The Horrors of Social Meeja

project in progress from 10 Feb - 17 Feb

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Despite the fact that Keen is an obvious bitter conservative, I found myself buying more and more into his perspective as I read through several pages from Cult of the Amateur.

I find it humorous that Keen The Cult of the Amateur, chap 1 has a blog and lists his twitter feeds on his website when he is so against these media resources. Although Keen probably considers himself a credible person so he can utilize the very things that he complains about. He is right in saying that people will misuse these new resources, but people have been taking advantage of things forever. Just think about the original radio program, The War of the Worlds. People actually thought we were being invaded by aliens. It just goes to show that people are gullible and that it does not take blogs, wikis, or Facebook pages to make them believe false information. People forget to think.

In my opinion, the texting article by David Crystal is extremely over analytic. I compare it to a women over analyzing and stressing over trying to figure out what a man is thinking. He points out uses of textspeak and why they might have become trends or habit. The text speak youth uses today is simply used for convenience . Why push twenty buttons when the same message can be said with only pressing 4? He mentions this midway through the article stating that, "There is ergonomic value in abbreviation given that the number of key-strokes saved bears a direct relationship to time and energy--and formerly (depending on your service-provider) even the eventual size of your telephone bill." Overall, David seems to have a lot of time on his hands to wonder about such a thing and to break down such a simple thing as the language of text. It is interesting how fascinated older generations are in the current generations everyday activities.

David Crystal's TXT MSG article can be summed up in the last sentence. "In Textspeak, we are seeing, in a small way, language in evolution." And while I agree with this statement, I am more inclined to say that Textspeak is a major evolution in language. I say this because I don't believe there should be a set of people that control language. Who is to say a txt msg can't convey a message. It shouldn't matter if you have to spell everything correctly, use letters instead of numbers. It still gets the point across. Let the language change and morph. It shouldn't be stagnant. Not changing is counterproductive and goes against what makes us human.

"This undermining of truth is threatening the quality of civil public discourse, encouraging plagiarism and intellectual property theft, and stifling creativity." Who does this guy think he is? The Internet was made for people to bounce ideas of each other, share work, and create. We can get more information if we use what the Internet has to offer. Youtube shows off video skills and creativity. Wikis let experts interact with rookies. Blogs let people interact with each other. This guy doesn't make any sense.

David Crystal probably gets more into detail because he's a linguist, and that's what linguists do. Language as a whole is just a community consensus. If people didn't agree on it, then you couldn't communicate, so the fact that communication is happening in this way means that it's doing its job. I don't see how it can be "better" or "worse" than any other style of language. All language is an abstraction of reality, so no language has any inherent meaning to get corrupted. One just has to look at some original text from Shakespeare's day to feel like someone who didn't know how to spell got their hands on a pen. They would probably say the same of us.

I feel like Keen’s harsh cynicism leads people away from his actual message. He does make some good arguments but the majority of them are a little double-sided. For instance the internet has, yes, diminished the truth. Where is truth on the internet? Is it the first link that appears when someone uses a search engine? Is it a corporate site that provides “expertise”? Or is it an individual blogger who is no expert but has their own opinion either based on experience or just self thought? Here is where Keen may have it skewed for the problem is not the internet which lets users provide multiple “truths”, but the problem begins when users simply believe that whatever they find IS true. Anyone can now do history reports using Wikipedia or find home remedies for illness using Google and the scariest part about it, is that many people will just go with whatever they find! There are simply not enough questions asked when individuals use the internet to do research. Some people will check various sites before deciding what the truth may be, but what if all of these have false information? Then it develops into this “community of truth” that two plus two equals five.

I think Keen is on to something, but he needs to widen his view beyond that of the internet being the devil’s advocate of democracy. What is the foundation of every government? The people. As long as people will misuse it, the government will find ways to abuse it.

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