werry

RWS 100

23 October 2018

Assignment 2

Social media is how people communicate with others, stay updated on news and politics, and simply publicize their own lives for friends and family. Regardless of its use for each individual person, social media is highly impactful on the way we feel, think, and communicate. While there are many important and positive aspects of social media’s mass influence on the public, several people believe it is more harm than good. Authors like Roger McNamee, David Golumbia, and Zeynep Tufekci all share the same beliefs that social media is actually quite terrifying, and even hijacks our brains. Specifically, McNamee develops a strong argument using different strategies, rhetorical appeals, and accurate sources.  

McNamee uses many different strategies in this article, but his most present and important strategy is his use of comparison. Much of his evidence stems from comparing social media to different things to persuade the reader, and make it easier for them to understand. A clear example of this strategy occurs in the second paragraph of the article, when McNamee compares gambling techniques to those used in Facebook, Google, and others to “exploit human nature.” This strategy works by comparing an obvious bad and negative idea, gambling, to social media in order to throw a negative connotation on social media as well. Another strong comparison is when he describes both nicotine, alcohol, and heroin as well as Facebook and Google as producing “short-term happiness with serious negative consequences in the long term.” Same as the gambling comparison, he creates a bad connotation for Google and Facebook by grouping them with known addictive and frowned-upon drugs. The comparison strategy is effective because it absentmindedly groups what people know about things like alcohol, heroin, nicotine, and gambling with social media, automatically throwing their bad connotations onto Google and Facebook. It has the effect of making one’s mind have sour feelings towards social media because that is how we naturally feel about alcohol and drugs, we’re supposed to not like them and think poorly on them. McNamee uses this strategy in order to persuade the reader that maybe social media sites aren’t as great as everyone has thought, maybe they are indeed just as addictive and abusive as alcohol, nicotine, heroin, and gambling. This strategy was really effective, because society has and will always frown on addiction to drugs and alcohol, so by associating social media with this bad connotation, everyone will view Google and Facebook as addictive and unhealthy for humankind. 

Another strategy McNamee uses is the rhetorical appeal of logos. To back up his claims of Google and Facebook taking over everyone’s lives, he uses many facts and statistics. To show how many people actually use these social media, he uses the statistics, “The Facebook application has 2 billion active users around the world. Google’s YouTube has 1.5 billion” (McNamee). By using these facts, the audience can’t question or doubt the amount of influence these social networks do have on the billions of people in the world. He continues this paragraph with “These numbers are comparable to Christianity and Islam, respectively, giving Facebook and Google influence greater than most First World countries” (McNamee). He mixes in his facts with his previous strategy, comparison. To show the astronomical influence Facebook and Google have, he compares the amount of people who use these to the number of people that follow the most popular and influential religions in all of the world and of history. More than just Google and Facebook, he also includes other social media apps, “Other attention-based apps — including Instagram, WhatsAppWeChat, SnapChat and Twitter — also have user bases between 100 million and 1.3 billion“ (McNamee). Again, he uses direct statistics and unquestionable data, so the audience can’t doubt his information. Using logos is always a strong appeal and strategy, because it is hard for people to argue or question direct facts and numbers. 

An interesting source used in this article is one written by Robert Booth titled, “Facebook reveals news feed experiment to control emotions.” In this experiment by Facebook, they altered user’s home pages to either contain all positive or all negative posts from their friends. They found that when posts were positive, the users tended to be happier, while the negative posts resulted in unhappy users. This study concluded that “emotions expressed by friends, via online social networks, influence our own moods, constituting, to our knowledge, the first experimental evidence for massive-scale emotional contagion via social networks” (Booth 1). Just this simple study by Facebook proves how easy it is to affect one’s emotions simply by altering the posts on their timelines. Although this study was harmless, this could lead to mass emotional contagion on topics like politics, which connects back to McNamee’s idea of “brainhacking.” This source perfectly backs up McNamee’s claims that Google and Facebook really can control and manipulate its users, and in this case its their emotions being altered. This source also appeals to pathos as well as logos, because it is literally human beings’ emotions that are being manipulated, and as humans we empathize and see what is wrong with altering the main thing that makes us human. Although this study didn’t lead to the users doing anything drastic besides being happier or sadder, it still perfectly backs up McNamee’s argument. 

Analysis of Assumption ?? (HELP)

Roger McNamee crafts a strong argument in this article, without it just being informational. Instead, he combines statistics and his own credibility to create a call to action, to target his audience and make them feel like victims to social media, which will then make them angry and want to fight back. With his use of different appeals and strategies, he crafts a very strong argument which not only informs his audience of the misfortunes of Facebook and Google, but also goes the extra step to push them to act and beg for change, or else they will be at the mercy of the corrupted individuals behind these social media sites. His best strengths in this piece is the way he shapes his argument, using strong sources and strategies, to eventually lead to a call to action. He ends with, “If we want to stop brain hacking, consumers will have to force changes at Facebook and Google” (McNamee 1). After reading his evidence and statistics, the audience is already feeling targeted and used by social media, and by ending his argument with this sentence, the audience really questions what they can do to stop this injustice, which is exactly what McNamee wants.

Through McNamee’s rhetorical appeals, strategies, and many sources,  he crafts a strong argument that not only informs the reader of why these social media companies are hijacking people’s brains, but also compels them to do something about it. He uses strong comparison analogies and appeals like logos and pathos to persuade the reader to get involved and make a change about how these corrupt people behind Facebook and Google can manipulate us through or newsfeeds. McNamee accurately highlights how social media companies like Facebook and Google can influence the way we think, feel, and communicate. 

Works Cited

Booth, Robert. “Facebook Reveals News Feed Experiment to Control Emotions.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 29 June 2014, www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/29/facebook-users-emotions-news-feeds.

McNamee, Roger. “I Invested Early in Google and Facebook. Now They Terrify Me.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 10 Aug. 2017, www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/08/08/my-google-and-facebook-investments-made-fortune-but-now-they-menace/543755001/.

Body Paragraph Drafts

McNamee uses many different strategies in this article, but his most present and important strategy is his use of comparison. Much of his evidence stems from comparing social media to different things to persuade the reader, and make it easier for them to understand. A clear example of this strategy occurs in the second paragraph of the article, when McNamee compares gambling techniques to those used in Facebook, Google, and others to “exploit human nature.” This strategy works by comparing an obvious bad and negative idea, gambling, to social media in order to throw a negative connotation on social media as well. Another strong comparison is when he describes both nicotine, alcohol, and heroin as well as Facebook and Google as producing “short-term happiness with serious negative consequences in the long term.” Same as the gambling comparison, he creates a bad connotation for Google and Facebook by grouping them with known addictive and frowned-upon drugs. The comparison strategy is effective because it absentmindedly groups what people know about things like alcohol, heroin, nicotine, and gambling with social media, automatically throwing their bad connotations onto Google and Facebook. It has the effect of making one’s mind have sour feelings towards social media because that is how we naturally feel about alcohol and drugs, we’re supposed to not like them and think poorly on them. McNamee uses this strategy in order to persuade the reader that maybe social media sites aren’t as great as everyone has thought, maybe they are indeed just as addictive and abusive as alcohol, nicotine, heroin, and gambling. This strategy was really effective, because society has and will always frown on addiction to drugs and alcohol, so by associating social media with this bad connotation, everyone will view Google and Facebook as addictive and unhealthy for humankind. 

 

Another strategy McNamee uses is the rhetorical appeal of logos. To back up his claims of Google and Facebook taking over everyone’s lives, he uses many facts and statistics. To show how many people actually use these social media, he uses the statistics, “The Facebook application has 2 billion active users around the world. Google’s YouTube has 1.5 billion” (McNamee). By using these facts, the audience can’t question or doubt the amount of influence these social networks do have on the billions of people in the world. He continues this paragraph with “These numbers are comparable to Christianity and Islam, respectively, giving Facebook and Google influence greater than most First World countries” (McNamee). He mixes in his facts with his previous strategy, comparison. To show the astronomical influence Facebook and Google have, he compares the amount of people who use these to the number of people that follow the most popular and influential religions in all of the world and of history. More than just Google and Facebook, he also includes other social media apps, “Other attention-based apps — including Instagram, WhatsApp, WeChat, SnapChat and Twitter — also have user bases between 100 million and 1.3 billion“ (McNamee). Again, he uses direct statistics and unquestionable data, so the audience can’t doubt his information. Using logos is always a strong appeal and strategy, because it is hard for people to argue or question direct facts and numbers.

Golumbia and McNamee Strategies

10/15/18

  1. Golumbia’s “Social Media Has Hijacked Our Brains” introduces the political aspects on social media’s like Twitter and Facebook, describing their minimal use and power, which I think is wrong. All I see on Twitter and Facebook is politics, and people’s opinions on controversial topics, which in turn educates their very followers. The place I most see relevant news and topics about the world is Twitter, because I check it more often than any news website or show. This article also seemed more informational, instead of making me believe a strong and obvious argument.
  2. McNamee uses many different strategies in this article, but his most present and important strategy is his use of comparison. Much of his evidence stems from comparing social media to different things to persuade the reader, and make it easier for them to understand. A clear example of this strategy occurs in the second paragraph of the article, when McNamee compares gambling techniques to those used in Facebook, Google, and others to “exploit human nature.” This strategy works by comparing an obvious bad and negative idea, gambling, to social media in order to throw a negative connotation on social media as well. Another strong comparison is when he describes both nicotine, alcohol, and heroin as well as Facebook and Google as producing “short-term happiness with serious negative consequences in the long term.” Same as the gambling comparison, he creates a bad connotation for Google and Facebook by grouping them with known addictive and frowned-upon drugs. The comparison strategy is effective because it absentmindedly groups what you know about things like alcohol, heroin, nicotine, and gambling with social media, automatically throwing their bad connotations onto Google and Facebook. It has the effect of making your mind have sour feelings towards social media because that is how we naturally feel about alcohol and drugs, were supposed to not like them and think poorly on them. McNamee uses this strategy in order to persuade the reader that maybe social media sites aren’t as great as they thought, maybe they are indeed just as addictive and abusive as alcohol, nicotine, heroin, and gambling. I think this strategy was really effective, because society has and will always frown on addiction to drugs and alcohol, so by associating social media with this bad connotation, everyone will view Google and Facebook as addictive and unhealthy for humankind. 

Tufekci and McNamee

“YouTube, the Great Radicalizer” 

Zeynep Tufekci claims that YouTube may be one of the most powerful radicalizing instruments of the 21st century, due to its “hardcore” algorithms. He also claims that Google makes this algorithm so that people stay watching videos on YouTube for longer than they intended, in turn making Google even more money. Tufekci uses the evidence of a former Google engineer named Guillaume Chaslot and his personal experience with Google. He shared his findings when from when he worked on the algorithm, stating that it is true that it feeds the watcher either pro-left or pro-right videos depending on their first search. This evidence comes from a first-hand experience, which depends on facts and statistics, so Tufekci uses logos to appeal and persuade his readers. 

“I invested early in Google and Facebook. Now they terrify me.”

Roger McNamee,  an early investor in Google and Facebook, is now terrified and blown away by the use of social media today. He claims that these social networks exploit human nature by creating addictive behaviors when their only goal is to make a profit off us. He also makes a strong and valid comparison between social media and nicotine, alcohol, and heroin to highlight the addictive tendency of these things in our society. He uses many statistics and data to support his claims about how much the average person actually uses social media. As much as this article appeals to logos, it also appeals to pathos simply because he is discussing humans and the bad tendencies we are creating from obsessively using this technology, and how it is affecting human nature as a whole, which makes us feel guilty and ashamed. 

Final Draft

Deegan Roecker

Professor Werry

RWS 100

9 October 2018

Public Thinking 

With the extreme advancement in technology in the world in recent years, the ability to write is literally at everyone’s finger tips. This leads to skeptical questions asking if this ease and convenience leads to better writing, or simply just more of it. Since the internet is often seen as “making us stupid,” according to popular author Nicholas Carr, it is hard for some people to imagine what benefits could come from millions of people using the internet everyday. Clive Thompson, a popular journalist who has written his own books as well as for the New York Times, The Washington Post, and Wired, argues that the Internet in fact leads to an improvement of writing, along with many other benefits for people of all ages. With websites that allow people to write stories, comment on other’s stories, or simply blog about their lives, there has never been a better and easier way to express one’s feelings publicly or have an outlet for creative writing. This concept of public thinking has affected writers in many ways, including an improvement in writing, knowledge, and the way they think and see the world. In this essay, I will analyze Clive Thompson’s arguments about how writing clarifies thinking, the audience effect, and how writing has improved in young people due to the internet. 

People have written in journals for decades; jotting down their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Some may do this to simply keep record of things happening to them, but according to Thompson, writing these things down helps clarify their thoughts. He assures that professional writers have claimed “writing forces them to distill their vague notions into clear ideas” (51). While something may be unclear in their heads, writing it down helps them unravel it and understand. Not only writers feel this way, but famous poets have also commented on this claim.  Thompson includes the Cecil Day-Lewis quote: “We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand,” to further back up this idea (51). The internet provides an online forum not only for people to have an outlet to share thoughts with others, but to also be able to understand their own thoughts as well. Due to public thinking, clarifying one’s thoughts has never been so simple and easy.

Clive Thompson’s use of evidence in this section makes his argument very strong. To back up his already strong claim that writing clarifies thinking, he decides to include a quote from a famous poet, Cecil Day-Lewis. This kind of evidence is considered an example, because it is not his personal story he is telling, but it is a personal quote of someone else’s. In this case, it is the quote of a famous poet, which heavily builds his credibility, because who would be better to talk about the relationship between writing and understanding than a world-famous poet? This evidence could also be classified as expert authority, because he is using the words of someone that is an expert in writing and poetry to back up his claims. Thompson’s choice of evidence is what makes this claim so strong, and makes the audience trust his opinions and sources.

Another one of Thompson’s main claims is that writing for an audience naturally makes the author try harder because there is the pressure of someone else reading and critiquing it, therefore making the writing better. He terms this the “audience effect,” because the simple fact that someone will be reading a piece of one’s writing heavily effects them, causing them to try harder and write better. He uses two different pieces of evidence, because they both strongly back up his claims for two separate age groups. The first was an experiment done by Vanderbilt University professors on small children, ranging from four to five years old. They were shown patterns of colored bugs and were asked to predict which would come next in the sequence; with one group solving it quietly, one group explained to a tape recorder as they were solving it, and one group walking their moms through the steps as they were solving it. Of course, the children who had an audience—their moms—did best of all. The children working with their moms “on average solved more than the kids who’d talked to themselves and about twice as many as the ones who’d worked silently” when presented with the harder puzzles (55). Now this is the audience effect seen in young children, but the same results occurred when testing older students. Brenna Clarke Gray, a professor at Douglas College, had her students create Wikipedia entries to see if this would make them want to write better and more accurately. Whereas her students would normally turn in short essays with no citations, they were now writing more formally and finding many sources to back up their facts. Not only could anyone read these entries, they could also edit or delete their words, causing the students to go back, research more, and work harder to get their information right. Because of these two findings, Thompson argues that the audience effect really does naturally force people to write better and stronger. 

Again, Clive Thompson’s choice of evidence is perfect for this claim. A topic like the audience effect can’t be backed up by statistical data, surveys, or definitions. It is a personal experience, that must be explained using real people and the way they react to having an audience instead of just writing or working by yourself. The experiment on the children’s puzzles  can be classified as thought experiments or an example. Similarly, the teacher from Douglas College kind of ran an experiment on her students, which can be considered evidence that is an example or personal experience. These types of personal experiments perfectly back up Thompson’s claim that writing or communicating to someone else forces you to think and write more precisely.

Clive Thompson also argues that not only has writing increased across the world, the quality of it has also improved. While many people would easily assume that the writing and intelligence of young people has deteriorated because of the extreme use of the internet and technology in recent generations, Thompson asserts that this is not true. He creates a direct relationship between the quality and quantity of today’s writing. Andrea Lunsford, a Stanford University English professor, provides personal evidence of her own students to aid in Thompson’s claim. She uses facts that “today’s freshman-comp essays are over six times longer than they were back then, and also generally more complex” (66). Along with length and complexity, she adds that today’s students tend to stray away from old topics like flowers and personal narratives, and instead write “essays that present an argument, often with evidence to back them up” (66). In other words, today’s students care and write about more serious, controversial topics, rather than trivial or personal ones like students in the past. Another thing she adds is that contrary to what most adults would think, students actually don’t even use “IM-style short forms” that much in formal essays. Surprisingly, she also adds that “kids who message a lot appear to have slightly better spelling and literacy abilities than those who don’t” (66). With the use of technology, specifically texting and messaging; writing, grammar, and language have improved significantly.  

One of Thompson’s most obvious rebuttals is when he opposes the claim that more writing doesn’t mean better writing. According to Thompson, it does mean that. He does argue that all this new writing really is good, and is improving with the increase in technology. In my opinion, he doesn’t actually debate it that well. One of Thompson’s weaknesses is his weak counter argument to the belief that more writing doesn’t necessarily mean better writing. He literally responds to the question of “Is any of this writing good?” With “Well, that depends on your standards” (48). Which is not a strong counter argument to say, because his audience could have many opinions on what is “good,” but that doesn’t make him seem confident on his stance. One of his main claims is that all this writing and millions of words, tweets, and text messages a day has led to an improvement of writing, so why would he so bleakly counter this? Overall, Thompson does not include many rebuttals for the amount of points he does have. There are many people who oppose his points and he could have easily included quotes from these people or mention their names to provide a counter argument, but he doesn’t, and instead weakly rebuttals only a few counters. Since he doesn’t form strong rebuttals to popular counter arguments, his own arguments become weaker and less persuasive.

While he has some weaknesses, Thompson also has many strengths and strong points in this piece. His best and most noticeable strength is his ability to mix in evidence with his claims. He uses a variety of sources including statistics, quotes, and personal experiences. His claims are powerful and persuasive because of the evidence he chooses. In the beginning, Thompson starts with a story about a Kenyan blogger and her political motive behind her desire to write. She is not anyone famous or well-known, but her story speaks to the audience, and was a great selection by Thompson. After this story, he transitions into the plethora of information and words that are found on the Internet. The exact quotes and data he uses was perfect to back up this claim that there is a multitude of writing on the Internet, and no other kind of evidence would have this same effect on the audience. As stated earlier, his claim that writing clarifies thinking is backed up by the use of words of famous poets and writers. Since he used these quotes, he was able to establish credibility with the audience, because they can learn about writing’s effects from actual famous writers and poets. Thompson’s main strength is the evidence he chose to use for each exact claim, because each certain kind adds the right effect he intended to have on the audience. Although Thompson has both weaknesses and strengths in this piece, he does build a strong overall argument that the internet has led to an increase in writing and the quality of writing in young people all over the world. 

Works Cited 

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

Rough Draft

9/29/18

With the extreme advancement in technology in the world in recent years, the ability to write is literally at everyone’s finger tips, more than ever before. This leads to skeptical questions asking if this extreme ease leads to better writing, or simply just more of it. Since the internet is often seen as damaging to young peoples’ brains, or “dumbing” us down, it is hard for some people to imagine what benefits could come from millions of people using the internet everyday. Clive Thompson; a popular journalist who has written his own books as well as for the New York Times, The Washington Post, and Wired, argues that this public forum called the Internet in fact leads to an improvement of writing, along with many other benefits for people of all ages. With websites that allow people to write stories, comment on other’s stories, or simply blog about their lives, there has never been a better and easier way to express one’s feelings publicly or have an outlet for creative writing. This concept of public thinking has affected writers in many ways, including an improvement in writing, knowledge, and the way they think and see the world. In this essay, I will discuss how writing clarifies thinking, the audience effect, and how writing has improved in young people due to the internet. 

People have written in journals for decades; jotting down their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Some may do this to simply keep record of things happening to them, but according to Thompson, writing these things down helps clarify their thoughts. He assures that professional writers have claimed “writing forces them to distill their vague notions into clear ideas” (51). While something may be unclear in their heads, writing it down helps them unravel it and understand. Not only writers feel this way, but famous poets have also commented on this claim.  Thompson includes the Cecil Day-Lewis quote: “We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand,” to further back up this idea (51). The internet provides an online forum not only for people to have an outlet to share thoughts with others, but to also be able to understand their own thoughts as well. This is what is beautiful about modern-day technology, writing to the masses is just as simple as writing for yourself. Due to public thinking, clarifying one’s thoughts has never been so simple and easy.

Clive Thompson’s use of evidence in this section makes his argument very strong. To back up his already strong claim that writing clarifies thinking, he decides to include a quote from a famous poet, Cecil Day-Lewis. This kind of evidence is considered an example, because it is not his personal story he is telling, but it is a personal quote of someone else’s. In this case, it is the quote of a famous poet, which heavily builds his credibility, because who would be better to talk about the relationship between writing and understanding than a world-famous poet? This evidence could also be classified as expert authority, because he is using the words of someone that is an expert in writing and poetry to back up his claims. Thompson’s choice of evidence is what makes this claim so strong, and makes the audience trust his opinions and sources.

Another one of Thompson’s main claims is that writing for an audience naturally makes the writing better. He terms this the “audience effect,” because the simple fact that someone will be reading a piece of one’s writing heavily effects them, causing them to try harder and write better. He uses two different pieces of evidence, because they both strongly back up his claims for two separate age groups. The first was an experiment done by Vanderbilt University professors on small children, ranging from four to five years old. They were shown patterns of colored bugs and were asked to predict which would come next in the sequence; with one group solving it quietly, one group explained to a tape recorder as they were solving it, and one group walking their moms through the steps as they were solving it. Of course, the children who had an audience—their moms—did best of all. The children working with their moms “on average solved more than the kids who’d talked to themselves and about twice as many as the ones who’d worked silently” when presented with the harder puzzles (55). Now this is the audience effect seen in young children, but the same results occurred when testing older students. Brenna Clarke Gray, a professor at Douglas College, had her students create Wikipedia entries to see if this would make them want to write better and more accurately. Whereas her students would normally turn in short essays with no citations, they were now writing more formally and finding many sources to back up their facts. Not only could anyone read these entries, they could also edit or delete their words, causing the students to go back, research more, and work harder to get their information right. Because of these two findings, Thompson argues that the audience effect really does naturally force people to write better and stronger. 

Again, Clive Thompson’s choice of evidence is perfect for this claim. A topic like the audience effect can’t be backed up by statistical data, surveys, or definitions. It is a personal experience, that must be explained using real people and the way they react to having an audience instead of just writing or working by yourself. The experiment on the children’s puzzles  can be classified as thought experiments or an example. Similarly, the teacher from Douglas College kind of ran an experiment on her students, which can be considered evidence that is an example or personal experience. These types of personal experiments perfectly back up Thompson’s claim that writing or communicating to someone else forces you to think and write more precisely.

Clive Thompson also argues that not only has writing increased across the world, the quality of it has also improved. While many people would easily assume that the writing and intelligence of young people has deteriorated because of the extreme use of the internet and technology in recent generations, Thompson asserts that this is not true. He creates a direct relationship between the quality and quantity of today’s writing. Andrea Lunsford, a Stanford University English professor, provides personal evidence of her own students to aid in Thompson’s claim. She uses facts that “today’s freshman-comp essays are over six times longer than they were back then, and also generally more complex” (66). Along with length and complexity, she adds that today’s students tend to stray away from old topics like flowers and personal narratives, and instead write “essays that present an argument, often with evidence to back them up” (66). In other words, today’s students care and write about more serious, controversial topics, rather than trivial or personal ones like students in the past. Another thing she adds is that contrary to what most adults would think, students actually don’t even use “IM-style short forms” that much in formal essays. Surprisingly, she also adds that “kids who message a lot appear to have slightly better spelling and literacy abilities than those who don’t” (66). With the use of technology, specifically texting and messaging; writing, grammar, and language have improved significantly.  

One of Thompson’s most obvious rebuttals is when he opposes the claim that more writing doesn’t mean better writing. According to Thompson, it does mean that. He does argue that all this new writing really is good, and is improving with the increase in technology. In my opinion, he doesn’t actually debate it that well. One of Thompson’s weaknesses is his weak counter argument to the belief that more writing doesn’t necessarily mean better writing. He literally responds to the question of “Is any of this writing good?” With “Well, that depends on your standards” (48). Which is a moderate thing to say, because his audience could have many opinions on what is “good,” but that doesn’t make him seem confident on his stance. One of his main claims is that all this writing and millions of words, tweets, and text messages a day has led to an improvement of writing, so why would he so bleakly counter it? 

While he has some weaknesses, Thompson also has many strengths and strong points in this piece. His best and most noticeable strength is his ability to mix in evidence with his claims. He uses a variety of sources including statistics, quotes, and personal experiences. His claims are powerful and persuasive because of the evidence he chooses. In the beginning, Thompson starts with a story about a Kenyan blogger and her political motive behind her desire to write. She is not anyone famous or well-known, but her story speaks to the audience, and was a great selection by Thompson. After this story, he transitions into the plethora of information and words that are found on the Internet. The exact quotes and data he uses was perfect to back up this claim that there is a multitude of writing on the Internet, and no other kind of evidence would have this same effect on the audience. As I said earlier, his claim that writing clarifies thinking is backed up by the use of words of famous poets and writers. Since he used these quotes, he was able to establish credibility with the audience, because they can learn about writing’s effects from actual famous writers and poets. Thompson’s main strength is the evidence he chose to use for each exact claim, because each certain kind adds the right effect he intended to have on the audience. 

Works Cited 

“Public Thinking.” Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better, by Clive Thompson, The Penguin Press, 2014.

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