laurenew's blog

Shut Up and Listen

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I'm not sure about you, but I think being called "human spam" would probably be one of the most interesting yet insulting insults I could receive. When you think of spam, you think of the pesky, annoying, and unwanted junk that fills your inbox (or that nasty ham stuff that comes in a can). No one wants to be human spam.

Pitbull

Who Said Ignorance is Bliss?

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Pluralistic ignorance, a phenomenon that Clive Thompson defines as occurring "whenever a group of people underestimate how much others around them share their attitudes and beliefs" (252-253), can be an obstacle to progress as we see in the examples given in Smarter Thank You Think. Oftentimes, people have misconceptions about what the stances of their fellow members of society on hot-button issues, such as racism or corrupt government. These misconceptions can cause people to keep their own (perceptibly controversial) beliefs to themselves, leaving the dominant social belief unexposed. It's a vicious cycle, but luckily in today's new age of technology, there seems to be a cure.

Raise the Bar

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Are we all electrified when we write for an audience?

In Clive Thompson's Smarter Than You Think, this was certainly the case for Dorothy Burt's students who were not only "electrified" to be writing for an audience who wasn't required or paid to read their work, but more critical of their work and the work of others. When they received comments on their work, it sank in that another person was being affected by their writing - and this lit a spark. An audience to hold you to a higher standard causes you to hold yourself to a higher standard. An audience raises the bar.

Self-Publishing: It's As Easy As Riding a Bike!

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LOL, JK - this stuff is tough. I definitely didn't appreciate the amount of sweat, blood, and tears that went into self-publishing until reading Chapter 13. Frankly, it's intimidating, and I have a newfound appreciation for those who decide to self-publish. It's no question why Chapter 13 is referred to as the "harriest" chapter in the the book - self-publishing is a daunting task.

There is in fact an encouraging aspect of self-publishing however, and that is the autonomy that accompanies publishing your own book. Sure, you may be doing all the work but at least you get a say in the final product! Self-publishing might be hard but it's a dream come true for all of the independents and the control freaks out there (S/O).

Can't Judge a Book

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Let me get started by saying that I am not a creative person. I have an analytical mind. I'm totally a left-brained person and sometimes that makes it difficult to find the deeper meaning in things because I tend to take them at face value. So I can totally get behind Kleon's idea that "our work doesn't speak for itself". I've been to art museums, and when I look at a piece often my first assessment is "Oh, that's neat-looking" or "People actually paid money for this thing?" (but hey, I guess it's like Kleon said- one's man's trash is another man's treasure).

A Brighter Future

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One thing I really liked from chapter 3 of Smarter Than You Think was the idea of a "theory of multiples", that big ideas are often discovered by multiple people at the same time. I fully agree with the concept that our big ideas often stem from our environment or the state of the world around us, because humanity doesn't thrive from thinking in a "sealed-off, Rodin's Thinker fashion". (59) We thrive from working together, clearly seen in the story of "Ushahidi", Ory Okolloh's brilliant thinking made a reality by a couple of colleagues who shared the same passion for altruism, for making the world a better place.

Embrace the Future (and Rejection)

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Before reading chapters 2-4 in Guy Kawasaki's APE: How to Publish a Book, I'll admit I was pretty ignorant to the publishing processes, both traditional and self-publishing. I liked how realistic he was in outlining the pros and cons of the two different types of publishing, he creates pretty helpful general guidelines for a reader that might be interested in getting their work out there. It was kind of a summed up "Publishing for Dummies" which was good for someone like me, who has zero clue about how any of that works, but can appreciate a good book. He also totally made me want to go purchase a new Kindle, iPad, Tablet, or whatever else they've come up with lately. He definitely knows how to market a product.

Don't Forget to Make Memories

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My college experience would not have been remotely the same without technology.

Technology has facilitated my learning and allowed me to gain knowledge that I otherwise would not have had access to. Though there is much to be gained in reading Chaucer in Old English or a detailed biology textbook, this alone would leave something to be desired. Technology has enhanced my education; this course is a great example, along with one of my favorite courses I've taken at Clemson, a United States Congress course that relied heavily on "LEGSIM", an online simulator that allowed us to mimic the Senate.

Amateur Sommelier

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I am an amateur sommelier. By amateur, I absolutely mean amateur in one of the ways Austin Kleon laid out, "the enthusiast who pursues her work in the spirit of love". (15) I've always enjoyed wine, an interest I think that stemmed from the exploration of a middle school friend's parent's impressive wine cellar; while many others were playing Guitar Hero we were reading the labels of some of the finest wines I will probably ever lay my eyes on (it was strictly observational, I assure you). What was an odd interest for a 13 year old developed into an affinity for many different kinds of wine, and a curiosity about their origins and the distinctive flavors you could extract from a single sip.