Considered Replies 1

Katelyn McDaniel, 1st reply, March 27
For my first considered reply I thought I’d defend the writers who’ve shaped not only my education, but my worldview. As an English major, I’ve been taught to value and respect the written word, as everyone should. Kevin Kelly indirectly suggests that computer code has the same technological value as literature. Absolutely not. On page 11 of “What Technology Wants” Kelly tries to define technology by comparing lines of UNIX to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. He claims that both constitute technology because they both “are useful works of the human imagination.”
Needless to say this ruffles my feathers a bit. Shakespeare is arguable the most influential and brilliant playwright of all time. To give it the same weight as computer coding, which I have done successfully in the past, is ludicrous. Very few people can even recreate Shakespearean plays with the beauty, humor, misery, irony, and heartbreak they embody. Even fewer can compose words to rival his. Yet Kelly suggests that programming for computers is essentially the same thing. Forgive me but, absolutely not. I couldn’t disagree more. Everyone that grew up in the Information Age can code. There’s even an English class about coding computers. Yet there is no class that can legitimately boast “learn how to write plays that rival Shakespeare’s” because it can’t be done.
Kelly argues “literary rendering of the original novel is as much an invention as the digital rendering of its fantastical creatures.” Nope. Not even close. Crude drawings of fantastical creatures don’t even compare to the fool in Shakespearean plays. In fact, this notion contradicts his own belief that technology evolves. Shakespeare has been dead a very long time, yet his works have not evolved. They have been modernized to mixed success, but his plays remain largely untouched. Yet Kelly claims his work is a technology, and all technologies evolve, right?
I agree that the paper, quill, ink, and whatever else Shakespeare used to physically compose his plays was technology and has evolved. But his imagination was beyond technology. Human imagination is not technology. Certainly, it can produce technology. But we’re capable of producing so much more than trinkets and gadgets that make our lives more efficient. Lets use Kelly’s example again, though there are many many others. Shakespeare composed plays that children have studied since they were written. They’ve studied the originals and know them by heart. A quill was technology when Shakespeare wrote, but now we type on computers. He wrote his plays on parchment paper, but we type them on digital paper. But the words are the same. I’ve written more essays on Shakespeare than any other author and his words have never evolved as Kelly says technology is supposed to. So which is it Kelly? Is Shakespeare not technology or does technology not evolve? Perhaps he’s wrong on all counts. I certainly think so.

Amy Gay, 1st reply, March 27

Katelyn, you make an interesting argument; however, I don’t think Kelly is saying that Shakespeare’s works are supposed to evolve. I agree with Kelly that there is a connection between computer codes/languages, literature, and other forms of technology, and I also agree that technologies evolve, but I do not think this means that Kelly expects older works to change. Language, which is the technology used in Shakespeare’s plays does evolve, and the form of English used in his works is very different from the English we use today. In a similar way, computer codes/languages have changed over time, and more languages have been developed for the purpose of expanding the technology. Of course human language and computer language are not exactly the same, but they are both tools, or technologies, that we use to achieve our goals, and they are both methods of conveying information.

In a way, I actually think that the development of computer codes is at least equal to Shakespeare’s accomplishments. Shakespeare’s works helped to revive the English language, and computer coding has also changed the world, impacting the daily lives of people worldwide. Has Shakespeare impacted our daily lives? I don’t think so. In addition to this, think of the people who developed these artificial languages and how difficult it must have been to create a method of communication for humans and machines. I would say that this is on the same level as Shakespeare, if not even more significant than his contributions.

Rosalie Wind, 1st reply, 27 March 2011
After two months in our Living through Technology class, I have worked through a couple of my hesitations. I am a fan of efficient and positive technology, but I generally dislike how we constantly receive these updates, practically on a weekly basis. This continues laziness and intolerance. Typically, thirteen-year-olds who have no need for a cell phone now expect “smart phones,” if you cannot connect with someone halfway across the world using some sort of technology then you cannot connect with them at all, and the public seems to have reached a general consensus that after using a laptop for a year, we need a brand new one. The novels we have read in this class so far have given me historical facts, present evidence, and educated opinions on matters of digital advancements in technology and the impacts unto humans, and I have come to conclusions about my commonly misanthropic views on life.
My frustrations stated above still remain, but I have begun to slightly accept the effects on humans that these new technologies have. After all, the calculator saves my life every day at work when I count the money in the register. But these constant updates, upgrades, and developments are needless, perpetuating of consumerism, and showing ignorance to reducing, reusing, and recycling. I am disturbed that an entire generation of people has never known life learning the exact right place to have a television antenna to get the least static on a television screen, or the family bonding one gains when having to share one very slow computer, or the infinite patience one acquires when using dial-up internet. Being able to talk to anybody in the world at any time and to use any technology whenever we have the means to buy it makes us ignorant, lazy, and less tolerant to slow technologies. Though I stand by all these statements, I now believe they occur for different reasons. Younger generations will not be dumbed down because of their new lifestyles, but they will apply their intelligence in different ways. As we go through the final stages of our senior seminar, I am shaping my ideas to what we read and discuss in class.
So far, our three novels for class, Cognitive Surplus, What Technology Wants, and The Shallows have portrayed different negatives and positives, potential outcomes, and previous reasoning for new technologies. Each generation has “ahead-of-their-time” developments, and everybody appears so amazed over these new things they can buy, use, and grow tired of after a year. Then, as we get used to these new technologies, our brains mold to what they do for us. It becomes acceptable to think a certain way about the “passé” being of a desktop computer or a CD player, and some of us do not understand why a person would never want a smart phone even if they could afford one. Each generation acquires a cultural mindset, and we either swim along with it like a school of fish or we reject the mindset and face being socially stigmatized.
I have a hard time accepting these changes to our cultural atmosphere. Each novel delivered different messages, each with implications I could appreciate. I agreed with messages in The Shallows because we grow lazy and ignorant when using these new technologies. We learn our multiplication tables because public education seems accustomed to doing so, we neglect self-sustaining skills like sewing to mend our clothes, and we care less and less about books every day. As our country grows more and more developed, we forget about what we once needed to live. I agreed with Cognitive Surplus because we gather new intelligence when able to use the newest of technologies, and we understood concepts differently and with more ability to analyze and critically think. Most people in developed words use their hands less to create; relying on computers, new software, and new technologies to be the “hands,” while their human brain provided the solution in case something went wrong. The human brain makes these new technologies, and while the smartest people in the world create the smartest technologies in the world, the average people use the technologies without fully understanding the capabilities or what went on to make the technologies.
Kevin Kelly’s What Technology Wants incorporates history, studies, scientific evidence dating back millions of years, and the philosophical aspects on technology’s impact on human beings; mixing this all in with psychological and sociocultural factors. His arguments seem in the middle of the two previously mentioned novels. Overall, we develop and evolve together as a culture. Most of us widely accept social norms; and while a good portion rejects these norms, our general intelligence and abilities grow to the social standard.
In 1900, the general life expectancy was 47 years, and in 1995, it was 75 years (Kelly 100). This implies human efficiency, as living longer signifies better health. It becomes more acceptable to grow into old age, so it becomes more acceptable to grow into newer and faster technologies. The printing press made us more used to faster and better books, and the computer made us more used to faster information, somehow with an ability to connect infinite amounts of information. Kelly does not want to imply that these constant changes to technology are inevitable because it feels “like a cop-out, a surrender to invisible, nonhuman forces beyond our reach. Such a false notion, the thinking goes, may lull us into abdicating our responsibility for shaping our own destiny” (140). I believe in the inevitability of changes, because they do all resemble a pattern in the way they impact the cultural atmosphere.
Though I am weary and wary of these new technologies and the way we learn to rely on them, this is just a way of life. I just wish that these new evolutions did not lead to ignorance, laziness, and intolerance.

MC Hawes, Reply 1, March 28

I want to respond to the article posted on the Wiki called, "The iPod has changed the way we listen to music. And the way we respond to it."

I find that this article really resonates with me. I think that iPods and headphones definitely make people more distanced from each other. I will purposely put in headphones at the gym so that people will not talk to me. I listen to music on the bus in the morning to give people the impression that I am distracted by my music and not interested in mingling. And these are just a few personal examples. I am sure that other people have other reasons (besides entertainment) for using headphones. While I think that the iPod does make people less connected, I do think it has valuable traits. I love being able to run with music channeling through my iPod.

I really liked the point about listening to all of our music. I have ENDLESS amounts of music on my iTunes and I cannot remember the last time I listened to certain songs. In fact, there are probably more than a dozen songs that I have never listened to. I think this is the case for a lot of people my age! Even though I don't listen to everything, I like being able to have the option to collect a large amount of various types of music.

I'd be interested in what other people think about iPod use.

Megan Forbes, Reply 1, March 29

I want to respond to both the article posted on the Wiki, "The iPod has changed the way we listen to music. And the way we respond to it," as well as enter into a dialogue with MC.

I definitely agree with her and the article that iPods distance people from each other. Not just in the gym, but everywhere. I use mine as a distraction on public transportation, when walking across campus, and definitely when I am studying. Sometimes I turn the music off and just keep my headphones in when I am studying or working on something as a symbol to others that I am busy and don't want to be bothered. I think the headphones alone are a symbol that a person desires to be disconnected from the world and those around them.

I recently have fallen in love with vinyl, and I love the fact that I can put on an album with my boyfriend and it makes it a social experience. However, I do not love having to get up and flip the record over or put a new one on after only a few songs.

That being said, I love my iPod! I definitely agree with Alex Ross when he stated in 2004 that shuffle was the future I love that I can shuffle through 5000 songs and listen to Jackson Browne one minute and flip to Sublime the next. Like MC, it is also a place where I discover "new" music sometimes. I probably have 250 songs on my iPod that I have never listened to, because I downloaded an album or just discovered a new singer that I liked and decided to download everything of theirs to my computer.

I love the final point the article makes about silence. I think that silence is becoming obsolete in a sense. We constantly have the access to music, so we tend to use it as much as possible to fill the silence. Music is used as a tool in a lot of ways, and sometimes it is to drown out the silence, or to drown out whatever we don't want to hear.

Brittany Hansen, 1st reply, March 29

I think I’ll title this considered reply, We’re Doomed, but I’ll get to that in a moment. Before I started reading The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, I had not given much thought to what effect technology and, specifically, what the internet is doing to my brain. I realized that it influenced my behavior but I wasn’t aware of the physical changes to my brain that it was causing.
The references in the book to past neurological studies and experiments were enough to convince me that my brain was not hard wired. My brain exhibited “plasticity”, in fact a lot of plasticity, because “cellular components do not form permanent structures or play rigid roles. They’re flexible” (Carr, 31). The conclusion of the experiments is that “Evolution has given us a brain that can literally change its mind over and over again” (Carr, 35). I get it and I’m okay with that. Carr takes the reader on a nice journey through the history of the study of the mind and then introduces the chapter about Google.

The fascinating story of Google starts with the efficient data mining search engine that returned extremely relevant results. Where the “we’re doomed” comes in to play is when the founders discovered how to make the search engine profitable, very profitable. It has to do with manipulating users’ behavior to make the site efficient to maximize the clicks to advertisements. The amount of ongoing statistical and psychological testing that Google employs is eye opening. In fact, one test did that and on a company blog stated that “monitoring their eye movements is the next best thing to reading their minds” (Carr, 151). The company states that Google’s goal is to “get users in and out really quickly. All our design decisions are based on that strategy” (Carr, 156). With this corporate strategy, designed to increase revenues from advertising, Carr correctly concludes that Google is in the business of distraction (Carr, 157).

I believe that the internet has changed behavior by causing users to have a shorter attention span. I see it in myself, the way I study and the way I interact with my friends online. I now understand that it has caused changes to my brain. I believe that as the internet developed, these behavioral and physical changes were an unintended consequence of the new technology. The disturbing thing about Google is that they understand this completely and are working hard to continue to take us further down this road in the name of selling. Now I’m all for profits, but I don’t particularly like being manipulated. Traditional and subliminal advertising is well known. Most people are aware of it. I think that is half the battle. However, the amount of users on the internet who are not aware that they are being manipulated must be staggering. When you combine that aspect of Google with the fact that the execution of their business strategy stimulates actual changes to your brain, I say “we are doomed”. They will continue down this road indefinitely because it is extremely profitable.

Emily Whitesell, Reply 1, March 29

I would like to respond to the article, “The iPod has changed the way we listen to music. And the way we respond to it.” I would also like to respond to the MC and Megan. I agree that the iPod allows people to distance themselves from one another. Like many forms of entertainment, it provides a sort of escape. When people have their headphones in, they do not have to deal with others.

Like Megan, I agree with Alex Ross when he states that the shuffle is the future. I also enjoy listening to my iPod on Shuffle or only downloading my favorite song from an album. But I believe that there is a downside to this. I once heard a musician say that iTunes has changed how people listen to music because people no longer have to buy whole albums. The experience of listening to only one song is different from listening to an entire album.

Before iTunes, artists created albums with the intention that the collection of songs would provide a musical journey. An individual song was meant to be listened to within the context of the collection. Today, record companies and artists are adapting to this change in listener habits. For example, many times artists release a single before the whole album is released. It seems to me that this practice is driven by money. It also reflects the attitude of society today in which people are accustomed to instant access to goods. However, I think that these practices come at a price. By removing the connection between songs that an album provides, I think that iTunes and the Shuffle feature detract from the artistic side of the creating and listening process.

Laura Nolan, Reply 1, March 30

I would like to respond to the article “I Don’t Want To Be a Superhero: Ditching reality for a game isn’t as fun as it sounds.” I found this article interesting because it took a viewpoint that I had never read about before.

This article brought up an interesting thought – since people in the real world aren’t given enough opportunities to feel the same kind of achievement and satisfaction they do in World of Warcraft, we can make the world more like a game, we can harness all that energy to solve real-world problems.

I agree that a person in the real world isn’t given enough opportunities to feel the same kind of achievements and satisfaction as they do in video games, but is it really feasible to turn our real world into a video game? No way. If we turn our real worlds into a video game we will loose all concepts of what is reality and what is fantasy.

It is healthy to escape for a bit after a long, stressful day, but it is a whole other thing to escape from life completely. Can you escape a stressful/chaotic day by playing videos games? Absolutely. Can you turn your real world into a video game in order to escape your real world? No.

Amy Gay, 2nd reply, March 30

I read the article “I Don’t Want To Be a Superhero: Ditching reality for a game isn’t as fun as it sounds,” and the idea that corporations could try to use games to control people brought back memories of reading 1984 and Brave New World. If corporations could successfully convince people to spend more money for virtual credit, then surely the government could also devise some way of controlling people through entertainment, as the fictional governments in 1984 and Brave New World did.

Though past marketing techniques have gotten people to buy slurpees or other products for the virtual credit that comes with them, I think that there are enough semi-intelligent people out there that if corporations tried to go any further than this, it would probably not succeed. Obviously, I don’t think that putting a “game layer” over the world would benefit people, or at least not your average person. The only people this would really be good for would be those connected to corporations.

Though the idea of large groups controlling individuals through games is scary, I also think that incorporating games, or even role playing, as Jane McGonigal does, into daily life is a bad idea for other reasons. I think that for most of us, especially in the U.S., our daily lives aren’t too bad, and that even if they are, we shouldn’t try to hide from reality by turning it into something more exciting. I’m not saying that games are bad, but if we ever consider our lives as part of a game, I think we should reevaluate things.

MC Hawes, 2nd Reply, March 31

Like Amy and Laura, I also read the article “I Don’t Want To Be a Superhero: Ditching reality for a game isn’t as fun as it sounds,” and I want to respond to points that both of them brought up.

Laura: I also don't think it would be possible to make an entire world or life virtual. Beyond that, I don't understand why anyone would want to do that. I am not the most social person but even I have times where I know I need to get out of my apartment and go do something like go out to eat, go to the movies or go downtown with friends.

Like you, I also know there is a benefit to playing video games after a stressful day, or maybe even when you are bored but I just don't think it would be healthy for any person to live in an almost entirely virtual world.

Amy: I really agree with your point about a "game layer." I was pretty baffled when I read that part of the article. How would that help any of the REAL issues? The author mentions global warming and I sit here thinking, "how will a game ever realistically help that?"

To expand on the point about McGonigal, I think the idea for video games that reward you for things like chores is ridiculous. What I don't understand is how doing chores on a video game will make people want to do them in real life? In real life, they are not going to get the ten stars or whatever reward may be offered. And after doing chores on a game why would someone want to go and do the same chores all over again for real? I don't see how that could be beneficial.

Rachel E. Blackwell, 1st Reply, March 31st, Rainy Day

I'm going to side step the current conversations and start one of my own.

I have found the replies, so far, to be engaging and insightful- actually making me take a second look at the both of the articles mentioned above. My interest, however, is captured in an older post: Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter.

Twitter… even the name sounds flakey… like something lightweight that could be kicked among gravel… a word that conjures appropriate images of birds flitting their little wings against a blue sky. You get my point. I have never been a huge fan.

I actually created an account in 2009 but wasn't impressed; it didn't compete with MY network of Facebook friends who knew ME. The Real Me. Right? Quite the contrary— these days. With an explosion of narcissistic, seemingly-self-deprecating "friends" I've about had enough… and in my FB break-up process (it's not you… it's me), I have rediscovered a more covert, mysterious world of "Twitterers".

In the article "Blogs…" they mentioned there is a fall of bloggers. I disagree. In my pursuit of discovering the coolest people/places/brands/organizations/etc. I have found the blog-esphere is alive and KICKING. It's totally a cool place to be. People's careers are in these blogs, and some of them are quite interesting and good. I'm a fan. I'm a follower. And now, I'm a Twitterer.

What is your experience?

Megan Forbes, April 3rd, 2nd Reply

I am really glad Rachel brought up the topic of blogs and the article Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter. I personally don't have a Twitter, but I see the draw. I do however, have a blog, and I absolutely love it. I love the connections I have made with people through my blog, and on any given day, you can find me reading blogs that I follow through the feature on Blogger. I even use Google Reader to track my blogs and read them all at one time and on one site. While I see the perks to both Facebook and Twitter, I use my blog for a different purpose. It is an online journal of sorts, although I do censor some of the things that go along with it.

I think it should be noted that I am an English major and I to tend to gravitate towards words. With Tumblr, it is all images, with maybe space for a quote or a little identifier. I like that I can explain things on a blog. When I traveled to London this summer, my family and friends kept up with me through my photos and my posts. I got to tell them about my trip before I got home, and it was awesome. I keep up with people more through blogs than Facebook. If someone gets married, I get to see the photos with the entire description of their day, not just the picture caption. There is mention in the article that blogging can be seen as writing into the abyss. I find the opposite and I have made friends through blogging.

Like Rachel, I love blogging, and I also have found the "blogosphere" alive and kicking. I love the connections it provides.

Ted Brasfield, April 3rd, 1st Reply

I am not really a user of Twitter, although I did sign up for an account when it seemed like the cool thing to do, but I do find one aspect of tweeting very interesting. I watch a lot of sports and spend the vast majority of my internet time on sites like and other sports related sites. I really like the way that Twitter has begun shaping the modern sports landscape, even though I spend virtually no time on their site. Not only does it make it seem these star athletes more accessible if you choose to follow them, it also opens up a wider range of reporting possibilities. For example, for any major sporting event in this country, I would bet that there are always at least a few dozen people in attendance that are tweeting about it; such is the popularity of Twitter. If there is a bad call or some other mistake, the world of the internet is almost instantly aware. There may be a downside to giving a platform to millions of critics but as I see it, it leads to greater accountability among not only officials but also those who are responsible for running the leagues and putting out a good product. Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Wizards and Capitals, has his own blog which he updates frequently and as a fan, I like getting to know the proverbial wizard behind the curtain. I guess my point is that even though I only participate in those conversations as a reader, I like the fact that these new mediums have increased access for fans, from the casual to the rabid.

Shannon Yen, April 3, 1st Reply

I have never used Twitter, and have never felt an inclination to. Well, that’s not completely true; hearing the world use it tends to lend a pretty persuasive appeal sometimes. I don’t feel the need to follow anyone or anything in particular, though. I understand the draw in how Ted mentioned that it makes celebrities and the like "more accessible", but I honestly don’t see Twitter-use around me personally, if you understand. I hear about so many people using it, but I have no direct connection through it—for example, in our class, maybe one or two people raised their hand when asked the question of who uses Twitter. Perhaps, Twitter will remain one of those advances in technology that I might not ever embrace. It’s like Rachel said—it sounds “flakey,” and I believe it is.

Blogging, on the other hand, I view very differently. All the discussions on it honestly remind me of past types sites like, which my group of friends in middle school used very frequently. We all had “a xanga,” which I realize now was essentially a “blog.” We posted about news or our days or travels, along with optional pictures. You could subscribe and comment and basically blog. Is it just because I’m older that I feel the need to notice this seeming “phenomena” or has it really progressed? Because I honestly feel like this existed years ago, but it didn’t seem like a big deal or anything to worry about. My xanga is long gone, but I remember the fun of posting and following others. I believe Shirky had it right when he called human nature out on its social craving. At least, I'm more inclined to take that belief than the belief that technology itself pushes us to things.

Sarah Joseph, April 3, 1st Reply

I want to respond to MC, Megan, and Emily about the article “The iPod has changed the way we listen to music. And the way we respond to it.” I also agree that people generally use the iPod to distance themselves from each other and the world around them. On any given day, about 40% of people on the bus might be plugged in to their iPods. However, I want to point out that we never know what people are listening to. Although I agree that most people listen to music, many other people may use their iPods to stay up to date with their favorite podcasts, or even listen to a recorded book. In fact, many people may use their iPod as a way to gain silence. I sometimes put in my headphones when I am in a loud room. By doing this I can block out the noise and concentrate on the task at hand. I even have an app that lets me listen to white noise. This feature allows me to turn my iPod into a type of electronic earplugs. When Nikil Saval claimed that the iPod was making silence obsolete, he didn’t consider the possibility that it could be used to gain silence.

I also want to agree with Emily’s comment about how the shuffle option is detracting from the creative and listening process. I love listening to my music on shuffle, but it can get disorienting sometimes. Certain albums were obviously made to be listened to in a certain order as shown by lyrics or spoken words commenting on the end or the beginning of an album. Hearing these types of references when listening to shuffle makes me feel as though I have missed out on the experience the artist wanted me to have.

Rosalie Wind, April 4, 2nd Reply

We have been discussing in class if these technologies will render humans useless. We have these new electronics that do everything we need humans to do (;content). Electronic shelf labels, introduced in the article, makes it no longer necessary for grocery store clerks to change prices of food items that change throughout the day. We will always need humans to engineer, design, and study these technologies. The convenience they provide will appeal to managers, owners, and directors of companies because they make their job easier. We will always need humans to provide roles of director, programmer, manager, etc. However, the human employee unable to get a degree in marketing or management loses the skill that once gave her a job. These technologies render humans with no skills in engineering, design, marketing, management, etc. useless.

Other new technologies do not render our skills useless, but exist to enforce the consumerist ideal of getting whatever they want. Color adaptable e-casings, completely unnecessary, will be designed by 2014, continues the mentality of the greedy consumer. You need a really nice phone, and you know what? You should be able to decide what color you want it to be, depending on your mood. This makes us greedy, this makes us superficial, this makes us place emphasis on appearance and presentation over quality of product.

Brittany Hansen, 2nd Reply April 4

As I was reading the article, “Blogs wane as the young drift to sites like twitter”, I was thinking to myself “well I can tell you why”. The article demonstrates exactly the theories that Nicholas Carr presented in the Shallows. This article just touched the surface of the issue by saying that twitter and Facebook are easier and blogs take too much time. Exactly! Blogs require an investment of time to read, digest and hopefully post a thoughtful response. Twitter and Facebook require a quick post and/or comment or a preprogrammed click on “like”. As the article states, “Blogs were once the outlet of choice for people who wanted to express themselves…rise of sites like Facebook and twitter, they are losing their allure”. As Carr theorized, our brains are being manipulated and changing by how we interact on the internet. The end result of that is the fact that users are less likely to spend time on a site. It’s not just that something is easier but we are being programmed to behave a certain way.
Early in Carr’s book, he quotes a colleague, a scientist, who prefers to blog and find snippets of information on the internet as opposed to a book or lengthy article. This colleague says that because of “my blog and the ability to review/scan tons of information on the web”(Carr, p. 8), he can absorb information much quicker. So how is a younger generation who has been programmed to have a lower attention span going to feel about a blog? Even a blog is too much trouble it seems. I have to confess that in my Ethnography project, where I blogged, I found myself not overly excited or enthused as I progressed.
Later in the article, a high schooler’s quote, again, confirms Carr’s theories but the article only covers the surface reason, not necessarily the underlying reason, that “with blogging you have to write”. Again, this takes time and thought and the high schooler is more comfortable just posting a quick word or phrase to Facebook.
Lastly, the article states that older users are actually blogging more. I don’t think this refutes Carr’s theory but confirms it. In my opinion, many older users have not been as active on the web as much as younger users and haven’t had as much exposure to the forces that are affecting people’s attention span. It will be interesting to see if over time older users succumb to the same fate as we younger users.

MC Hawes, 3rd reply, April 4

I am also glad that Rachel brought up Twitter and blogs. Twitter is such a hot topic these days…who has one? Who doesn’t? What are celebrities tweeting? What is your friend doing at every second of every day? Well at least what are the first 142 characters of what they are doing?

I have a Twitter but it took me working at NASA to get one. Being involved with all of their social media meant that I needed to be on the frontlines, watching all the NASA tweets. I am a very reluctant user. Much like you Rachel I never saw the point of joining. I typically don’t care what my friends or random celebrities are doing at all times of the day.

However, now that I have one, I do enjoy the occasional celebrity tweets. But just those that are my favorite. I look at my Twitter every day but I don’t read all of the tweets. It is almost the same as my Facebook use.

I also agree with Rachel that blogs are still very much out there. When I am ‘stumbling’ I run across all sorts of topics. My favorites are cooking blogs because they have so many interesting recipes and bright, colorful pictures! Maybe the youth of today aren’t using blogs as much, but that’s fine with me. They can have their team Edward and team Jacob debates via twitter.

Laura Nolan, Reply 2, April 5

I want to respond to Sarah about the article “The iPod has changed the way we listen to music. And the way we respond to it.” I think that it is very evident that people use the iPod to distance themselves from others and what is going on around them. I feel like wherever I go I always see people with headphones on plugged into iPods. The obvious places I see people plugged in are outside walking around campus, the bus, and the empo. Not only do I see people plugged into their iPods at these obvious places, but I also see them in places that I would not expect – like the grocery store, dining halls, etc. To me dining halls and other such places are where people go to interact and socialize with other people, yet now I see people in such places shutting off the people around them by being plugged into their iPods. This makes me wonder if we will continue to use technology to distance ourselves from one another. Will there come a day when we are constantly plugged into technology, (like iPods), to block out those around us? It is very common to see people plugged into their iPods, but it’s also not weird to see people without them. Will there come a day when we think it is weird if someone isn’t plugged in?

Though I think that people may be using technologies, such as iPods, too much to distance themselves from others, I do think that it has its’ advantages. I completely agree with Sarah’s comment that iPods can be used to gain silence. There have been many instances when I am doing work and have put my headphones in and not played any music because it helps block out noise so I can concentrate better. It is also true that you never know what people are listening to when they are plugged into their iPods. I feel like we automatically assume that the person plugged in is listening to music, but for all we know they could be listening to nothing at all.

Katelyn McDaniel, April 5, 2nd reply
Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus discusses the idea of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations as they apply to technology. After reading chapter 3 of Shirky’s book, I began to wonder what has happened to motivation now that our society has become dependent on digital technologies. Shirky defines intrinsic motivations as “those in which the activity itself is the reward,” while extrinsic motivations are “those in which the reward for doing something is external to the activity” (72). I believe that intrinsic motivators hold more weight than extrinsic motivators. Someone will put more effort into an activity that they enjoy, as opposed to an activity they’re getting paid for. I will put more effort into writing a paper for a class I enjoy than I would put into a paper for a class that I’m just trying to get through. For me at least, intrinsic motivations are far more powerful than extrinsic motivations.
Although intrinsic motivators have more weight for me than extrinsic motivators, I believe that intrinsic motivators are harder to find in a digital world. The more digital technologies we adopt, the harder it is to disconnect from those technologies. I hardly ever feel reward by the act of using technology. On the contrary, I use digital technology because it’s essential to my education, and plays an integral role in society. I’m not suggesting that there are no intrinsic motivations for using digital technologies, but rather that the use of digital technologies are more often motivated by extrinsic factors such as feedback, financial gains, material gains, etc. We are constantly connected, which to me means we never stop working. In other words, we are almost always being motivated by external gains to remain connected. But where do intrinsic motivators fit in?
For me, intrinsic motivators are often in jobs or activities that I complete with my hands. I feel more accomplished when I can see me work reflected in a physical project, as opposed to being lost in cyberspace. Cleaning, gardening, and cooking have intrinsic motivations for me because I get satisfaction from the act itself. I hardly ever feel satisfied after I check my email because I know I’m obligated to do so in order to get my work done.
To sum up, I think that the more we turn toward digital technologies, the more we’re relying on extrinsic motivators and the less satisfaction we’ll get out of our jobs, social circles, and educations. Furthermore, the shift in societal values will be away from intrinsic motivators and towards extrinsic motivators.

Jennifer Romeo, 1st Reply, April 5

For this Considered Reply, I wanted to link to a book that I recently read. If you click onto this link (, you’ll find the book on Amazon. Click to “Look Inside,” and read the Prologue, which is on pages one through three.

The book is called Brain Jack, written by Brian Falkner. In the prologue, Falkner addresses the issues of security and privacy in a technological world. Technology certainly has potential to be great, but it isn’t difficult to imagine the consequences of keeping confidential information stored on technological devices that are not necessarily completely secure. This semester we have talked a lot about what we gain from technology, but also about what we give up when we rely so heavily on it. In the prologue to Falkner’s Brain Jack, he describes how a computer hacker could potentially hack your computer based on your credit card usage.

The story itself explores a world where technology takes over and begins to operate on its own, much like Kevin Kelly suggests as a possibility. While reading this book, I couldn’t help but think about a number of topics we’ve discussed in class. Although the book is fictitious, I can’t help but see some possible truths in the plot, such as when the main character’s best friend dies from a video game addiction because he cannot pull himself away from the game long enough to eat. I’d recommend it to everyone because it addresses the idea of technology becoming all-consuming, and depicts a world in the future where technology begins to further itself based on learned processes.

Rachel Blackwell, Second Reply, April 5th

I'm so happy there's a great conversation going on over Twitter!

I am currently sitting in my hotel room after a long, long, long day at the High Point market in North Carolina, and I am BURIED in Twitter and blogs of designers' I have visited today. If there's one thing that I've really noticed in this world of calculated composition and bold style… it's that everyone who's ANYONE is connected to Twitter… and blogs.

Ipads and smart phones perform instantly, uploading images to share with a vast world of followers. There are actually people here called "Lifestyle Bloggers." They may be designers, decorators, or store owners but they also have created an online following based on their opinons of showrooms and other designers. SO COOL.

I apologize that this post is leaning heavily towards window treatments and chandeliers, but I am in LOVE with this world and the use of words, pictures, and most of all… technology. So hip. So fresh. So now. I can't wait to start playing around with my own personal branding and style.

If they can do it, why can't I?

Ted Brasfield, 2nd Reply, April 5th

Today I read an interesting blog post from the owner/court-side cursing act of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, whose net worth is over $2 billion. His take ( on the role of media for sports teams is that newspapers and television are still vital in reaching certain audiences but he would like to be able to restrict the amount of access to gives to internet press. He tries to be convincing but I felt that he pretty much came across as an owner who did not like his product getting bad reviews on the internet by people he cannot control. To my mind, this brought forth the issue of attempting to control information in a digital age. Mark Cuban has no real means of stopping these websites from existing and writing about his team but by denying them first-hand access, he can shape what information leaves the locker room. He suggests that the Mavericks could just as easily, and with better results, cover all of the team news which fans now require. I think this idea is partly a result of his desire for further control, even including the information which gets reported. To him, this must seem like a great idea because if he controls it, not only does he control any revenue but he can also prohibit any unwanted leaks. My question, to finally get away from sports, is what happens if similar powerful agencies (the US government, for instance) suddenly decided to go this route and self-report the news? Granted, this sort of thing already goes on in countries like North Korea. In some ways, I think this relates back to Jennifer’s post because issues of security and privacy are at the front of why North Korea so carefully shapes the news to its citizens.
I just find it fascinating that no matter how far technology may develop, there will always be issues regarding ownership of information. No matter how much he’s worth, Mark Cuban cannot control the internet. But that doesn’t mean he won’t try.

Minni Gupta, 1st Reply, April 5th
I’d like to comment on an aspect of technology that Jennifer brought up in her first reply regarding security and privacy on the Internet. Her response reminded me of a conversation I had with my father a few weeks ago when I asked him about my sick grandfather’s health.

He simply replied to my inquiry by saying “your grandfather’s doing well today; he checked his email.” Apparently my father has started gauging his parents’ wellness in correlation with their activity on the internet. What’s more amusing it the fact that my father knows exactly when my grandfather opens his emails and responds to them because the email account is synched to my father’s phone. So while being physically far from his parents, my father essentially knows my grandfather’s exact online activity. Is this a breach of his privacy or is this him just worrying about his sick father and keeping an eye on him?

It’s a scary concept but if he is able to keep track of my grandfather’s activities, every correspondence we have via the internet must be logged and recorded in some systematic way for one of the “interwebbies” to monitor. This website, “Gmail is too creepy” describes a group of people who have outlined the “creepiness” of Google Mail and why they would not use or send mail to a Gmail account. The website outlines how their massive storage space can record and hold memory of even deleted documents. They also describe how Google policies aren’t applies to incoming and outgoing mail that could be used in the future by Google for advertising or other purposes. The website goes on to further explain that these records and collecting of keywords associated with email addresses could create a “staggering” amount of abuse. They have the power to play a “big brother” over ultimately all of their account holders, and their correspondence, thus creating a massive copyright abuse.

It is an interesting yet scary topic to think about because while having this knowledge would be powerful and reassuring in many positive ways, wouldn’t having all of our details so easily accessible create a massive loss of identity and other serious problems.

Sarah Joseph, 2nd reply, April 6

For this considered reply I read the article “Book Lovers Fear Dim Future for Notes in the Margins” by Dirk Johnson. This article was about the value of books, not because of what the books says, but because of what was written in the book or who wrote in the book’s margins. The article argues that this “Marginalia” is an important aspect of reading that we will loose with the usage of e-readers and other digital reading devices. These notes give unique insight into the minds of important historical figures such as Mark Twain and Thomas Jefferson, as well as countless anonymous readers.

I agree with this article’s argument. As someone who thinks best by writing out thoughts, I enjoy writing comments or thoughts in the margins of what I am reading. With digital devices, it is harder to mark important passages or write thoughts. Although it is still possible to annotate on digital readers, doing this takes away some of the value from the annotated work. When writing by hand, we get the annotator’s unique handwriting, and method of marking the text. With digital readers, all of the notes look generic in placement and font. We loose a sense of the annotator’s personality and character. Overall, I think that digital readers make us loose some important aspects of reading, including interacting with the text in a more personal way through writing in the margins.

Emily Whitesell, 2nd reply, April 6

I’d like to respond to Jennifer and Minni about the issue of security on the Internet. When my family has a problem with one of our computers at home, we take it to a man who specializes in computer repairs. The last time that he helped us with a virus, we had some time to chat. He brought up two interesting points about the security of files.

First, my mom had heard about a company that backs up your files online. She asked him for his opinion on this service. He replied that he would be wary of services like this because, as with many companies dependant on the fast-changing world of technology, they tend to come and go. When they do go out of business, what exactly happens to your files? That is a little unclear.

Another interesting point in our conversation, which especially surprises me after reading Minni’s post about Gmail, was that he recommended that my mom switch from Outlook to Gmail. He argued that Gmail allows you access to email that is stored on the Internet. In the event of a computer crash, you would always be able to retrieve your emails.

As Jennifer and Minni have pointed out, there are security risks involved with storing information on the computer. But the Internet also provides a seemingly endless amount of memory space with which one can store information in a format that is always accessible. If used in the right way, this feature of the Internet can be very useful. As we become more reliant on our computer, we store more files that are valuable to us. In an ideal world, the information we store would only be valuable to us. But in the age of online shopping and banking, it is not unusual for people to store credit card and account information on their computers. I think that it would be unwise to disregard the threat to security that services like Gmail pose, but I also believe that they provide convenience and back-up that can be very helpful in the case of travel or a computer crash. People need to weigh the costs and benefits of these services to determine what would provide the most benefit.

Laura Nolan, Reply 3, April 6

I would like to comment on Sarah's post regarding the article "Book Lovers Fear Dim Future for Notes in the Margins" by Dirk Johnson. I found this article to be interesting because it talked about how valuable books are because of the fact that authors engage in marginalia, which is when authors will write comments in the margins. I feel like this aspect definitely adds value to books because it gives the reader an inside look at what the author was thinking, how they felt about different ideas in the book, their observations, etc. Though I think these comments written in the margins by authors are valuable for readers, I have rarely seen margin comments in the books that I have read. I wonder if anyone has read a book, and how many books you've read, with comments in the margins.

The article also addresses the issue of how these margin comments will survive in the new digitalized world. I feel that technology has become so much more advanced, and is advancing everyday, that authors will still be able to write comments in books. They may not physically write the comments in with a pen, instead it will most likely be through typing, but does it really matter how they insert the comments? As long as you can read the authors comments does it matter to you if you're reading it in a book or on a screen?

I have a Kindle and am a huge fan of it because it allows me to order books for cheaper than buying them at the store, it's light and compact, and most importantly it allows me to have hundreds of books in one tiny thing. I think this new digitalized world for books is a good thing. I can see people's point that books are valuable because of the written comments they can have, but I don't see why these digitized books can't have these comments as well.

Shannon Yen, 2nd Reply, April 6

I’d also like to respond to Sarah’s reply to Dirk Johnson’s “Book Lovers Fear Dim Future for Notes in the Margins.” If you go into any chemistry or engineering or computer science (possibly more departmental courses’) classrooms, you can find students scribbling away on their Fujitsus. The laptops fold and provide a non-ink pen for the purposes of writing to your heart’s content on the screens. Why should that be any different from using a graphite pencil or ball-point pen to write on paper from trees?

You retain handwriting and marginal styles, and you save essential aspects of the environment while you’re at it. The difference is that the medium (papyrus paper, banana paper, concrete slabs, etc.) that you write on varies, and this one—the monitor—in particular, retains a type of immortality rarely, if ever, seen in paper products. I don’t find it any different from our progression through writing on chalk boards or cave walls to writing notes into bound paper books or onto compact screens. Not only do I think it’s easier to mark important passages—because I’m one of those “book lovers” who cannot, in my mind, “deface” a book by marking it—if hooked up to the Internet, the computer also stores notes for a relatively longer period of time.

Plus, like Laura said, I’ve never had a book I read with annotated margins. That would probably annoy the daylights out of me, honestly. And I find the fear of digital readers a little exaggerated and over-anxious; we don’t have to embrace everything that is introduced. I think that much our authors throughout this course have agreed on—that, as humans, we retain power with regards to our relation with technology (think Amish), or something as simple as my not using Twitter.

Amy Gay, 3rd reply, April 6

I thought the debate about students learning from online classes posted in the Consider This section of the wiki was very interesting. The main question was, can middle and high school students learn from online classes, or is this just a way to avoid paying teachers.

I have a 13-year-old brother in middle school, Nic, and because he failed his math SOL, he has to take an online remedial math course this year. Earlier this year, I asked Nic about his remedial course and whether he thought it was better or worse than having a real teacher, and I was surprised when he told me that he actually understood math a lot better when he learned it though the online course. I don’t know what the experience was like for the other kids in the course, but I do know that Nic is horrible at math, and for him to actually understand it must mean that this program is doing something right.

At the same time, I was a bit disappointed in my brother for liking the computer program better than a real person. Personally, I have always preferred attending class to online classes, and I feel that I learn better in an actual classroom. However, I also think that this could go back to what Nicholas Carr said about the brain and how using the Internet can affect brain structure (38). I believe that repeated behaviors really do change brain structure, and I think Nic’s general use of technology could be one reason that he prefers the online course.

Nic has grown up with a lot more technology than I did, mainly because my parents have more money now than when I was younger. He has multiple game systems, he has had access to cable TV since about age eight, and my parents also allow him to go on the Internet (I wasn’t allowed when I was his age). Since so many of his activities are online or on a computer, I can’t help but think that this might be one reason for differences between me and him.

To return to the debate topic, I think that kids can learn through online courses and that some of them may even learn better this way. I don’t like the implications this could have for teachers, but I also think that many kids are starting to think differently.

MC Hawes, 4th Response, April 7

I want to respond to Amy’s response about the debate on online learning vs classroom learning. I also found it really interesting.

After reading two sides, I can’t say how I feel. I think that my opinion lies close to Amy’s in that online classes work well for some people but other people need the classroom and a real person and interactive discussions.

I have never taken an online class so I can’t speak from experience but I do think that I am someone who likes a classroom and a teacher more than a computer screen. I have had friends who like online classes but I love to discuss topics and ask plenty of questions. One of the points in the debate was that students in online classes might not feel as comfortable asking questions. That would be a big issue for me.

Gary Stager brings up the point of kids getting distracted in classrooms, but I think online classes lend themselves to distraction just as easily. In a classroom there are only so many ways to distract yourself. However, when you are on the world wide web, you can look at SO much more to waste your time or keep your mind off of what you are working on.

I really agree with Francesca Burn’s point about online classes being worse for students who need that additional help from a teacher. She also raises the point that some students just click through and don’t actually know what they absorb until later. When taking online tutorials I found this to be a problem I frequently had. I would not realize what I had actually learned until I was discovering what I had not learned.

I find this debate really interesting and while I value technology in an education capacity, I think that online classes should not become the norm anytime soon. I think that students still need the face to face time with a teacher and the personal interaction with other students.

John Del Terzo, April 7th, 1st reply

I would like to respond to the article “The iPod has changed the way we listen to music. And the way we respond to it.” I have just read over some of your responses, and I am getting a better understanding of not just how we use music, but how we use the actual MP3 player itself.

As many of you know, I spent a week away from electricity, or at least, the non-essential electronics in my life. In doing this, I discovered a line that was previously blurry; a distinction between private time and social time. Constantly connected, it is hard to ever truly have private time, and yet, even when on social time we will sporadically pull out of our surroundings and retract into our own private world. The reason I bring this up is because of how our MP3 players change our private time.

“Silence” and “Peace” do not always go hand-in-hand. Like many of you, I too turn my iPod on whenever I am on private time. True, I may be surrounded by strangers on the bus, or students in a dining hall, but none of these people are in my social sphere. At times like this, I find peace in music. Truth be told, I feel very uncomfortable being in public during my private time, especially if I do not have a separate social sphere to surround myself in. I access these social spheres using my phone or laptop. I know little on the human psyche, but I believe I do this to avoid the fact that I am alone (not lonely, that’s something different).

So you see, I think that I use my iPod not just to cancel out the surrounding sound, but to blanket myself from the surrounding truth; I am on private time in a social atmosphere. I, like some, have the minor paranoia that I stand out just by being alone. Headphones allow me to fade into the background. Laura, I agree that there will come a day when it’s weird not to be plugged in; against better judgment, I think that I come off as weird when I am on the bus without headphones in even today.

As for its effect on music, I concur with the rest of you in that we no longer listen to albums. This takes the art out of music. Also, with total control comes total boredom. As I am able to listen to any song, or any part of a song, at any time, as many times as I want, I quickly become bored with music. Perhaps singles are released to meet a higher demand; albums may take too long to come out for today’s general public. I know I over-listen to songs, and I am jealous that my mom still gets the same effect from listening to The Beatles “Anna (Go To Him)” that she got 40 years ago. No song stays important to me for that long.

Megan Forbes, 3rd Response, April 7th

I would like to respond to both Amy and MC in the discussion relating to online classes. As a college student, I love them. I work a lot, and unfortunately, I have had to deal with several deaths in my family in the last year. I am able to keep up much better with my online class load than my in-class load, simply because the material is available to me at all times. This summer, I will be continuing my education and staying at Tech to get another degree. In order to do this efficiently, I will be taking 18 credit hours online. Because I have been taking online classes as a part of my course load a majority of my time here, this will be nothing new, and I know how to balance my time for learning and for working full-time.

That being said, this discussion is for middle and high school students, which I feel makes it a totally different ball game. Like MC took away from Francesca Burns, I feel that online classes would be detrimental to students that need additional help from a teacher, some children need that face to face interaction, and for someone to sit down and explain things to them. I will say, in regards to MC's comment about asking questions, that I actually feel more comfortable posting to an online forum versus asking in class. I think computers are used as a shield a lot of the time, and while I have a pretty open personality, I enjoy the ability to write a question and re read it before I post it, instead of just relying on whatever flies out of my mouth in a classroom setting.

I believe ultimately that our school systems will keep evolving into a more technologically based classroom. I think some children learn better online, while others benefit from face-to-face interaction. Perhaps testing will be done to determine this, and kids needs will be suited to them, with some within classrooms and others learning online. I know this debate will continue for years to come.

Jennifer Romeo, 2nd Post, April 7

I’m writing in response to Ted’s 2nd post. Over the summer, I interned with an architecture magazine, and I was often tasked with contacting potential story leads to ask questions and to gather information. Often, people were skeptical and didn’t want to respond to me, and for a long time I didn’t understand that. In my thinking, I was a reliable journalist looking to help provide more information about these companies to readers, which meant I was essentially providing free advertising for the companies. My dad, a general contractor, told me that he doesn’t like to respond to the press, either, because he doesn’t want to be misrepresented in print.

There certainly is a misconception out there that the media is negative and can generate rumors, rather than true and reliable news. While I know that is the case sometimes, it is not always how the media operates.

The idea that large agencies could begin to be the sole distributors of news about themselves is a frightening one. Suppose, as Ted proposed, that the government did take over news reporting. In The United States, this would never happen because of our freedom of speech, but the power to control the flow of information is a great one.

The Internet works because it is a collection of thoughts and knowledge from everyone and anyone, and that flow of information is important. If technology were controlled in such a strict way, the collective knowledge that we have compiled would be useless and gone forever. The collective knowledge and freedom to access anything online is exactly what makes the Internet and other forms of technology so useful, so if media were completely controlled, technology wouldn’t be as useful to us as it is currently.

John Del Terzo, April 7th, 2nd reply

I am responding to the various responses on the Twitter topic. Stepping briefly away from the article, your responses made me seriously consider Twitter vs. Blogs. I am with Megan in that I gravitate towards words. That being said, I’m starting to think that my freedom of expression is limited by word caps.

My own personal experience with word limits actually has to do with texting. I understand that we are the first texting generation, but I think I must have missed the boat. While I see classmates able to quickly respond to texts by using fast typing and condensing words (“You” to “u”, “to” to “2”, etc.), I actually still spend a lot of time on my texts. I type out words fully, add explanations, and make sure what I send is grammatically perfect. Until I hit the word limit. Then I go back and proceed to “dumb down” my text until I am at 160 characters, and at that point, the text is only a shadow of its former glory.

This isn’t directly my reason for favoring blogs. I just know that a Twitter post is more about straight facts while blogs allow us to blossom the deeper meaning. A word cap makes us get straight to the point, and as this response shows, sometimes I do not want to get straight to the point.
Rachel’s original post stated that the blogosphere is still up and active. This is very true. Even if it is on the decline, as long as there are people like me, blogs have to potential to outlast anything like Twitter.

Everything I have written above was my original response, but I decided to take a step back after reading Ted’s post. Perhaps I have been (in my life, not really in this response) a little tough on Twitter. As an English nut, Twitter seems to crudely limit expression. But I may be thinking about it the wrong way; it can also further expression. I like blogs because I do not mind reading or writing. But let’s face it; a lot of other people just do not have the patience. So it is not that Twitter is stopping people from making literary progress, it is allowing those who would not take the time to read or write blogs to contribute to the global text. So Ted is right; I should celebrate the new mediums like Twitter.

Brittany Hansen, April 7, 3rd reply

I’d like to comment on Ted’s reply referencing Mark Cuban’s blog. I came to the same conclusion as you did. It appears that Cuban is a bit peeved about the internet reporters. He doesn’t think he has any control over them or of the message he wants to get out. He pretty much comes out and says that in the first paragraph where he states, “…our interests are no longer aligned”. No kidding, these are reporters, not employees.
He reminds me of the owner of the Redskins, Dan Snyder, who does the same thing in DC. Snyder bought the radio stations that broadcast the games, he demands that reporters get fired and he owns and controls the website that discusses everything about the Redskins. Both of these wealthy men seem to be a little too sensitive or insecure. Their way of getting back is like when you were a little kid; you’d pick up your toys and go home. You’re in control.
I could care less if a sports team (especially the Redskins since I’m a Giants fan) wants to control the message. It’s just a sports team. I do worry when governments and businesses try to limit access and opinions. If the owners of major league sports teams are doing it, I’m sure others are too. The beauty of the internet is that you can search many sites for the information or the message. A person is not tied to just what one newspaper or TV station reports. Let’s hope it remains so.
Cuban did raise one complaint that I totally agree with and that is the fact that anyone can plant a rumor or gossip about someone and it will get picked up and be viral overnight. The victim of the rumor must then spend time answering questions about something that never occurred and denying that it is true. Unfortunately, when it gets to this point most people believe there is an element of truth to the rumor. So how could you prevent this without having control?

Brittany Hansen, 4th reply, April 7

I’d like to comment on Katelyn’s and Amy’s discussion about Kevin Kelly equating Shakespearean sonnets with codes of Unix. Katelyn, I’m glad that you caught this in the first chapter of his book. This specific reference didn’t jump out at me until you brought it up. I, like you, believe he is really making a stretch. His whole premise lies with his assertion that the Technium is somehow a living organism and that everything from a hammer and nail to a thought is considered technology. In order to make his theory work, a reader has to buy into this Shakespeare comparison which crops up in the first chapter.
Amy, you mentioned that language does evolve and the form used in Shakespeare’s time is different today. This is similar to computer language evolving over time. Kelly wants us to make that connection between these two ideas to support his theory. I think that just because language evolved doesn’t make Shakespeare’s writing technology. When reading the modern-day translation of Shakespeare’s plays (I’m taking a course this semester), it is easier to follow the story. But, when you read the original text, it is not just a play but poetry. His writing combines a story and poetry with meter and rhyme. Perhaps this point could be used to argue that he was using technology.
The large point I want to make is that Shakespeare was writing about human nature. When I read his plays, every aspect of human nature is displayed, i.e., jealousy, greed, loyalty, betrayal, honor and love. My conclusion from reading Shakespeare, and any history for that matter, is that human nature doesn’t change. Kelly wants to theorize that human nature along with everything else does evolve. That is a part of his overall theory. His statement, ”Human nature is malleable. We use our minds to change our values” (p. 89) conveys this aspect of his theory. He goes on to say that “Early societies were not peaceful but rife with warfare” (p. 89). According to Kelly, we’ve evolved past warfare.
He needs to solidify this point if his theory is to be credible. I don’t think he argued this point well enough. In fact, he later asserts that “how many geniuses died before the needed technologies were available for their talents to take root” (p. 351)? To me, this is an argument that technology is merely a tool that man can use and not his broader argument that just about everything, including Shakespeare’s writing, is technology.

Rachel Blackwell, April 7th, 3rd Post

In response to John, I do believe that word capping can hinder any kind of fully developed passages. But I do like John's opinion that perhaps sites like Twitter can actually breed creativity in a different way. In a 2009 Time Magazine article, it is stated that Twitter is changing the way we live (,8599,1902604,00.html). Towards the end of the article, it mentions the note-taking/experience recording system that Twitter easily provides. With the use of hashtags, references are made quickly and an eternal online conversation is born. Anyone interested in a particular topic can simply search its tag and unlock a world of users engaged in this strange dialogue.

Perhaps in the future, research papers will be based on tweets, history books will include random specimens of pop culture facts, or celebrities and politicians. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself but I do think it's quite a possibility!

Sarah Joseph, April 7, third reply

I also want to respond to the debate about online classes. Like MC, I have trouble deciding which side to take. Instinctually, I want to say that traditional a class in a student filled room with a teacher at the front is the best method. This is the way that I personally learn best, and I think for a majority of people, it can be very effective (no way will be the right way for everyone). I know many people in both high school and college, who have taken online classes and failed because either they did not give themselves enough time to take the class, or because they couldn’t understand the material without having a teacher actually stand in front the room and explain it. Of the people who have taken online classes and passed, many of them spent the least amount of time possible working through the class to get a passing grade.

However, I can also see the merits of online classes for the newer generations of students. As Carr discusses in “The Shallows,” our brains are changing as we use technology. Because we use computers so much in our daily lives, it seems foolish not to use them for educational purposes. Karen Swan’s statistics about the pass rate of classes being retaken online is pretty convincing.

Overall, I think that a combination method is probably the best answer for the most number of students. Technology should be used in the classroom, but having a teacher present to give the students face-to-face time is also important

Ted Brasfield, 3rd Reply, April 8th

I agree with Sarah that the combination of technology and teachers is probably the best and most effective. What I wonder is whether it will possible for smart technology to eventually replace the sort of personal interaction that we expect students to get from teachers. Not that teachers can be replaced but their role would change. As evidenced by Watson, the IBM computer that dominated Jeopardy, computers are quickly evolving to the point where they can instantaneously receive input and generate an answer. Obviously it’s not perfect, but isn’t this what we expect from teachers? There is more to teaching than just generating answers, such as managing personalities and developing life skills, and it is debatable whether a computer will ever be able to deal with such complex things all at the same time. It is a somewhat scary thought in terms of diminished individualism if students all receive the same “programming” but there would clearly be cost and efficiency benefits. I am really not sure what teachers new role would become but clearly technology has a greater impact on our lives now than ever before and it seems ridiculous not to acknowledge that when it comes to education.

Katelyn McDaniel, reply 3, April 8
For my last reply I’d like to comment on Sarah’s post about the article “Book Lovers Fear Dim Future for Notes in the Margins” by Dirk Johnson. I completely agree with her observations. I love writing in the margins of my books. If the book was captivating enough for me to write in it’s margins, then I’ll keep that book in my collection and loan it out to family and friends. I did my ethnography on e-books versus print books and this is an area that I didn’t even address. Although you can take notes on the Kindle and loan books out to others, some of the value is lost when the notes aren’t in your own hand. When I physically write notes in the margins of my books, I make the book truly mine. And if I loan that book out, then I’m essentially loaning out my thoughts on the book as well. In fact, one of my favorite past times is going to used book sales and rummaging through old books. When I find a book that someone has written in, I am immediately interested in it. Even if it’s just a small note on the back cover that says “to Sally from Joe,” for me it makes the book worth reading. Clearly someone has already picked this book, and I want to know why. What makes this book so special that Joe gave it to Sally? It’s almost as if the handwriting bridges a connection between the present and the past.

John Del Terzo, April 8th, 3nd reply

In response to the online classes discussion: Though Hokiespa may see “Online” to be the opposite to “Lecture”, those terms are not required to be separate in the discussion of our classes.

If Carr's idea is correct and are brains are changing, then our thought process is undoubtedly becoming both more socially based and more globally based. Because of this, we must adapt our learning process to meet this change. Placing the class online seems like the obvious answer, but it seems to me like accessing the information from our homes is not the same as having someone interpret the information in real life. But just because online classrooms do not provide the same experience does not mean that technology should be separated from the our universities.

Sarah's idea that of a combination method sparked my interest, and after I made some variations to the Google search “classrooms incorporating technology,” I came across some information on Steelcase's Learnlab, which has prototype classrooms at various universities. It changes to design of a classroom and adds technology so students work in groups in the corners of the classroom, using their computers to combine ideas onto a group screen. The professor, from the center of the room, can then take the data off of those screens and project them onto the main screen in the front. If technologies like the Internet are about communal participation, then I would call this new learning process Participatory Learning.
For those interested, there is a PDF:
…or a Youtube video:

I do not think this type of technological incorporation is THE answer, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. Yes, the future of technology dictates the future of the classroom, but I see that today's technology is already hard at work changing how we learn.

Minni Gupta, 3rd Response, April 8
For this post, I’d like to comment on John’s viewpoint regarding the virtual classroom as opposed to the traditional classroom. Last semester, I was considering taking up a prep course for the LSAT with Kaplan and my choices were either going into a traditional classroom twice a week or meeting at a virtual classroom online. As it was a big investment to make, I decided to take a trial course first and learned that personally, I am not yet completely ready to be online. Yes, Carr does point out in “the Shallows” that our brains are adapting to the technological changes and we’re slowly getting re-wired, but I don’t think our that there has been such drastic progression that classrooms should be moving into an e-learning environment completely.

Finding the balance would be a challenging point as it would be hard to gauge where exactly this point is in a communal manner as each person’s adaption to technological learning services vary. We’ve seen it through class discussions first hand where some of us aren’t inclined to reading online and have no patience for it while another half of us have comfortably taken to reading academic material via E-readers and Kindles. If it were to be standardized in a formal educational environment, the changes, I believe, would divide students from a young age to one of the two ends of the spectrum.

Our generation is luckily still able to value the importance of a book and browsing for material through traditional means like a library, but if a balancing method of education through technology is instilled at a grade school-level I think that the partition it will create in students will universally affect their learning abilities and dependencies.

Minni Gupta, 2nd response, April 8

I just noticed that my second post did not successfully upload a few days ago. Here is the re-post.

For this post I wanted to go back to the article “The iPod has changed the way we listen to music. And the way we respond to it.” This article essentially describes what I aimed to experiment and prove through my ethnography. If you have read my ethnography, you would notice that my experiment had a significant impact on my sense of belonging and level of consciousness of my surroundings. Venkatesh’s questioning and observation of society’s evolution with the use of iPods and musical technologies support my thesis and idea that we have learned to privatize and seclude ourselves from the world surrounding us from the simple click of a portable music player.

Like John mentioned in his post, the idea that “silence” and “peace” don’t always go together and I feel are two terms that have evolved to distance themselves from each other. I think I’m at peace the most when I’m in my private moment with my headphones on, listening to a great song. Many people may be at unrest in complete silence and actually need the feeling of headphones or music accompanying it to create a sense of peacefulness for them.

Like the article mentions, Mr. Jobs has done a great deal to create a new social trend and our generation has adapted this trend and integrated it into our daily lives very comfortably. So even though I agree that is has had a straining effect on the artistic culture of music, I think that it has also popularized and familiarized music to a society that can access it with a simple click of a button.

Shannon Yen, April 8, 3rd Reply

I’m really interested in the topic Amy introduced from the Consider This section of the wiki. We talked frequently in class about how teachers possibly become obsolete in the future, because students begin gravitating towards online courses done from the comfort of their homes.

First of all, I agree with a few other comments that age might matter in terms of benefits from online courses. Amy’s brother is 13; my youngest is 16, and he also grew up with computers in his lap, DS games galore, gameboys, every game system out, etc. He knows electronics, you know? But so do I, and I don’t feel very much of a difference from him. I took an online course for the first time last summer, and I actually found it a bit difficult to remind myself about papers and extra credit I had to complete by weekends.

But everything is reverting to Internet. Rather than assignment books now, we use scholar and blackboard—I suppose the idea is that since we’re all online anyway, why not throw those on? Besides, it must be easier for teachers to organize, and everything resides in one spot, without mistaken writing or lost notebooks. The Internet crosses everything, and that’s an advantage.

My brother, though, to get back on topic, is an extremely social creature. Part of classes is socializing, and he wouldn’t give that up for learning at home. It makes you think of homeschooling in a way. Perhaps if we have computers to teach us, we can reserve the more meaningful exchanges with other humans? But maybe that’s wrong, because teaching must involve “meaningful exchanges,” too. I can’t say which, but we have more freedom online. We may zone out if we know a topic, and work on other things—basically, online courses can promote more multi-tasking, but also, in a way, more motivation. You have to remember to keep up in your online course, and I think that’s part of the trouble with younger kids.

Either way, however, I don’t believe teachers become obsolete. Besides the socializing factor of face-to-face interaction (because, when you think about it, even people who interact online still reserve the face-meeting for the climax and the ultimate “manifestation” of geniune friendship). Yes, our brains change to accept Internet-access better, but we also crave the reality of people in a way that keeps teaching from becoming obsolete.