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Okay, Maybe Twitter Isn't so Bad

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I'm officially convinced Clive Thompson has access to each of his readers thoughts. His chapter, opening with the line, "who cares what you had for breakfast," is exactly the justification I utilize for not having a twitter account, and pretty much has me willing to pledge servitude to Mr. Thompson for a glimpse into his mind-reading powers. He seems to hint at his powerful ways when he presents us with the chapter, "Ambient Awareness."

TW

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.

Youth Strikes Back

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In America, children born in the 90s are most commonly known as Millenials. In China, children of the same decade are called “post-90s”.

In the eyes of many, neither are held in particularly favorable regard as a whole, with some people pointing to their obsessive use of the Internet and other technology as time wasting and unproductive for whom they view as a generally lazier group.

Delving into objective views aren’t the point of this blog, but instead a focus into how writing through different modern mediums is able to spur positive change in the life and well being of people—including betterments brought upon by motivated people in our generation.

Thoughts from a "post-'90s"

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Since the beginning of time, language has been the medium for humans to share ideas. Before the advent of the written word, oral histories were passed down from generation to generation as a means of preserving the past. Then, as written communication really began to develop, people realized that the act of putting pen (or quill) to paper made their words permanent. To put it simply, written words seemed to mean something.

hieroglyphics

Modern media stops Pluralistic Ignorance

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minion lol

Pluralistic ignorance occurs when a population believes that the majority has one opinion, where in reality they share similar opinions but do not say anything about them. The book gave the example of racism and segregation. When taking an anonymous survey, most whites admitted that they did not agree with the segregation laws, but they believed that most whites did so they said nothing about it. Pluralistic ignorance is a tricky thing to pin down, because most people are afraid to give an opinion that is against what they think the majority believes.

Ignorance

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Pluralistic Ignorance

Pluralistic ignorance is defined on the website Changing Minds as something that "occurs where the majority of individuals in a group assume that most of their others are different in some way, whilst the truth is that they are more similar than they realize. They thus will conform with supposed norms. When most people do this, the supposed norm becomes the norm."

Aye

Underestimating how people are... Lame.

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drinkingThis chapter in Smarter than you Think was really enlightening for me. I had never thought about society like Thompson had before. The idea of pluralistic ignorance is essentially people underestimating the similarities they share (socially) with the people around them. My favorite example from the book was the scenario with binge drinking on college campuses in the 90’s. This might just be because I’m in college and can therefore identify with this situation the most out of all the examples given, but I thought it was fascinating.

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.

Taking Ownership

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I really enjoyed Clive Thompson's discussion of public writing in the "Digital School" chapter of Smarter Than You Think. It's really interesting how the high school students described in the book treated writing in an online public forum completely differently than writing a paper for a teacher's eyes only. The most compelling difference for me was the ownership the students took over their writing when they knew it could be read by the public.

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I Like Wikipedia, Okay?

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The chapter "Digital School" in Thompson's book, Smarter Than You Think is all too real for all of us in this class right now. I found myself relating to this chapter in pretty much every different situation that Thompson was talking about. Take the example that he used to bring up that teachers must now teach how to find creditable sources. The students always choose the first few links in a Google search even though they were wildly uncredited. I must say that I am guilty of doing this and am an avid user of Wikipedia which is known to be misguided sometimes.

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