Finalized Essay 10/9/18

Erika Bishop

Professor Werry             

RWS 100

9 October 2018

Public Thinking

Technology, we all have it, use it, and love it. The chapter called “Public Thinking” in Clive Thompson’s book, Smarter than you think, talks about how public thinking on the internet has plenty major benefits because people are writing more frequently, and perhaps, more intelligently too. As a child Clive Thompson grew up fascinated by new technology and computers. As he continued to get older he became a writer for New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired. His passion for writing combined with his obsession of the internet led him to writing his book Smarter Than You Think. Chapter two of his book specifically entails how and why the internet actually benefits society contrary to popular belief. For example, it has made our thoughts become more clear and cognitive, it improves the way we write because of the audience we are writing for, and it expands our social connections and knowledge. Many people may argue that the internet has made individuals less intelligent but according to Thompson, they are wrong. He makes many interesting and important claims that people may not have thought of before, but he also carefully uses rebuttals so that the argument is not one sided or bias. This chapter is also filled with different types of evidence and reasoning as to why his side of the argument is the correct one. It gets the readers thinking about things they might not have ever thought of before reading this. In this paper I will evaluate and analyze Thompson’s main claims, discuss rebuttals, and inspect his strengths and weaknesses.

In this excerpt from Thompson’s book, he argues that the internet allows us to write more now than we ever have previously. This has become a resource for people all over the world and it is so easily accessible that people are writing without even noticing it. He uses a personal anecdote to justify this claim. Thompson also uses an effective strategy of comparing how much we write now versus how much we wrote back when writing letters was the main form of communication. He did this because it closely relates to the argument and what he is talking about. For example, Thompson asked his mother how much she actually wrote in the fantasized letter writing days and her response was “”Oh, never! I sign my name on checks or make lists-that’s about it”” (Thompson 50). Because he used an older figure to reference, readers are more likely to believe it is true because older people are always said to be wiser. This doubtlessly got a lot of readers to realize that we have access to write more now than back in the old days. They also most likely thought about their ancestors, and maybe even asked them how much they wrote back then. He also uses statistics about how much we write on the daily. He says “we compose 154 billion emails, more than 500 million tweets on Twitter, and over 1 million blog posts and 1.3 million blog comments on WordPress alone” (Thompson 46-47).  This shows people the bigger picture about how often and how much we use the internet for writing every single day. The use of the large numbers grasps the reader’s attention because it gets them thinking about real statistics day to day. His main claim and choice of evidence were very thorough and thoughtful when it came down to the viewers perspective of the chapter.

Another one of Thomson’s main claims is that writing things down can improve the quality and clarity of our thoughts. Think about it, if songwriters thought of lyrics in their head and it was clear to them, they themselves wouldn’t even exist because they would just know the lyrics already without having to write them down. Have you ever written an essay perfectly in one go? This is why we write things down because the thoughts and ideas become jumbled in our brains if we don’t. Thompson often uses media discourse for his main claims so that his readers know exactly what is going on throughout the essay. It provides an organized piece of writing that is easy to follow and understand. This claim is also backed up by evidence which is an effective way to validate the point trying to me made. He uses a poet to back up this argument to establish credibility for the audience. The famous poet, Cecil Day-Lewis, says “We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand” (Thompson 51). Since this quote is coming from someone who writes poems for a living, it shows that writing things down plays a huge role in clarifying your mind and is a big part of what writers do for their work. Using a poet as evidence is very powerful when it comes to converting the audience to Thompson’s side.

When it comes to having an audience, the mind works in a way that improves your writing because it knows that someone is going to view your work. Thompson states that even if the audience is not that large, it still makes a much bigger impact than no audience at all. This is another one of Thompson’s main claims in the text. Thompson uses many types of evidence to prove how writing things for an audience can improve the way we write. This is extremely important to the overall argument because when people use technology they tend to have an audience. This displays that one’s writing can take shape more clearly without thinking about it because they know they have an audience watching. One strategy that he uses is defining the term audience effect. He claims that “[s]ocial scientists call this the “audience effect” [which is] the shift in our performance when we know people are watching” (Thompson 54). Defining this gives people a clear vision of what the term means so that there is no confusion. This is a strong strategy to use because it establishes trustworthiness in the person reading the article. Thompson also uses a few case studies to prove the audience effect is true in most cases. Case studies are useful because they grab the reader’s attention and gets them wondering what the end result is going to come out to be. For this specific claim he uses many case studies, strategies, and facts. All of this evidence is appropriate and effective in order to get his central argument across. He reveals that “a group of Vanderbilt University professors in 2008 published a study” on three different groups of children (Thompson 55). The first group was instructed to solve a puzzle quietly to themselves, the second group was told to speak into a recording while solving the puzzle, and the third group had an audience of their mother while figuring the puzzle out. The results prove the audience effect because “the ones who were talking to a meaningful audience-Mom-did best of all” (Thompson 55). By explaining this experiment in such great detail the viewers are more susceptible to caring about and understanding the main claim. As you can see, the end result ended up favoring Thompson’s claim which justifies the readers if they have any disagreements. After making this claim Thompson provides a rebuttal for the audience to consider. “In live, face-to-face situations, like sports or live music, the audience effect often makes runners or musicians perform better, but it can sometimes psych them out and make them choke, too” (Thompson 54) says Thompson. He is addressing the counterargument that sometimes the audience effect is not always a good thing. However, he does not expand on the opposing side well enough to fully get the reader to come to their senses on his side of the argument. This claim was overall very well rounded, had a good amount of evidence, and provided a rebuttal.

One of Thompson’s last claims is that when your thoughts become accessible to the public, it is easy for connections to bloom. Throughout this claim he makes several points about how these connections happen and what we benefit from them. This directly relates to the main focus of the chapter as a whole because it shows that technology is beneficial for this reason. Thompson goes on to state that lacking the internet leads to lack of different perspectives and knowledge from others. For example he states that “scientific journals and citation were a successful attempt to create a worldwide network, a mechanism for not just thinking in public but doing so in a connected way” (Thompson 61). This quote shows that being connected online has helped advance scientific studies by being connected. He chose to use facts as the type of evidence for this claim. It is very straightforward and gets the main point across in a very clear manner. It goes beyond advancing just scientific studies though. Sharing things online creates many communities for personal interests and more. Personally I agree with Thompson because I have experienced that when I put my thoughts out there and read others work it helps me have a better understanding of different writing techniques that I can use later in my writing pieces. Reading and writing is a ongoing process of learning and getting better. Without access to the internet we would not have the advantage of reading other peoples work so easily.

Throughout this chapter of Thompson’s book, he has many strengths but also some weaknesses to look at. He uses many persuasive strategies and evidence to bring together the effectiveness of the chapter. For example he uses many rhetoricals questions, facts, surveys, data, personal stories, and appeals to logos, ethos, and pathos. All of these strategies work together to make this chapter as persuasive and effective as possible. Thompson excelled at using rhetorical questions throughout the chapter. For example he asks “How much writing is that, precisely?” and “Is any of this writing good?” (Thompson 47-48) when providing evidence about how much we write on the daily. The use of these frequent rhetorical questions helps to shape the essay into a more efficient and persuasive one. It also is a good strategy to use because the readers have to pause throughout the reading and think about what is being asked. As for weaknesses, Thompson struggles with concrete evidence for one of his claims. When he states that writing on the internet opens doors for more connections, he struggles finding evidence that fully supports that claims. What little evidence that he does have is partially irrelevant and does not grasp the entire argument to the point where the readers are going to agree with him. Readers may think of many counter arguments for this claims because the evidence is not solid. Another one of his weaknesses is lack of clear rebuttals. Because he has three main claims, rebuttals are to be expected for nearly each one however, he leaves them out or makes them so small that readers may not even notice that there was a rebuttal. For example Thompson’s claim about the internet allowing us to write more now than we ever have before lacks a rebuttal. It would have been extremely important to include a rebuttal for this claim because many people have a lot to say about this claim. I think the reason Thompson left out rebuttals is because there aren’t many rebuttals to what he is initially arguing in the first place. I mean sure, a tremendous amount of the population think that technology is screwing us over, but I don’t think they ever thought of this perspective of it actually favoring us.

In conclusion, this chapter of Thompson’s book, Smarter Than You Think, does a good job in backing up his overall argument with many different strategies, evidence, and claims. He persuades the readers by making many important claims about how the use of the internet these days has become a writing outlet for people all over the entire world. His evidence, strategies, strengths, weaknesses, and rebuttals all work together to make a central argument against people like Nicholas Carr who believe the internet is making people in our generation less intelligent. Nicholas Carr is the author of the book “The Shallows” which entails many thoughts, ideas, and evidence to show how the internet is brainwashing today’s society. Thompson was brave for writing this book because most people, like Nicholas, think that the use of the internet has made our society become less informed and creative. All in all Clive Thompson’s writing contains all needed components to making a good persuasive argument.

 

Works Cited

 

Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. “They Say / I Say”: the Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. W. W. Norton & Company, 2018.

 

Thompson, Clive. “Bio.” Smarter Than You Think, 2013, smarterthanyouthink.net/bio/.

 

Thompson, Clive. “Public Thinking.” Smarter Than You Think, Penguin Press, 2013, pp. 45–69.
Werry, Chris. Rhetoric & Writing Studies

Revised Rough Draft 10/3/18

Erika Bishop

Professor Werry             

RWS 100

3 October 2018

Public Thinking

Technology, we all have it, use it, and love it. The chapter called “Public Thinking” in Clive Thompson’s book, Smarter than you think, talks about how public thinking on the internet has plenty major benefits because people are writing more frequently, and perhaps, more intelligently too. As a child Clive Thompson grew up fascinated by new technology and computers. As he continued to get older he became a writer for New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired. His passion for writing combined with his obsession of the internet led him to writing his book Smarter Than You Think. Chapter two of his book specifically entails how and why the internet actually benefits society contrary to popular belief. For example, it has made our thoughts become more clear and cognitive, it improves the way we write because of the audience we are writing for, and it expands our social connections and knowledge. Many people may argue that the internet has made individuals less intelligent but according to Thompson, they are wrong. He makes many interesting and important claims that people may not have thought of before, but he also carefully uses rebuttals so that the argument is not one sided or bias. This chapter is also filled with different types of evidence and reasoning as to why his side of the argument is the correct one. It gets the readers thinking about things they might not have ever thought of before reading this. In this paper I will evaluate and analyze Thompson’s main claims, discuss rebuttals, and inspect his strengths and weaknesses.

In this excerpt from Thompson’s book, he argues that the internet has become an outlet for our writing skills and that we are writing more now than we ever have previously. This has become a resource for people all over the world and it is so easily accessible that people are writing without even noticing it. He uses a personal anecdote to justify this claim. Thompson also uses an effective strategy of comparing how much we write now versus how much we wrote back when writing letters was the main form of communication. He did this because it closely relates to the argument and what he is talking about. For example, Thompson asked his mother how much she actually wrote in the fantasized letter writing days and her response was “”Oh, never! I sign my name on checks or make lists-that’s about it”” (Thompson 50). Because he used an older figure to reference, readers are more likely to believe it is true because older people are always said to be wiser. This doubtlessly got a lot of readers to realize that we have access to write more now than back in the old days. They also most likely thought about their ancestors, and maybe even asked them how much they wrote back then. He also uses statistics about how much we write on the daily. He says “we compose 154 billion emails, more than 500 million tweets on Twitter, and over 1 million blog posts and 1.3 million blog comments on WordPress alone” (Thompson 46-47).  This shows people the bigger picture about how often and how much we use the internet for writing every single day. The use of the large numbers grasps the reader’s attention because it gets them thinking about real statistics day to day. His main claim and choice of evidence were very thorough and thoughtful when it came down to the viewers perspective of the chapter.

Another one of Thomson’s main claims is that writing things down can improve the quality and clarity of our thoughts. Think about it, if songwriters thought of lyrics in their head and it was clear to them, they themselves wouldn’t even exist because they would just know the lyrics already without having to write them down. Have you ever written an essay perfectly in one go? This is why we write things down because the thoughts and ideas become jumbled in our brains if we don’t. Thompson often uses media discourse for his main claims so that his readers know exactly what is going on throughout the essay. It provides an organized piece of writing that is easy to follow and understand. This claim is also backed up by evidence which is an effective way to validate the point trying to me made. He uses a poet to back up this argument to establish credibility for the audience. The famous poet, Cecil Day-Lewis, says “We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand” (Thompson 51). Since this quote is coming from someone who writes poems for a living, it shows that writing things down plays a huge role in clarifying your mind and is a big part of what writers do for their work. Using a poet as evidence is very powerful when it comes to converting the audience to Thompson’s side.

When it comes to having an audience, the mind works in a way that improves your writing because it knows that someone is going to view your work. Even if the audience is not that large, it still makes a much bigger impact than no audience at all. This is another one of Thompson’s main claims in the text. Thompson uses many types of evidence to prove how writing things for an audience can improve the way we write. One strategy that he uses is defining the term audience effect. He claims that “[s]ocial scientists call this the “audience effect” [which is] the shift in our performance when we know people are watching” (Thompson 54). Defining this gives people a clear vision of what the term means so that there is no confusion. This is a strong strategy to use because it establishes trustworthiness in the person reading the article. Thompson also uses a few case studies to prove the audience effect is true in most cases. Case studies are useful because they grab the reader’s attention and gets them wondering what the end result is going to come out to be. For this specific claim he uses many case studies, strategies, and facts. All of this evidence is appropriate and effective in order to get his central argument across. He reveals that “a group of Vanderbilt University professors in 2008 published a study” on three different groups of children (Thompson 55). The first group was instructed to solve a puzzle quietly to themselves, the second group was told to speak into a recording while solving the puzzle, and the third group had an audience of their mother while figuring the puzzle out. The results prove the audience effect because “the ones who were talking to a meaningful audience-Mom-did best of all” (Thompson 55). By explaining this experiment in such great detail the viewers are more susceptible to caring about and understanding the main claim. As you can see, the end result ended up favoring Thompson’s claim which justifies the readers if they have any disagreements. After making this claim Thompson provides a rebuttal for the audience to consider. “In live, face-to-face situations, like sports or live music, the audience effect often makes runners or musicians perform better, but it can sometimes psych them out and make them choke, too” (Thompson 54) says Thompson. He is addressing the counterargument that sometimes the audience effect is not always a good thing. However, he does not expand on the opposing side well enough to fully get the reader to come to their senses on his side of the argument. This claim was overall very well rounded, had a good amount of evidence, and provided a rebuttal.

One of Thompson’s last claims is that when your thoughts become accessible to the public, it is easy for connections to bloom. Personally I agree with Thompson because I have experienced that when I put my thoughts out there and read others work it helps me have a better understanding of different writing techniques that I can use later in my writing pieces. Reading and writing is a ongoing process of learning and getting better. Without access to the internet we would not have the advantage of reading other peoples work so easily. Throughout this claim he makes several points about how these connections happen and what we benefit from them. For example he states that “scientific journals and citation were a successful attempt to create a worldwide network, a mechanism for not just thinking in public but doing so in a connected way” (Thompson 61). This quote shows that being connected online has helped advance scientific studies by being connected. He chose to use facts as the type of evidence for this claim. It is very straightforward and gets the main point across in a very clear manner.

Throughout this chapter of Thompson’s book, he has many strengths but also some weaknesses to look at. He uses many persuasive strategies and evidence to bring together the effectiveness of the chapter. For example he uses many rhetoricals questions, facts, surveys, data, personal stories, and appeals to logos, ethos, and pathos. All of these strategies work together to make this chapter as persuasive and effective as possible. As for weaknesses, Thompson struggles with concrete evidence for one of his claims. When he states that writing on the internet opens doors for more connections, he struggles finding evidence that fully supports that claims. What little evidence that he does have is partially irrelevant and does not grasp the entire argument to the point where the readers are going to agree with him. Readers may think of many counter arguments for this claims because the evidence is not solid. Another one of his weaknesses is lack of clear rebuttals. Because he has three main claims, rebuttals are to be expected for nearly each one however, he does leaves them out and made them so small that readers may not even notice that there was a rebuttal. I think the reason Thompson left out rebuttals is because there aren’t many rebuttals to what he is initially arguing in the first place. I mean sure, a tremendous amount of the population think that technology is screwing us over, but I don’t think they ever thought of this perspective of it actually favoring us.

In conclusion, this chapter of Thompson’s book, Smarter Than You Think, does a good job in backing up his overall argument with many different strategies, evidence, and claims. He persuades the readers by making many important claims about how the use of the internet these days has become a writing outlet for people all over the entire world. His evidence, strategies, strengths, weaknesses, and rebuttals all work together to make a central argument against people like Nicholas Carr who believe the internet is making people in our generation less intelligent. Nicholas Carr is the author of the book “The Shallows” which entails many thoughts, ideas, and evidence to show how the internet is brainwashing today’s society. Thompson was brave for writing this book because most people, like Nicholas, think that the use of the internet has made our society become less informed and creative. All in all Clive Thompson’s writing contains all needed components to making a good persuasive argument.

 

Works Cited

 

Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. “They Say / I Say”: the Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. W. W. Norton & Company, 2018.

 

Thompson, Clive. “Bio.” Smarter Than You Think, 2013, smarterthanyouthink.net/bio/.

 

Thompson, Clive. “Public Thinking.” Smarter Than You Think, Penguin Press, 2013, pp. 45–69.
Werry, Chris. Rhetoric & Writing Studies

Rough Draft 9/27/18

Erika Bishop

Professor Werry

RWS 100

24 September 2018

Public Thinking

Technology, we all have it, use it, and love it. In the excerpt from the book “Smarter than you think,” Chapter two’s  “Public Thinking” by Clive Thompson, talks about how public thinking on the internet has drastically changed the how and the amount we write which has many major benefits. For example the use of technology has made our thoughts become more clear and cognitive, it improves the way we write because of the audience we are writing for, and it expands our social connections and knowledge. Many people may argue that the internet has made individuals less intelligent but according to Thompson, they are wrong. He makes many interesting and important claims that people may not have thought of before but he also carefully uses rebuttals so that the argument is not one sided or bias. This chapter is also filled with different types of evidence and reasoning as to why his side of the argument is the correct one. It gets the readers thinking about things they might not have ever thought of before reading this.

In this excerpt from Thompson’s book, he argues that the internet has become an outlet for our writing skills and that we are writing more now than we ever have before. This has become a resource for people all over the world and it is so easily accessible that people are writing without even noticing it. He uses a personal anecdote to justify his claim. Thompson also uses an effective strategy of comparing how much we write now versus how much we wrote back in the letter writing days. He did this because it closely relates to the argument and what he is talking about. For example Thompson asked his mother how much she actually wrote in the fantasized letter writing days and her response was “”Oh, never! I sign my name on checks or make lists-that’s about it”” (Thompson 50).  This probably got a lot of readers to realize that we have access to write more now than back in the old days. They also most likely thought about their ancestors and maybe even asked them how much they wrote back then. He also uses statistics about how much we write on the daily. He says “we compose 154 billion emails, more than 500 million tweets on Twitter, and over 1 million blog posts and 1.3 million blog comments on WordPress alone” (Thompson 46-47). This shows people the bigger picture about how often and how much we use the internet for writing every single day. The use of the large numbers grasps the reader’s attention because it gets them thinking about the real statistics and to realize that Thompson may be right about what he is arguing.

Another one of Thomson’s main claims is that writing things down can improve the quality and clarity of our thoughts. Think about it, if songwriters thought of lyrics in their head and it was clear to them, songwriters would not even exist because they would just know it already without having to write it down. Have you ever written an essay perfectly in one go? This is why we write things down because the thoughts and ideas can become jumbled in our brains if we don’t. Thompson often uses media discourse for hs man claims so that his readers know exactly what is going on throughout the essay. This claim is also backed up by evidence which is an effective way to prove the point trying to me made. He uses a poet to back up this argument to establish credibility for the audience. The famous poet, Cecil Day-Lewis, says “We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand” (Thompson 51). This quote is coming from someone who writes poems for a living and it shows that writing things down plays a huge role in clarifying your mind and is a big part of what writers do for their work.

When it comes to having an audience, your mind works in a way that improves your writing because it knows that someone is going to see your work. Even if the audience is not that large, it still makes a much bigger impact than with no audience at all. This is another one of Thompson’s main claims in the text. Thompson uses many type of evidence to prove how writing things for an audience can improve the way we write. One strategy that he uses is defining the term audience effect. He claims that “[s]ocial scientists call this the “audience effect” [which is] the shift in our performance when we know people are watching” (Thompson 54). Defining this gives people a clear vision of what the term means so that there is no confusion. This is a strong strategy to use because it establishes trustworthiness in the person reading the article. Thompson also uses a few case studies to prove the audience effect is true in most cases. Case studies are useful because they grab the reader’s attention and gets them wondering what the end result is going to come out to be. For this specific claim he uses many case studies, strategies, and facts. All of this evidence is appropriate and effective in order to get his central argument across. He reveals that “a group of Vanderbilt University professors in 2008 published a study” on three different groups of children (Thompson 55). The first group was instructed to solve a puzzle quietly to themselves, the second group was told to speak into a recording while solving the puzzle, and the third group had an audience of their mother while figuring the puzzle out. The results prove the audience effect because “the ones who were talking to a meaningful audience-Mom-did best of all” (Thompson 55). As you can see, the end result ended up favoring Thompson’s claim which proves the readers wrong if they have any disagreements. After making this claim Thompson provides a rebuttal for the audience to consider. “In live, face-to-face situations, like sports or live music, the audience effect often makes runners or musicians perform better, but it can sometimes psych them out and make them choke, too” (Thompson 54) says Thompson. He is addressing the counterargument that sometimes the audience effect is not always a good thing. However, he does not expand on the opposing side well enough to fully get the reader to come to their senses on his side of the argument. This claim was overall very well rounded, had a good amount of evidence, and provided a rebuttal

One of Thompson’s last claims is that when your thoughts become accessible to the public, it is easy for connections to bloom. Personally I agree with Thompson because I have experienced that when I put my thoughts out there and read others work it helps me have a better understanding of different writing techniques that I can use later in my writing pieces. Reading and writing is a ongoing process of learning and getting better. Without access to the internet we would not have the advantage of reading other peoples work so easily. Throughout this claim he makes several points about how these connections happen and what we benefit from them. For example he states that “scientific journals and citation were a successful attempt to create a worldwide network, a mechanism for not just thinking in public but doing so in a connected way” (Thompson 61). This quote shows that being connected online has helped advance scientific studies by being connected. He chose to use facts as the type of evidence for this claim. It is very straightforward and gets the main point across in a very clear manner.

Throughout this chapter of Thompson’s book, he has many strengths but also some weaknesses to look at. He uses many persuasive strategies and evidence to bring together the effectiveness of the chapter. For example he uses many rhetoricals questions, facts, surveys, data, personal stories, and appeals to logos, ethos, and pathos. As for weaknesses, Thompson struggles with concrete evidence for one of his claims. When he states that writing on the internet opens doors for more connections, he struggles finding evidence that fully supports that claims. What little evidence that he does his is partially irrelevant and does not grasp the entire argument to the point where the readers are going to agree with him. Readers may think of many counter arguments for this claims because the evidence is not solid. Another one of his weaknesses is lack of clear rebuttals. Because he has three main claims, rebuttals are to be expected for nearly each one however, he does leaves them out or makes them so small that readers may not even notice that there was a rebuttal.

In conclusion, this chapter of Thompson’s book, Smarter Than You Think, does a good job in backing up his overall argument with many different strategies, evidence, and claims. He persuades the readers by making many important claims about how the use of the internet these days has become a writing outlet for people all over the entire world. His evidence, strategies, strengths, weaknesses, and rebuttals all work together to make a central argument against people like Nicholas Carr who believe the internet is making people in our generation less intelligent. Nicholas Carr is the author of the book “The Shallows” which entails many thoughts, ideas, and evidence to show how the internet is brainwashing today’s society. Thompson was brave for writing this book because most people, like Nicholas, think that the use of the internet has made our society become less informed and creative. All in all Clive Thompson’s writing contains all needed components to making a good persuasive argument.

 

Works Cited

 

Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. “They Say / I Say”: the Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. W. W. Norton & Company, 2018.

 

Thompson, Clive. “Public Thinking.” Smarter Than You Think, Penguin Press, 2013, pp. 45–69.
Werry, Chris. Rhetoric & Writing Studies

Essay Progress 9/25/18

Erika Bishop

Professor Werry

RWS 100

24 September 2018

Public Thinking

Technology, we all have it, use it, and love it. In the excerpt from the book “Smarter than you think,” Chapter two’s  “Public Thinking” by Clive Thompson, talks about how public thinking on the internet has drastically changed the how and the amount we write which has many major benefits. For example the use of technology has made our thoughts become more clear and cognitive, it improves the way we write because of the audience we are writing for, and it expands our social connections and knowledge. Many people may argue that the internet has made individuals less intelligent but according to Thompson, they are wrong. He makes many interesting and important claims that people may not have thought of before but he also carefully uses rebuttals so that the argument is not one sided or bias. This chapter is also filled with different types of evidence and reasoning as to why his side of the argument is the correct one. It gets the readers thinking about things they might not have ever thought of before reading this.

In this excerpt from Thompson’s book, he argues that the internet has become an outlet for our writing skills and that we are writing more now than we ever have before. This has become a resource for people all over the world and it is so easily accessible that people are writing without even noticing it. He uses a personal anecdote to justify his claim. Thompson also uses an effective strategy of comparing how much we write now versus how much we wrote back in the letter writing days. He did this because it closely relates to the argument and what he is talking about. For example Thompson asked his mother how much she actually wrote in the fantasized letter writing days and her response was “”Oh, never! I sign my name on checks or make lists-that’s about it”” (Thompson 50).  This probably got a lot of readers to realize that we have access to write more now than back in the old days. They also most likely thought about their ancestors and maybe even asked them how much they wrote back then. He also uses statistics about how much we write on the daily. He says “we compose 154 billion e-mails, more than 500 million tweets on Twitter, and over 1 million blog posts and 1.3 million blog comments on WordPress alone” (Thompson 46-47). This shows people the bigger picture about how often and how much we use the internet for writing every single day.

Another one of Thomson’s main claims is that writing things down can improve the quality and clarity of our thoughts. Think about it, if songwriters thought of lyrics in their head and it was clear to them, songwriters would not even exist because they would just know it already without having to write it down. Have you ever written an essay perfectly in one go? This is why we write things down because the thoughts and ideas can become jumbled in our brains if we don’t. Thompson often uses media discourse for hs man claims so that his readers know exactly what is going on throughout the essay. This claim is also backed up by evidence which is an effective way to prove the point trying to me made. He uses a poet to back up this argument to establish credibility for the audience. The famous poet, Cecil Day-Lewis, says “We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand” (Thompson 51). This quote is coming from someone who writes poems for a living and it shows that writing things down plays a huge role in clarifying your mind and is a big part of what writers do for their work.

When it comes to having an audience, your mind works in a way that improves your writing because it knows that someone is going to see your work. Even if the audience is not that large, it still makes a much bigger impact than with no audience at all. This is another one of Thompson’s main claims in the text. Thompson uses many type of evidence to prove how writing things for an audience can improve the way we write. One strategy that he uses is defining the term audience effect. He claims that “[s]ocial scientists call this the “audience effect” [which is] the shift in our performance when we know people are watching” (Thompson 54). Defining this gives people a clear vision of what the term means so that there is no confusion. This is a strong strategy to use because it establishes trustworthiness in the person reading the article. Thompson also uses a few case studies to prove the audience effect is true in most cases. Case studies are useful because it grabs the reader’s attention and gets them wondering what the end result is going to come out to be. For this specific claim he uses many case studies, strategies, and facts. All of this evidence is appropriate and effective in order to get his central argument across. He reveals that “a group of Vanderbilt University professors in 2008 published a study” on three different groups of children (Thompson 55). The first group was instructed to solve a puzzle quietly to themselves, the second group was told to speak into a recording while solving the puzzle, and the third group had an audience of their mother while figuring the puzzle out. The results prove the audience effect because “the ones who were talking to a meaningful audience-Mom-did best of all” (Thompson 55). As you can see, the end result ended up favoring Thompson’s claim which basically proves the readers wrong if they have any disagreements. Another case study that Thompson presents is the  

In conclusion this chapter of Thompson’s book Smarter Than You Think does a good job in backing up his overall argument with many different strategies, evidence, and claims.

Intro and Body 9/19/18

Erika Bishop

J Werry

RWS 100

September 18, 2018

Public Thinking

Technology, we all have it, use it, and love it. In the excerpt from the book “Smarter than you think,” Chapter two’s  “Public Thinking” by Clive Thompson, talks about how public thinking on the internet has drastically changed the how and the amount we write which has many major benefits. For example the use of technology has made our thoughts become more clear and cognitive, it improves the way we write because of the audience we are writing for, and it expands our social connections and knowledge. Many people may argue that the internet has made individuals less intelligent but according to Thompson, they are wrong. He makes many interesting and important claims that people may not have thought of before but he also carefully uses rebuttals so that the argument is not one sided or bias. This chapter is also filled with different types of evidence and reasoning as to why his side of the argument is the correct one. It gets the readers thinking about things they might not have ever thought of before reading this.

One of Thomson’s main claims is that writing things down can improve the quality and clarity of our thoughts. Think about it, if songwriters thought of lyrics in their head and it was clear to them, songwriters would not even exist because they would just know it already without having to write it down. Have you ever written an essay perfectly in one go? This is why we write things down because the thoughts and ideas can become jumbled in our brains if we don’t. Thompson uses a poet to back up this argument to establish credibility for the audience. The famous poet, Cecil Day-Lewis, says “We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.” This quote is coming from someone who writes poems for a living and it shows that writing things down plays a huge role in clarifying your mind and is a big part of what writers do for their work. When it comes to having an audience, your mind works in a way that improves your writing because it knows that someone is going to see your work. Even if the audience is not that large, it still makes a much bigger impact than with no audience at all. Thompson uses many type of evidence to prove how writing things for an audience can improve the way we write. 

 

9/18/18 Homework

  1. Consider how Thompson’s ideas from “Public Thinking” connect to your everyday life. Which examples were more relatable or more convincing to you? Be specific. Feel free to use personal anecdotes and quotes from the text to support your reflective response. One example that really stood out to me was “we do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.” I related to this because when I write in my journal I feel like I understand myself more when I read it back to myself. It is easier to reflect on people and our thoughts when we write things down. Another example I related to was  “When you write something online-whether it’s a one-sentence status update, a comment on someone’s photo, or a thousand-word post-you’re doing it with the expectation that someone might read it, even if you’re doing it anonymously.” When I post something on Instagram, I always am thinking about what the audience will think about my comment and it draws me away from writing certain things. They force me to critically think in order to come up with a caption that will please them.
  2. After reading Thompson’s piece, how would you paraphrase his main argument in your own words? After reading Thompson’s piece, I feel that his main argument would be that writing helps us to read and understand everything better.
  3. Identify what do you see as the three most important claims, and discuss the evidence he uses to support these claims. Provide a quotation for each claim (use the “starter” template on page 73 of the reader). One of Thompson’s main claims is that writing improves your memory. Thompson asserts that the generation effect states that if you write something down you will remember it better. According to Thompson, For example, Thompson states that “Early evidence came in 1978, when two psychologists tested people to see how well they remembered words that they’d written down compared to words they’d merely read. Writing won out.” What he means by this is people who write things down versus people who just try and remember the information succeed better. Another one of Thompson’s main claims is that writing can clarify our thinking. Thompson asserts that “We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.” According to Thompson, when we write things down we understand our thoughts better and it helps us develop a better style of writing for our own selves. For example, Thompson states that “”I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind,” Cecil Day-Lewis wrote of his poetic compositions. “If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it. . . .” What he means by this is the reason we write things down is to make the thoughts more organized and easier to understand. The last one of Thompson’s main claims is “Before the Internet came along, most people rarely wrote anything at all for pleasure or intellectual satisfaction after graduating.. from high school or college.” Thompson asserts that people nowadays write and read more than they did back in the letter writing days. According to Thompson, his mother refuses to use the internet and the last time she wrote a paragraph she could not even remember. For example, Thompson states that “Research suggests that even in the United Kingdom’s peak letter-writing years-the late nineteenth century, before the telephone became common-the average citizen received barely one letter every two weeks, and that’s even if we generously include a lot of distinctly unliterary business missives of the “hey, you owe us money” type.” What he means by this is the internet has helped us read and write more than we ever have before. In other words, the internet is actually doing something positive in our society and helping us think critically and write more clear thoughts.
  4. Identify two rebuttals (places where Thompson addresses opposing views). One rebuttal Thompson used was “this is something that’s particularly hard to grasp for professionals whose jobs require incessant writing, like academics, journalists, lawyers, or marketers. For them, the act of writing and hashing out your ideas seems commonplace.” He says this when he claims that society writes more now than back in the letter writing days. Another rebuttal he uses is “In fact, many people have told me they feel the audience effect kick in with even a tiny handful of viewers.” He is addressing the counterargument that having an audience can either help or hurt performance drastically.

9/13 Homework

  1. Review/re-read Rifkin’s “A Change of Heart About Animals,” and Parry’s “Branding a Condition.”  
  2. Read pages 45 – 58 of Thompson’s “Public Thinking.”  What did you think of the text? Which passages seemed most interesting, or connected in some way to your own experience online? I personally really enjoyed reading this text because I am interested in reading blogs. I connected to it because I follow this one blogger that I really like and she inspires me to be more creative. Even though I dont write a blog, I write in my journal as if it is a blog and other people are reading it. Maybe one day I will actually create one.
  3. What seem to be Thompson’s main claims? What did you think of these claims? One of Thomson’s main claims is that reading “helps us formulate thoughts that are more abstract, categorical, and logical.” Another one of his claims is that reading can help clarify the way we think. These main claims are very straight to the point which makes it easier on the reader to focus and engage on the main points of the article.

 

9/10/18 Homework

  • What did you think of Rifkin’s argument, or find most interesting about it? I found it most interesting that Rifikins argument was getting people to realize how human animals actually are. Most writers chose to write about topics that super relevant and controversial to the world at the time and I liked how this was a little breath of fresh air for those who need a break from the controversial topics.
  • Read the “starter template for discussing claims” on page 73 (reader). Use this template to write about two of Rifkin’s main claims. One of Rifkin’s main claims is that animals are more alike humans than we had expected. Rifikin asserts that many researchers are finding that creatures have many similar human qualities. According to Rifkin, they know how to love, experience stress, and feel pain. For example, Rifkin states that “these finding are changing how we view animals.” What he means by this is that all the statistics and data people are finding is leading us to find that animals are just like us. In other words, we are looking at animals all wrong and we need to start treating them will more respect. Another one of Rifkins main claims is that animals do have a sense of awareness just like we do. Rifkin asserts that many people are led to believe that these creatures have no sense of awareness. According to Rifkin, those claims happen to be untrue based on research. For example, Rifkin states that “An orangutan… used a mirror to groom his teeth and adjust his sunglasses.”  What he means by this is animals are aware of themselves and keep up with things that humans do. In other words, people that think animals are stupid clearly haven’t done their research.
  • In a separate paragraph describe some of the main kinds of evidence used to support these claims. Rifkin uses a lot of evidence to support his claims. For example he uses a lot of statistics and data found from researchers all over the place. These support his claim by opening the readers eyes to things that bring out human qualities in animals. He also uses facts which helps with supporting the claim.  
  • Discuss two strategies Rifkin uses to persuade his audience. One strategy Rifkin uses is appeal to pathos, and emotion. By talking about love and animals, humans can relate and it helps persuade the reader. Another strategy that he uses is rhetorical questions. He creates an entire paragraph of rhetorical questions getting the reader to be constantly thinking about the question before and the question that will follow.
  • Read Parry’s “Branding a Condition.” What is Parry’s overall argument? What did you find most interesting/useful about this text? Parrys overall argument is If you can define a particular condition and its associated symptoms in the minds of physicians and patients, you can also predicate the best treatment for that condition. I found it most interesting that Parry went against advertisers and marketers and stated what he found to be true for many people.
  • What does Parry’s argument suggest about the way advertisers and marketers try to persuade audiences? Have you seen or heard of any similar methods of persuading people? Parry’s argument suggests that advertisers and marketers try to persuade their audience by telling everyone what they want to hear and going with what is most popular. This method of persuading people happens all over the place without us even noticing. It’s in movies, magazines, newspapers, and more.

Rebuttal Paragraphs 9/5/18

Kristof, “Do We Have the Courage”

In Kristof’s text, “Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?” he uses rebuttals to try and persuade the audience towards his argument in the best way possible. One rebuttal I found was when he said “Likewise, don’t bother with the argument that if more people carried guns, they would deter shooters or interrupt them” in paragraph ten explaining something that the other side would possibly think of as an argument. This influences the audience because it stops them from even thinking about that after they read the article because they have already been interrupted by it. Another rebuttal he uses was “And don’t say that it won’t make a difference because crazies will always be able to get a gun.” This also gives the readers another thing to think about if they are on the opposite side of the article and is calling them out for something they are thinking. These types of rebuttals would be called strategic concession because it brings up opposing views that the readers may have thought of.

Jeremy Rifkin, “A Change of Heart About Animals”

In Rifkin’s text, “A Change of Heart About Animals,” he uses many rebuttals for the purpose of persuading that audience to his side of the argument by bring up opposing viewpoints. First rebuttal I found in the text was when he said “some philosophers and animal behaviorists have long argued that other animals are not capable of self-awareness because they lack a sense of individualism.” Right after this was stated, he went on with a study that proved this rebuttal wrong. This is extremely persuasive because it is demonstrating irrelevance of the subject. Another rebuttal he uses is “It’s commonly believed that other animals have no sense of their mortality and are unable to comprehend the concept of their own death.” This also is strategic recession because it brings up the opposing view and then shuts it down immediately after by a statistic.

 

Article Questions 9/3/18

Nicholas Kristof, “Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?”

  1. What seems to be the overall argument? The overall argument seems to be why our government cannot seem to do something about gun control in our country.
  2. What are some of Kristof’s main claims? Some of Kristof’s main claims are limiting gun purchases to no more than once a month and enforcing universal background checks for those who want to purchase a gun.
  3. What kinds of claim does he present (see reader pages 15-16) Kristof uses many comparison claims. For example he compared school shooting deaths to ladder deaths because he was trying to prove a point about regulating guns. He also uses claims about facts and existence. He used a statistic that showed that around 10,000 lives would be saved if we did something to regulate gun use.
  4. List some of the main types of evidence presented (see reader 17 – 21) and discuss how persuasive they are. Some of the main types of evidence that Kristof uses is statistical data, quotations, and facts. Statistical data and facts are extremely persuasive because when the readers is reading that information for the first time they can be surprised and shocked leading them to research more about the cause and then follow through with doing something about it. Quotations are important and helpful because it is coming from a reliable source that people know and want to believe.
  5. Identify two strategies Kristof uses to persuade his audience. Two strategies that Kristof uses to persuade his audience are using authorities or “big names”, and he appeals to the readers emotions by using pathos. For example he mentions a quote by President Barack Obama to try and build the readers trust. He uses pathos by relating to parents that have kids by talking about children dying by massacre.
  6. What is your response to the text (general thoughts or discussion of how effective you think it was). I think that this text provided really good evidence to support the overall argument. I do think that their should’ve been more elaboration on the main claims that were made because they were only talked about for a short amount of time compared to the entire writing. Overall Kristof did a good job persuading readers to take action instead of reading it and doing nothing.

 

Nicholas Kristof, “Some Inconvenient Gun Facts for Liberals”

  1. What seems to be the overall argument? The overall argument of this article would be to teach the community about gun safety and what has been attempted at making the laws more safe but were ineffective.
  2. What are some of Kristof’s main claims? Some main claims that Kristof has made in this article would be when he says that in the past we have tried to ban assault weapons but the statistics show that the deaths after that movement did not reduce at all. Another claim he made was that universal background checks should be required for all who are purchasing a gun.
  3. What kinds of claim does he present (see reader pages 15-16) Kristof used a comparison claim very nicely in his text. He compared the deaths of people by guns to the deaths of people in the American Revolution. He also uses a call to action at the very end paragraph stating that we need to do something about this problem.
  4. List some of the main types of evidence presented (see reader 17 – 21) and discuss how persuasive they are. Some evidence that I saw in this article were facts and data. The use of facts and data is extremely important when trying to persuade someone because it is giving them valuable information that the reader has probably never heard before and is shocking and new to them. Another type of evidence that was used was statistical data and polls. These are also helpful because the readers see that real people voted on the same surveys and they can relate to them.
  5. Identify two strategies Kristof uses to persuade his audience. One strategy that I saw Kristof use in this piece was a rhetorical question. These are effective because it gets the reader thinking. Another strategy I found in this article was the use of authorities and big names. By referencing Obama it makes the readers think about how he is a credible source of information and are more likely to believe it.
  6. What is your response to the text (general thoughts or discussion of how effective you think it was). Personally I did not think this article was persuasive or effective. There was no call to action and it was mostly facts that most people would probably skip over and think were boring. This article needs work on the strategy side of its writing.