Monday, September 2, 2013

Chapters 1-3

Chapter 1

Bhabha’s sentence is convoluted and complex, something that I sometimes mistake for “good” writing because it seems more educated. In other words, I (and presumably others) automatically consider more complex writing to be more intelligent, without any background knowledge. Obviously, this isn’t true, but rather something that I’ve just come to assume as I read more and more complex articles in my higher level classes. Also, who knew that there was an annual “Bad Writing Contest”?

Being extremely sarcastic, I completely agree with Plato in that the written word can sometimes be misunderstood, especially with one of today’s most common form of communication: texting. I am constantly having to explain what I mean or backtracking to explain a joke via text when I could’ve called the person and explained what I meant in half the time. Is texting more convenient? Sometimes, yes, but I think most of the time it would be easier and more efficient to call the person. Yet, I hardly ever do. Why are people more attracted to communicating through the written word than calling? Especially now, when so many people complain about how much they hate writing?

“Email, texting, social networking, IM, and chat arguably are having a corrosive effect on writing.” In my internship this summer, I had to read through about 100 of the applications from the incoming freshmen class. While many of them had high GPAs, impressive extracurriculars, and a bevy of academic awards, the majority of their essays were pretty terrible. Some were due to unmoving topics, but many of them were simply poorly written. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what my college essay was about, and I doubt it was particularly riveting, but I know that my writing was coherent and free of grammatical errors. Of course it’s only been two years since I was in their shoes, and I doubt that society has crumbled that much in such a short amount of time, but I believe that even in my year, student’s writing has been negatively effected by the new forms of communication. While this is an obvious claim, I was still surprised by the number of poor essays when I read the applications. 

Chapter 2

In my previous Communications classes we studied and discussed the importance of credibility. In Public Speaking we focused specifically on how to establish credibility as a speaker, something that is generally hard to do, particularly as a student. However, it is increasingly more difficult to do so online. Students will often refer to a Wikipedia page for information, overlooking the fact that ANYONE with access to the Internet can edit a Wikipage. As more and more professors have banned the use of Wikipedia as a source for academic papers it’s potential for inaccuracies has become more obvious. However, there are still millions of websites that appear to be legitimate, but still may not be. Previously, I had only considered .gov or .org to be reliable, but fortunately, the book lists several ways of deciding an online source’s authority. Deciphering between credible and non-credible sources online can be difficult, but is crucial. Making a website is pretty easy, and although it is difficult for speakers to prove their own credibility, it is arguably more so for online communicators. Also, an online source (or person) may be subtly advocating for something and determining their bias is important in both arenas. 
Only number 19? Really?
“Using Lists” - Lists tend to be the most popular form of communicating online. When I first heard this, I thought it was completely fabricated and could not imagine myself trying to read a list, unless I was checking Furman’s ranking. 

However, I quickly realized that most of the articles I read when procrastinating on Buzzfeed are lists; usually paired with humorous GIFs, and often ones that have nothing to do with me. The other day I read “15 Signs You Were an RA,” purely out of boredom, since I’ve never even been (or wanted to be) on hall staff. It probably has something to do with our shortening attention spans (thanks Google). 

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