Genre #3

There is just something about a blog that makes me feel at home. It could be the relaxed and spontaneous nature of the technology; I can say “I” any time I wish because after all, this is MY BLOG and I reserve the right to be as free as I want to be without penalty. Ladies, think of it like the bra system… you wear one for the public because it’s proper etiquette, but the moment the garage door closes at 5 o’clock that baby is unhooked and on the bedroom floor. Freedom! Perhaps my fondness of the blog is because, as opposed to publicized journals or articles, my favorite curse words aren’t so frowned upon here, so you can bet your ass I will be exercising that freedom today.

The reason why I am choosing to use my last genre, the infamous Genre #3, as my final vehicle is simply for its effortless nature of being read. What I have to say requires understanding and observation. So, rather than bore you with a printed document with a format designed to make your eyes heavy, I decided to present you with this: a cute blog post that comes with visuals and a pretty outline. You’re welcome. Thus, let us begin the post.

My topic addresses issues that often lead people to be directed by the media. If you know anything about insurance, there's nothing good that can come with just 15 minutes of conversation with an agent. High Schools should to be informing students of such precautions.

My topic addresses issues that often lead people to be directed by the media. If you know anything about insurance, there’s nothing good that can come with just 15 minutes of conversation with an agent. High Schools should to be informing students of such precautions.

The Week After My High School Graduation

Have you ever been proud of yourself for accomplishing a long term goal, only to find out your success reached as far as the front door to your next goal? That’s what my High School diploma was; a certificate to leave somewhere, but not necessarily to move on to greater things. Let me explain. The week after my high school graduation I realized just how unprepared for college I truly was. There I was, sitting in front of my laptop with my first Junior College application waiting to be submitted, yet I couldn’t press “send” because I wasn’t sure that I had done everything right. Sure, I had filled out everything that I had been directed to, to the best of my knowledge, yet nobody had ever gone through this with me. After talking myself into the fact that there is a first for everything, I submitted my application, and of course got accepted. I guess someone could argue that it wasn’t my high school to blame, after all it’s not that hard to put your name and address on a form and submit it online. Here’s where I’m coming from, though: the mission of high school is to prepare its students for life after graduation, especially college preparedness. Why skip the first step of getting into college? Doesn’t that set the standard for omitting similar processes like scholarships and student loans? Apparently, it did because never once in my secondary education did any teacher feel the need to talk about or explain these things. Sometimes I wonder if they [my high school] did that on purpose, you know, didn’t set us up for college or make us feel comfortable with it. It’s a good way to weed out the students who aren’t really sure about college, or the ones who want to go, but always seem to need extra help with their assignments. In regards to my own academic performance, I’ve always been the type of student who does the right thing no matter how confusing the process is. Thank God too, because honestly I don’t think secondary education cares much about those other students. The ones which school doesn’t come easy for. You know that saying, “college isn’t for everyone”? The week after my high school graduation I discovered that that phrase isn’t formed with sole attribution from the kid not going to college, but is made true with the help of another party: the high school that makes them feel that way. Sad, isn’t it?

My First Semester at UTA

Degree planning. This was my mental state of mind my entire first semester at The University of Texas at Arlington. The advisors at Collin College (CCCC) were about as helpful as a stoplight with three of the same colors, so you can imagine the anxiety of being in classes with students who knew exactly where they were going and each step to getting there. Thus, I scheduled an appointment with my English advisor and made a plan. Phew, finally I felt like a college student. Yes, I had just spent three years at a Junior College, but in all honesty I felt like I had just gone through my second phase of high school. I remember my UTA advisor saying, “You should get a tour from the UTA faculty, so you know all of your resources.” I did. The first stop was the Maverick Activities Center, better known as the MAC. Katie, my tour guide, had mentioned “It’s included in your tuition and is available to you almost 24 hours” as if she automatically knew that working out was of utter importance to me. You see, at my high school, and even CCCC, the only students required to participate in vigorous training were the athletes. Everyone else just had to walk a lap around the track in order to get their participation credit in Physical Education. While I was grateful that I now had the luxury of improving my physical state, I also felt bitter due to the discrimination displayed by my two high schools (I think it’s appropriate to deem CCCC as a slightly more mature high school). I began to backtrack and list all of the resources that were available to athletes and not P.E. students:

  • 24 hour access to the school’s weight room
  • free services from the school trainers (un-certified physical therapists)
  • food plans specifically made for the student athlete
  • emotional/mental support from the athletic staff
  • professional boot camps for conditioning and strength
  • 24 hour access to shower and bathroom facilities
  • coaches, mentors, and trainers who work to ensure your passing grades

But Brittney, they earned those resources by proving that they have some athletic contribution to give to the school! This is what I usually hear from people, especially those partial to sports. My answer is always similar: don’t all students earn some amount of privileges by showing up to school everyday and proving their academic contribution to the school? I’m not here to bash the athletes. This is just the first example of many that highlights the flaw of many high schools. What about students who are on the debate team, or lead the student council? What experience are they getting that “regular” students aren’t? Believe it or not, even the smallest resources make a big difference in regards to life and college preparedness. My point here is this, during my tour from Katie I experienced several more MAC moments; moments of instant realization that I  now how all the resources I could want, yet I couldn’t tell you how to utilize half of them. I began getting upset with myself. I should have participated in more extracurricular activities in High School. Why didn’t I commit myself to making the volleyball team. How did I miss the opportunity to be active on the student council? And then another question came up, Why does a student need to maintain any other status than student in order to be introduced to these systems? They don’t. They shouldn’t.

The 2014 High School English Class

Now that I’m a student teacher, I have the opportunity to go back to the root of my current issue, High School. Last week was my first time in a High School in about four years. Not much has changed with the exception of technology. I wasn’t sure how I was going to go about asking my Junior students the questions I needed know answers to, but eventually I decided yes or no questions would be the best way to go. I asked two classes (a total of 44 students) three questions, and asked them to put their answers in a bucket as they left class.

  1. Do you currently use a planner to structure your upcoming assignments and/or due dates?
  2. Do you know how to create a professional resume?
  3. Do you feel that your teachers explain how their content pertains to life and/or college preparedness?

Out of the 132 slips of paper I accumulated from these students, there were about 92 “no” pieces that went into the bucket. Thirty-eight of those were from the resume question. This tells me that even if the students were to reject college and choose the workforce instead, they would still struggle with getting a decent job due to their inexperience of selling themselves on paper.  There were twenty-one no’s for question number one, which means that almost half of the surveyed students don’t have a grasp on college-level organization. If you’re reading this, you know that disorder alone often leads to devastating results in regards to a student’s GPA. These kids won’t stand a chance. For question three, the most relevant question in regards to what we’ve been talking about, thirty-three students said no. Yes, they’re teenagers and there is a large possibility that they just haven’t been paying attention to their teachers for the last three years. However, I’m sure this is exactly how people would have reasoned such disappointing polls five years ago when I was in high school. The truth is, many high school teachers don’t explain how students will have to apply what they’re being taught in eleventh grade to life and possibly college.

Here is a sample of results from the first class I asked the questions to. My personal favorite answer being "yeah right."

Here is a sample of results from the first class I asked the questions to. My personal favorite answer being “yeah right.”

Now more than ever we live in a society that demands reason for the time they are giving up. Time that — as Hollywood likes to promote to their younger audience– could be better utilized on inventing the new Twitter or creating a limitless Smartphone. Adults don’t like to hear this but we have come to the end of the days where students automatically see school as a launching pad for success. Now students see school as an obligation that hinders them from starting their endeavors as the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zucherberg.

Within the next year, I  have full intentions of becoming a High School English teacher. Perhaps now my biggest fear will be for a student-teacher to walk in and put a bucket in front of my students with yes or no slips of paper that dictate if I have been doing my job effectively. More so however, the answers my students drop in the bucket will determine if they will be able to stand a chance in the world after they leave my class. That is the true test.

 

Hello, Goodbye

Its incredible how fast this semester has flown by, already less than a week away from Thanksgiving! Maybe its thanks to the busy schedule my classes held me accountable for, or it could be the ridiculous hours I’m working at my job. Or, perhaps, its that this year I did something I never really did in the past; I enjoyed my education and embraced the curriculum that was given to me. English 3372 starts off my weekday: I wake up, get ready (as ready as rolling out of bed and brushing my teeth account for), make the hour drive from Wylie to Arlington (majority of the team becoming my own Britney Spears/Blink 182 concert), and walk to the third floor of Carlisle Hall. The first day I had it all figured out, English 3372 was going to the “blow off class” this semester. Easy schedule, awesome  and laid back teacher, oh and one of my grades was TWITTER… I’m the Twitter queen, duh. I honestly didn’t think I would learn much of anything in there except how to speak more spontaneously when my name was called for discussion. Little did I know…

Carlisle Hall

The group discussions started to become more than just classroom banter, they became real conversations that my classmates, like me, gradually inserted more of their authentic selves into. The blogging entries quickly transformed from terrible robotic responses to entertaining personalities that helped me get to know my classmates better (Rene, you are one funny motha SHUT YO MOUTH!). Most noticeably, in my opinion, the people I had to follow on Twitter were no long just people I had to follow, I started seeing you guys as friends in a way- interesting to watch on the net, and glad to see you on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays the following days. The Twitter project, and I mean creating one and following each other, was by far the most out of the ordinary and my favorite project for this class and my college experience so far.

Its weird to think that I’ve never thought to follow any of my past classmates on Twitter. English 3372 has introduced me to the many benefits of it though. About two weeks ago, I was faced with a situation I find myself in almost every semester; what classes should I take. I was in the dilemma of choosing between a class on Monday, Wednesday, Friday that would require me to drive to Arlington five times a week, or a more difficult class that was on Tuesdays and Thursdays which would narrow that drive to two days. I was stressing so much because I didn’t know which to take so I did the most logical thing I could think of; I tweeted about it. “PLEASE HELP” I desperately wrote as I told my followers about my midlife crises! Lo behold, I got about twenty responses, and half of them were from my English 3372 pals, including Dr. Hara. Believe it or not, all those responses pretty much made my decision for which class to take. All that input, all that previous experience people were sharing, thanks guys…

If you know me at all, you will know that I’m border line OCD when it comes to organization. I write EVERYTHING down, no that’s not good enough, let me be specific here. I write everything down in a little blue and pink flowered book that I like to call my agenda. My agenda has everything from fights with my boyfriend to homework assignments in it. Needless to say, anyone who read it would know me better than my mother does. Three weeks ago I lost it. If you were reading my tweets that night, you could definitely see that I was FREAKING OUT.

My pretty little agenda planner: me in a nutshell.

Here I was, reaching into my backpack, ready to write down something really important (my dog’s birthday) and my agenda wasn’t there. Instant panic.  Instant heart drop.  Instant Twitter time. Hashtag English 3372…I LOST MY AGENDA. HELP! Even though no one had seen it, the responses I got made me calm down quite a bit. I guess knowing that people cared, and of course knowing that they hadn’t seen it, made all the difference. Luckily, I found my little book. The use of social media though, made it such a different experience than what it typically would have been.

So here we are, the last blog for English 3372. I don’t know if I will continue to use it, or make a different one, maybe. I do know however that I have very much enjoyed this experience. I hope anyone reading this has enjoyed reading what I have had to say. I have enjoyed all that you have given to me! #BrittneyENGL3372

A Little Perspective

Everything is always a click away. Its embarrassing to admit that if it weren’t for the technologies of contemporary society I wouldn’t know half of the things that I do now. I feel like it has become a culture, to live with the aid of things like Web 2.0 and smart phones- if you’re not with it your against it right? So how do we feel about the so called “againsters”?

I have a friend, Lucy. Lucy hates technology so much that even using the remote control frustrates her. It’s not necessarily because she doesn’t know how to use all the things we have available, it’s just that she values the old ways of doing things. Lucy lives in New Mexico. Every month a get a letter from her- remember that thing that comes via postal service and consists of ink and paper. I have to admit, there is something so intimate about getting her letters. Not that I don’t love to respond back using email, trust me writing her back with my own handwriting is quite the pain in the ass sometimes. However when I actually sit and really take my time with what I am writing, my words are more than just text on a document, they’re my story.  Sometimes I’m with Lucy; I wish some of the old customs were initiated more often. I know there are others just like Lucy, and to them I recommend at least trying to utilize technology, it never hurt to try!

Here’s the other side though, the so-called brighter one if you will- technology. In this class I have learned that the advantages we have today are all capable of being disadvantages.  Social media is a huge example. Its so sad to think of people who don’t get a job just because of a Facebook post. Or the stereotype people get for their Twitter avatar. Take me for instance- people who follow me on Twitter more than likely think I’m either somewhat narcissistic, or just a typical college girl who likes to flaunt her body. I cant lie, it’s a tiny bit of the latter but let me explain! For those of you who follow me, I took that picture in May when I tried out for the UTA Dance Team. I work really hard to get in the best shape I could and the experience was such a great adventure. I chose to put it as my avatar because it described me, in my opinion- a girl who loves to dance and someone who works hard in hopes to achieve a goal. I didn’t make the team, so a new one is coming soon haha!

As for my collaborative writing experience in this class, I have enjoyed them all yet none as much as Twitter. I was on Twitter before this semester started. However I have never followed any of the people who I have class with, I truly love following all of you! Not only do I feel more comfortable when I come to class, but there have been numerous times when I have a question and don’t have to stress because you are all a click away!

I hope I can always keep with yall on Twitter!

Class discussions are never dull, and I believe that a large part of that has to do with the fact that we wall somewhat know each other on a personal level- the Twitter level. If I’m having a bad day there have been a few of you who make me feel better by showing compassion via Twitter and because of this experience I will always try to follow at least five of the people I share a class with.

Here’s to The Boys

Rape. Its something that usually gets attention right away. As I’ve said before, it’s one of my worst fears, I can’t imagine what its like for a girl who has been victimized that way. I’m not naïve; I know it happens to men too- just not as often. Nevertheless, no matter what your gender may be it has to be traumatizing either way. I think the biggest issue with rape in today’s society is that it is becoming less and less talked about. No one really wants to get involved these days. 

I work at a bar, so I’m constantly watching out for slime balls- you know, the ones who get some liquid courage I them and think they’re Brad Pitt (you go boy). I notice a couple of other things though too. Like how women are starting to travel in smaller groups rather than their typical ‘pack.’ Some women I see, are either by themselves or with one other girl, do they really think they could stand a chance against a huge man? I also see that people are really ignorant to the fact that alcohol does in fact require a limit, sorry girls but when you’re to the point of trying to make a phone call with the fork on your plate, you should probably switch to coffee. One more thing, it’s not that these women don’t realizes that their being watched by men- oh, they know- they need to be aware that by dropping their ass to the floor, and pulling their v-necks to the lowest point, it sends a message. Sound like High School? Good, were getting somewhere.

Don’t get me wrong… my point is NOT TO BASH WOMEN. But I agree with some of the guys from class of Friday, it really isn’t men who should be taking all the blame. Men should know how to control themselves, if they cant then that’s a red flag of not being a man at all. However I think that people who rape others are mentally ill, and no amount of proper etiquette can fix that. There is fine line between being a douche to a woman because she turned you down then to actually force  her into something she wants no part of.

A big problem with the whole “rape” debate is women who claim that they were raped, but they actually just want a way to either get back at someone, or get out of trouble with someone else. I KNOW THIS ISNT ALWAYS THE CASE; there are the true cases of legitimate rape. But that is not what im talking about right now. Think about all the drunken women who leave the bar with guys they just met, I see it all the time! They sit at the bar, they order a cocktail, and then they wait. Here comes Romeo right on time, about when her drink gets empty, and buys her another one. Before you know it they’re talking for the rest of the night and she’s loving all the attention and the free tab of course. Two o’clock comes around, which means no more drinks, and that its time to leave. They leave together, she’s hanging on to him, hes making sure she doesn’t fall on her face- they both know they’re going home together.

Next morning the girl wakes up, realizes she wasn’t such a lady last night, and automatically tells her friends that she was taken advantage of. Cop out. I know this isn’t always the way it goes, but people cant be ignorant to the fact that each case is so different from the next. It’s the laws job to make sure they clear out all these shades of grey.

Center of Attention

I was about eight years old, and I had gotten the purple bike I had been dreaming of for the past seven years of my life. It was on my birthday, and for some reason I had this idea, that if I rode my dream bike with my eyes closed it would be like I was floating on a cloud. So I did it, just closed my eyes and pedaled my eight year old face right into a brick mail box. Broke my helmet, and the pink bell that my dad added to it. I remember thinking, right as soon as I busted my face: Did anyone see that?? Luckily, and more so miraculously, my mom hadn’t been videotaping me that day- Mom loved to pretend she was my personal camera crew. There have been so many more incidences like that have happened to me, and no one knew it because there was no one to catch it. The same can be said about Twitter and Facebook, except that people did see those things, and because of it I paid a consequence. The idea of being watched is not a very pleasant one, not for me at least. Imagine how everyone would act if they were constantly being monitored? The world would be a completely different place.

We live in an age where privacy is demanded, expected even. In the case of social media, such words don’t even exist. People get so upset when they are told that they cant do or say whatever they want on their Twitter/Facebook accounts. I mean, its my personal page right? I even have my picture on it with my name right about it! Wrong. Most people don’t know that just because they create a personal account doesn’t mean that its their property. Once you put something out there, its pretty much free game for anyone to use. However they want to use it. They especially get made when people who they feel that they have blocked are able to access their private information. Here is where we see the flaw with current surveillance these days. It really isn’t monitored at all, even if people think it is.

Bullying, it’s a serious issue in today’s society. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen or read about a teenage taking their life because of cyber bullying. I believe more than anything that if surveillance on social media sites were enforced, the percentage of suicides among teenagers would decrease substantially. I can see it now, as teens sign up for Twitter, Blogs, and Facebook a red lettered news head will pop up: Attention, by agreeing to the terms and rules of this site you are herby acknowledging that all texts publicized will be monitored by the United States Web Patrol. Wouldn’t that be nice? So what am I suggesting? Maybe that kids who are under the age of eighteen most conform to such rules. It could happen.

We can already see this idea of “surveillance” being put in action by businesses. I remember in class how someone was talking about how a person got fired from her job because she sent her social security number via email. I think that was a little too dramatic, but then again I’m not business owner. Also, unless you turn it off in your settings, Twitter and Facebook send out your actual location every time you post something. Talk about creepy. My phone now has the ability to let people, sometimes ones that I don’t even know, have access to the actual address I’m at. So where do we draw the line?

I think someday in the near future we will be constantly monitored. Well have a new authority to answer to, Web Police maybe? This world is something else…

Attention please!

Of the three articles we read for this week, I must say that Rheingold’s was the attention getter for me. I can’t count the number of times I’m invested in my phone while I’m sitting in class. Even when I’m being taught something that I find interesting it’s almost impulse to pull out my phone even if it’s just to check the time. I can only imagine how the teacher feels when she and I both know I’m not paying attention. Sorry professor Hara! It’s not just in the classroom, it’s in the car, it’s at the gym, and if it were possible it would surely be in the shower as well. So what is it? How can I not just put the phone down? Rheingold couldn’t have said it better, “attention is a skill that must be learned, shaped, practiced; this skill must evolve if we are to evolve.” And for me, it is a skill that gets worse as you get older. I’ve noticed that I can’t focus on one thing for more than ten minutes, unless of course it’s my phone! When I look around, I see most people in the same situation I’m in, addicted. I think that’s a big part of it, everyone else is doing it so it can’t be that bad, right? Wrong. I’m not going to lie, when I’m on my phone there’s no way I hear or see anything else, I have missed a lot of experience because I’m too busy being captured by my phone. It’s sad when you can’t remember your car ride home because you spent the majority of it checking the weather and reading tweets. Shame on me…

Sunday Football Time

As I have said before, Sunday is football day. Today, my little sister and I decided that pizza was the best way to go. My sister had never had a pizza delivery so I figured I would make her day by using the Pizza Hut delivery service (okay, I didn’t want to drive either but its still nice!). So when I told her what I was going to do she ran and got the phone book. I told her that we didn’t even have to call because we could just put the order in online, to which she instantly looked disappointed. “Brittney, you’re going to trust a computer to make your pizza instead of a human?” (my sister is seven, mind you). I explained the process of how it works: I order online, the site gets my card number, the humans make the pizza, and then another human delivers it. She definitely was skeptical because no matter what, the computer was making her pizza. When the pizza got to my house, she was a little calmer to see that an actual person was handing me the box. We ate it and I asked her how it was. Her reply: “it tastes like a computer made it.” For her I believe that the issue wasn’t the lack of taste in the pizza; it was the absence of personal interaction in the delivery experience. It’s true, were at the day in age where you don’t have to speak to anyone to get something, it’s all just a click away. Heres where the bigger issue comes in, how long is it going to take until important jobs like the mailman and newspaper journalists become replaced because we don’t need their personal services? This time it was ordering a pizza, in five years it could be ordering my wedding dress—all the experience is marginalized for something that is supposedly bigger than everything.

W3 Transformed

It all starts with an idea, that’s always the case. We saw clearly from this weeks article that when Tim Berners-Lee had his idea, putting it into effect was the most benefiting decision he could have made not only for himself, but for us today. I think what amazed me the most while I was reading was the format of the World Wide Web in its first days, did I see that there were no images!? Its hard to imagine that when today, there is a Google search specifically purposed to search images. We’ve come so far. But I wonder, when Tim Berners-Lee designed the World Wide Web, did he really intend it to become what it is today– a machine which controls us more than we control it?

When he first created the Web, Berners-Lee designed it to have these functions:

As we’ve discussed in class, most people don’t even know how to properly use Google. If your like me, Twitter and Instagram have become an addiction. If your like most middle class Americans, your iphone is equally valuable next to your wallet and possibly even your children (if you have bad children, the ones who don’t go to bed early and always want want want! Kidding of course guys). My point is, I have seen the way in which people react to a crashed computer or a lost phone and it sometimes scares me to think that these technologies that make our lives so convenient have become somewhat of a factor to our happiness in life. I cannot honestly say that this is a good thing.

The Plastic Surgery Theory

In the last twenty-three years, the Web has absolutely changed not only in its purpose, but in its physicality as well. I like to think of it as a forty-three year old woman whose received a nose job, liposuction, hair plugs, breast implants, a tummy tuck, a face lift, lip injections, a gastric bypass, and who makes her weekly visits to the doctor for her annual Botox injections! While she might look fabulous, people might start to wonder how long she will keep up…

While reading, I couldn’t help but think about how Tim Berners-Lee feels about his creation with nearly 100% of the world using it; demanding it. With such a demand for the Web, is it ever going to reach the point to where it will crash? What will the world do then? These are questions we must ask ourselves because although we never expect it to happen, it is not impossible. Also, could there ever be a replacement for the Web? I know it seems hard to think of anything that would ever outdo the Web, but I’m sure that when Berners-Lee had his notion about W3, there was something around that people held to unbeatable standards.

We the Publishers

One of my biggest fears is to forget my phone somewhere or to have it stolen. Therefore, I always make sure that I have it either in my hand or in my pocket. When I read Sherky’s text, “Here Comes Everybody” I couldn’t help but to get annoyed with every person in the story. We have Ivanna, who was forgetful and allowed her friend to harass a teenage girl in order to fix her own mistake. Then there is Sasha, the punk kid who is stupid enough to take self portraits and send them around as if technology can’t catch up with her; might as well put a sign on your forehead that says CATCH ME. Lets not forget about Evan, the self proclaimed hero who wants to save the day like a real man, behind a computer screen (oh how far we have come). So, this computer screen thing, let’s talk about that.If you have a phone or a computer, you know that you have a certain power. No, not like Superman, but pretty damn close.  Because you have two thumbs, you have the power of publishing, and getting a reaction.

The Girl with Opposable Thumbs

One day, as I was scrolling down my Twitter page, I noticed a girl had posted a picture with the caption “my beautiful flowers from Jason.” This girl, we’ll call her Veronica, has been on my “crap list” ever since I found out she was a boyfriend stealer. You’ll need to know this little bit of immatureness for later. Anyways, Jason happens to be my friend’s, we’ll call her Betty, current boyfriend. Apparently, Veronica stopped being Betty’s friend the day she decided she wanted to date Jason. Back to Twitter, when I saw the flowers I instantly felt terrible for Betty, how humiliating to see that your man is sending another girl flowers over Twitter! So what did I do? Besides get in others business, I tweeted to Veronicas picture with this: How pretty Veronica! Which friend did you stab in the back to get these?” Bad move on me, because ten minutes later my phone was buzzing from twitter alerts, notifying me that I had over a dozen retweets and about fifteen of those people actually joined in my tweet to add their own choice insults to Veronica. We call this situation a twitter war, and I definitely was the commander. Three things happened:

  • I accomplished my desire to let Veronica know my distaste for her home wrecking tendencies
  • I unknowingly sparked a hate bash on a girl who just wanted to show her gratitude to a guy who sent her flowers
  • I lost control of the situation- about 30 times.

Once you throw something out there, its free game for anyone, even if you never intend it to spread out. Because come on, what’s the chance of saying something that people not only agree with, but invest personal feeling into, right?

Sunday Football Time

Anyone watching football as theyre writing their blogs? I am! What do I see? Oh, the refs are back! I knew it was going to happen sooner or later, but I honestly think credit for the short lockout should go to social media. Last Sunday, when that idiot ref called that obvious interception as a touchdown, my Twitter went crazy. People from my next door neighbor to NFL players and rap singers were raging on Twitter about how they weren’t going to watch football anymore, not until the professional refs came back. Tweets were coming in hundreds at a time, all about the same thing. ESPN spent all day the next day talking about the call, adding wood to the already spreading fire. The power of  grouping, the power of opposable thumbs, the power of high demand- this gave us our refs back!

Where Does it End?

So, what are we trying to do here. How far will we take it? The problem, to me, is that this power that we have is going to become too powerful. At some point there will be a death because someone decides that the girl who stole a boyfriend thinks she needs to be put in place so she tweets or writes a blog about it. That message will go out and eventually reach someone whose husband left her, and shes decided shes had enough… Luckily this wasn’t my case, but it easily could have been. It goes beyond Twitter, I know this, but those were the cases that I immediately associated Sasha and Ivanna with. It can be a blog, a video, a webpage, anything; they all come with power. With great power comes great responsibility, ask your fellow superhero.

I don’t know, just Google it!

“How much is the going rate for a stripper these days?” Wait! Don’t judge me quite yet, I had to ask my friend this question last week when we were deciding whether or not to hire a guy for my friend’s bachelorette party. Her response, “lets Google it!” This isn’t the first time this has happened- the googling part, not inquiring about strippers- in fact, Google seems to be the solution to almost every question I have. Sometimes I wonder though, what did people do before they found the art of search engines, wait… its coming to me now. Books. Newspapers. Good ole American research!

So this guy, Nicholas Carr, he says that the net has a way of not only altering our research routines but even the way we think. “They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation” says Carr in his article “Is Google Making us Stupid?” I have to agree, even as  I was reading his article I found my brain was trying to go all robot, bolding the relevant words: googlealterstatisticsshortcut or the seemingly never coming in conclusion (these reading assignments come with a length!) Nevertheless, what Carr was talking about was the event happening as I was reading, the expectation of quick knowledge and to-the-point information.

In one of my other classes we have to read Salman Rushdie’s Midnights Children, which I love by the way! I wish I had magic powers that came with the perfect timing of my birth! When I pick up the book, there’s no other option then to read. No hyperlinks, no windows, just paper and words. With Carr’s essay, it became a little more enlightening to me that the things I read on the net come with a completely different form of learning then from the things I read on paper. When I finish a chapter from Midnights Children I can go back, look at what I’ve highlighted and made notes about, and I feel a sense of engraved knowledge. On the other hand, when I finish an article like Carr’s, I immediately start clicking on other things or open up a new window and almost instantly forget about what I just read.

Now for the big question, does Google really make us stupid? No man, we make ourselves stupid! Listen, its not Google’s fault that we have become lazy and expect to get accurate results by typing a few- more times than not broad- words and find what we’re looking for. Also, the bigger problem is that most people have no idea that everything on the web isn’t automatically worthy of truth. Sorry all you Google believers, I won’t bust your bubble completely and leave out the hard truth about Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy. The problem is not Google, the problem is laziness. Pick up a book and read… I mean, I won’t do that, but you totally can!!

Oh I almost forgot the stripper thing! I know most of you were probably doing the robot thing I do, where is that damn stripper word that my brain won’t bold?! The going rate for a half naked man these days is about $160, $200. So, any of you guys want to make a better offer, I know ya’ll have seen Magic Mike! All my friends are real cute and they only get rowdy if there’s tequila involved. Or waffles, I always forget about the waffles; what is it about the stupid waffles? I guess I can Google it.

For the Birds…

Its Sunday, which typically means I can find Dad in his chair and the sounds of whistles, commentators, and professional athletes filling my living room.Today is definitely worthy of “typical Sunday” and I’m not the only one participating in the festivities, at least that’s what my Twitter tells me. The people who I follow on Twitter range from kids I went to high school with, actors, reality stars, athletes, and the handful of randoms that somehow made it to my news feed. With having said that, it is always intriguing to see who is doing, or more interestingly, who is thinking the things I am too. Earlier this afternoon Demarcus Ware tweeted “Who watching some football today?,” three hours later I see 289 retweets and 103 favorites, (not to mention the replies), for his tweet. About five minutes ago, my best friends little brother tweeted about what he thinks a Saints game might be like… hmm, I wonder? I must admit, seeing all the hype about Sunday football on twitter had a big factor in the couch camp I’ve made that has a focal point in the exact direction of the Saints game right now.  See, I think thats what makes Twitter such a fun place- the cultural experience it brings with it.

Steven Johnson says it best, “the most fascinating thing about Twitter is not what it’s doing to us. It’s what we’re doing to it.” And what exactly are we doing to it? I look at it this way; do the lyrics in a choir concert win the contest, or is it he choir students who sing the lyrics? Twitter is successful because its participants give it a voice, a life even.

Think of Twitter like a tree. As it grows, the branches widen for more birds to chirp alonng

Build Your Nest, One Twig At a Time

Recently we were all asked to create a Twitter account, how many of you actually use it for things beside class credit? Better yet, how  many people see it using you more than you use it? Take me for example, the fact that my Twitter showed me how many people were watching football made me feel more compelled to watch, more a part of a group that has been categorized as a majority- tweeters. Both Steven Johnson and Bernardo Huberman credit Twitters popularity to the “hidden social network” as Huberman calls it, “the one that matters when trying to rely on word of mouth to spread an idea, a belief, or a trend.”

Today, according to the oncoming tweets I’m receiving, is reserved for football, who knows what the trend will be tomorrow. Lets see, its the 9th of September, so I can guess that we will shortly be hit with tweets pertaining to the events of September 11th- it has after all become a ritual to remember that part of history on the specific day it happened. Look out, here comes the big picture! The unity of America is most effective through active participation, Twitter only opens another window for that sort of opportunity.  The more people who join in the “chirp,” the faster your tree will grow, and the more furnished your nest will be built.

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