Fastwrite: What, if anything, has made it hard for you to generate posts for your blog? What advice would you have to offer someone else about how to sustain a consistent pace of posts?
Groups: Spend five minutes on each blog. What ideas for new posts do readers have?
Andrew Keen (pp. 242–49) argues that social media have fostered a “cultural Marxism,” a “creeping narcissism,” a “flattening” of “talent” into “opinion,” and a loss of “our memory for things learned, read, experienced, or heard.”
- What sorts of evidence does Keen offer for such claims? What other kinds of evidence might be provided?
- What sorts of evidence—from other pieces in Digital Divide, from your own experiences— might be used to argue against them?
What are the cultural and individual gains of “nomadicity”? (See Todd Gitlin, pp. 207-14). What are its downsides?
Gitlin also points to the “invasion of solitude” (213) as one of the costs of universal access. How usefully, or not, does William Deresiewicz (307-17) develop and refine this concern?
- Digital Essay Proposal, due Friday, 3/16.
- Conferences to discuss proposals (optional): Mon, 3/19, 11–1, Tues, 3/20, 1-4
- Class, Tues, 3/20: We will meet in 01 Old Chem for an intro to editing with iMovie (iMovie_Handout).
- Continue blogging! I will review your blog and give it a final grade on Friday, 3/23.
When I first read William Deresiewicz’s piece on “The End of Solitutde” I asked myself what was so wrong about not wanting to be alone. Deresiewicz makes the argument that we are so consumed with technology in our daily lives that we lose our privacy and concentration. I agree that we spend a ridiculous amount of time using our cell phones and computers and ipads and cameras and iphone cameras, but what is detrimental about not wanting to be alone?
Deresiewicz sites a number of historical examples that demonstrate how the “act of being alone has been understood as an essential dimension of religious experience, albeit one restricted to a self-selected few” (308). The author was also shocked to hear one of his students report that she found the “prospect of being alone so unsettling that she’ll sit with a friend even when she has a paper to write” (308). Though it’s not stated how old his students are, I don’t find this response all that surprising. I think many young teenage girls go through a stage in their life when they don’t want to be alone, especially during the Jr. High years. It’s a period of time when you are making new friends, trying to fit in. No one ever wants to be the girl or boy sitting alone at the lunch table. I don’t think this fear of being alone is solely related to the overwhelming presence of technology in today’s society.
Later on his article, Deresiewicz points out, “A constant stream of meditated contact, virtual, notional, or stimulated, keeps us wired in to the electronic hive—though contact, or at least two-way contact, seems increasingly beside the point. The goal now, it seems, is simply to become known, to turn oneself into a sort of miniature celebrity” (312). This observation struck me and made me think of one of my friends who is very active on Twitter. It’s not the amount of tweets she broadcasts in a day, but the satisfaction she gets from it that I don’t quite understand. I don’t mean to single her out, because this is what all twitter users do to a certain extent, including myself. But what is so satisfying about telling a virtual audience random facts about your day? For all we know no one could be reading our twitter pages and yet we all go about publicizing insignificant aspects of our daily lives. What does this provide for the twitter user? I mention my friend because I find out more about her day from twitter than when we actually speak to each other. It seems that technology today is replacing our basic necessity for physical company and the actual act of talking to another individual.