On March 13, 2014, Presentation Zen published an article evaluating the talk on the TED Mid-Atlantic Show given my Sam Berns, entitled, “My Philosophy for a Happy Life”. Within the article, the author talks about the different aspects of the speech and the pros and cons of this young man’s speech giving skills, such as the fact that he kept it short and sweet and did not dwell too much on his disease, Progeria, and instead focused on the happy aspects in his life and why others should follow his mentality.
Back to the actual article though; the author used a very simple style of writing that was easy for the reader to process, it was still effective. The author did summarize the speech within his article, but he also included the video for those with a further instance. He also included a picture, introducing the speaker. He then proceeded to discuss the speech without tearing it apart and focused on why this young man was such an excellent speaker and person overall.
There are many different elements from this article that my group and I could use within our project presentation. One of which is the choice of clear, simple words. Nothing muddles up a presentation more than too much “fluff” in order to make everything appear longer and therefore “better”. Also, the multimedia aspect of it was very interesting too. It is very refreshing for a reader to have something else besides text to look at. This keeps the mind open and thoughts flowing that may better allow for a reader to understand the essential concept.
Within our own presentation, I believe it would be valuable to try to incorporate different types of media. Of course there will be the initial text or “speech” but it may also be good to display a short video or pictures, essentially something of that element. I, as a practicing server, though it might be best, since our topic is on the serving industry, to gather a sample of checks that I had throughout a shift and disperse them around the room. Within each check would come a description of the service provided and each person would be asked how much they would leave as a tip based on the information provided. On the back of each check would be what I actually received. We could use this as an opener to our presentation that will actively engage the audience and get them thinking before our group even begins to speak.
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Shirky’s idea of “mass amateurization” has positive attributes as well as some drawbacks. This mainly has to do with the internet and the spread of technology and mass communication. The reality is now that anyone can be a force on the internet and has the ability to spread information on many different media outlets. This can then be found by others.
This practice is good because it shows that there is some real power that people now possess; the power to change things and bring attention to different news stories that may be over looked by the press due to a bigger story taking place; it is now able to be done much more easily than ever before. However, with this, comes many drawbacks.
Since people can now change information so quickly, this makes the creditability of mostly all things on the internet and the writing and research skills of the people who place the information on there questionable. What then becomes of the people who do this for a living? Their entire lively-hood is at state because everything they say can be changed around and reworded by more people now than ever. Also, blogs and other forums have produced more who believe they are “qualified” to become a professional writer just because their blogs have over a couple thousand views. It is now more evident than ever that information is distorted by those who do not fully understand the power that they yield or just do not care.
Maybe media and different information sources just need to pick up the pace and learn how to better handle the army that is internet users or perhaps try to yield that power to their advantage. There are still many out there who need reliable sources since they cannot tend fact from fiction on their own. There needs to be a universal standard on writing but in the grand scheme of things, the internet is still fairly new and much still needs to be accomplished before anything can be fully monitored.
Clay Shirky’s book Here Comes Everybody offers simple ideals and thoughts from what appears to be simple interactions that most people deal with on a daily bases due to the evolvement of technology. For example, in chapter one, Shirky uses the example of how social media helped not only locate a stolen cell phone, but also lead to the recovery of it due to the simplicity of interaction nowadays. In chapter two, he takes it a step further and explains how this simple process of sharing information to obtain a goal can be used in the sharing of research and such. Chapter two, and kind of chapter one as well, goes into the complexity that so much information can bring to seemingly normal events.
Shirky uses the example of a large group of friends going to see a movie and how it is not as simple to organize a trip to the movies as it seems. You must pick the genre, time, location, and the actual movie itself and the more people that become involved, the harder it is to plan efficiently and meet everyone’s needs. This can be used as well to parallel the amount of information that is on the internet. There are many different sources throwing information out there, some more reliable than others, that it can become overwhelming to sort the truth from the fiction and really find true research. This vast expanse of technology available to the public can be both a blessing and a curse.
This relates to our Wikipedia project in several different ways. We picked a topic from a list and then dove headfirst into the sea of information that is now available at every corner in the internet world. We had to search through the nonsense in order to find information that can actually suffice as real research. In then became our responsibility to preserve that information and then present it to the mass public of the internet world through an Annotated Bibliography and soon an actual Wikipedia page. We have taken leadership/control of the group going to the movies and decided the genre, time, location, and the movie itself and silenced all those ridiculous people that make planning an outing harder than it really is.
Within the article “Apple Will Refund $32.5 Million for In-App Purchases Kids Made Without Parental Consent” the story of many different parents with young Apple-product-using-children is expressed. The article explains how many children are taking advantage of their parents’ credit card being attached to the shared Apple account by using it to make in-app purchases on games and such. The issue with this lies in the fact that it is the parents’, not the children’s, credit card and name being used on the account so therefore the parents must be the one to confirm all purchases. Apple, in seeing this, has gone about creating several different security measures to ensure that the proper person is giving permission for these purchases and also is refunding some of the money to the parents.
This article almost makes me wants to laugh. The new generation of children are little masterminds it seems, all because they grew up with technology at every stage. The idea of smartphones, tablets, and social media has been around them since they were first able to remember and we would be stupid to think that this, when not properly looked after by an adult, would have some serious ramifications. Children think of it as no big deal to just hit that button and have what they want delivered right to them. It’s probably done without any thought.
The fault though, does not lie just on the shoulders of the parents. It’s the app companies as well. Making games that are targeted specifically for younger audiences that require in-app purchases in order to see new graphics or experience new levels. It is absurd. There is no need for it. Apps and games that accompany smart technology are fun but they take away from the technology’s true purchase and make it another money making machine that forces people to spend eventually large sums on money to complete a level in Candy Crush! I was shown the other day an app that was made specifically for cats! What has become of our technology?
So good for Apple for finally realizing what kind of trouble their empire is causing along with all the good it has done and still can do.
Shirky’s book “Organizing Without Organizations” opens up with the terrific story of a lost/stolen cell phone. A young woman, Ivanna, lost her phone within a cab and with the help of her friend, Ethan, was able to purchase a new phone and have all of the pictures and important media transferred from her old phone (because the phone company stored such information) to the new one. In doing this, they discovered several pictures of the girl, Sasha, who now had the stolen phone. When asking for its return, the pair was met with hostility. Now powered by a desire to show how wrong this young girl was, Ethan decided to take this story to the place where it would receive the most attention, the internet.
Now of course there were many steps that took place both before and after this event but they all mostly involve around the same idea, the power of the technology around us. In this day and age, social media and other sites hold so much information that when used properly, can greatly help a person in many ways. It can unify people and bring them to action while also reveling, in an indirect way, a lot of information about ourselves from pictures and posts put online.
I can only assume that the reason Shirky opened his book with this story was to show the power of mass media and communication. He offers two points of view on the topic, one positive and one negative. The positive side is Ethan’s and Ivanna’s. They were able to use the internet to discover the identity of Sasha and call others to their story and therefore were able to draw national attention and have a simple case of a lost/stolen phone heard everywhere. But for Sasha this was negative because she was easily found through her social media sites and was therefore harassed by many who heard this story. Though she was in the wrong, this was unnecessary and not fair.
Over, the story represents that the technology that is available today is a source of great power that when used properly can really help us achieve our goals. However, with great power comes great responsibility and we must therefore be careful of the tool we are given and use it in the most appropriate way.
The essays “Internet-Age Writing Syllabus” and “College Writing Assignments with Real World Applications” on Timothy McSweeney’s website use literacy techniques, such as satire, in order to get across a point to an ever rising social issue. Satire is “the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/satire). In employing satire, McSweeney is able to express his distaste in the ever rising new style of “writing” that is most popularly seen on social media websites or through text messages.
Both of the essays are styled to resemble a college- type syllabus in which the requirements and expectations of the course are outlined. Each week is devoted to another vulgar way of teaching students how to write poorly in our social terms but properly within this new age.
This new age of writing is the real problem here. Much like Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”, the use of satire within this text was to draw awareness to an issue, which is in this case, the rise in poor writing skills and overall short hand. This form of communication, or lack therefore of, leads to improper excuses, misplaced self-importance, entitlement, and overall lack of concern for how our actions, or better yet, posts, affect not only our lives but the lives around us.
The essays, in a nondirect way, state that research/writing classes should be teaching students to not follow the mass populace in the way of improper and overall poor writing that is now so commonplace. Research and writing courses should be teaching students how to use the technology that they have and fully use it in the proper way it was intended, not for some random Facebook status or tweet with hardly any thought at all, but as a tool to be used to gain knowledge and overall better oneself.