The Public Square

Is life online really as private as we think it is? Is the online web keeping us safe from potential threats? These are questions the recent chapter, The Public Square, brought to mind. The chapter began by telling a story of a girl and her grandmother going to the library one day. While out for the day, the grandmother explains to the child how privacy, as far as what we would like to know, isn’t as it was before. She goes on to explain that when a person goes to the library and rents out a book, no-one knows that person read the book, but themselves. The information learned was discrete. However, compared to online, there is always someone watching. Whether it is google’s data base or actual people spying on what you do on the web, there are close eyes on everyones online movement.

Through my own personal experience, I enjoy making it hard for people to know me online. I never really got into social media until was 14 and by that times couldn’t care any less of what people thought of me. Whether someone is scrolling over my Instagram or Facebook, the pieces never really fit together. Sometimes I will post something that I’ve done, but its usually just major events in life(such as graduations). I feel as if all people should do what I do. Never leave a clear line for the people watching you online. Its not as if I had this intent from the start of my social media accounts, but I just hate sharing my business with people. I also very much enjoy messing with others online so nothing is really as it is. As far as people watching us online, I definitely think its true. With the recent NSA files being released by whistle blowers, it only made my opinion on the matter much stronger.



Education is the building block of all people who wish to go somewhere in life. To receive an education and do well is a very important thing. The chapter “Education” in the book “Reclaiming Conversation” gave a lot of insight on education and how it is now of days. Students are always on their phones or electronics in class and it is hard for them to focus. When you get on your phone in class, and try to focus on the lecture while, say texting, you are trying to focus on many tasks at a time. In the chapter, it states that this is multi-tasking. Not being able to fully focus on a lecture can cause you to lose very valuable information.

There are many schools now who offer devices, such as tablets, to their students and have all the school work on them. Many students like this a lot but find it hard at the same time. It is difficult to stay on task, when the devise you are using encourages multi-tasking. In my own opinion, I agree with this. When you have a devise where you can do your homework on, but also check Facebook, it is difficult to get your stuff done.

Hyper attention is very important for the development of people too and having phones takes that away. A study done by google shows that the best way to learn is to stay active in the class and only to daydream if you are losing focus. This is something that can be taught to students through encouraging them and making them interested in the lecture. In the chapter, Sherry said on page 219, “Hyper attention feels good. And without practice, we can lose the ability to summon deep attention”. Many people notice this and tend to lock away they electronics or cut off their wifi when they want to get their work done.

Solitude and Self-Reflection

I just recently read the chapters solitude and self-reflection in “Reclaiming Conversation”. They both talked about how technology somewhat destroys the idea of solitude and self-reflection. Solitude, which is the state of being alone, is necessary for human growth and development.As stated in the chapter on page 61 by Sherry Turkle, “Developmental psychology has long made the case of the importance of solitude, and now so does neuroscience.” With technology always being by our side(our phones), we are never trulls alone. The communication factor is always there and we feel as if we are with many people even if physically we are not.

Self-reflection is the same as solitude. It is necessary for us to self-reflect on our lives because it allows for imagination and better flow. We learn many things not only about ourselves, but others when we self-reflect. As stated in the chapter on page 80, by Sherry Turkle, “It teaches that our lives are peopled by those who have mattered to us. They live within us for better or for worse.” We learn to recognize people’s influence on our lives and grow depending on that self-brought knowledge. Technology hinders self-reflection in many ways. No-one wants to just sit down anymore and do nothing but think to themselves, or write alone for no reason, or even just draw and daydream. Everyone just gets on their phone when they have free time.

It is quite sad how technology is hurting the development of humans.It was made to make life easier, but it is just making it harder for people, without them even knowing. It is not like it was invented for that either. Technology just has that side-effect to us and no-one would have even seen it coming. Developmental growth is definitely the most important type of growth for mental health. Technology should not be able to hinder it at all.


Thinking Rhetorically

Rhetoric is the study of how writers and speakers use words to influence their audience. I have been aware of the fact that you must talk and speak differently towards some people than others. Whether it was a child, adult, or even a co-worker/friend. It isn’t necessary to talk different towards people, but it helps with getting your point across and the image people hold for you. This was taught to me by my parents and older sister when I was applying for my first job. People hold images of you by the way you speak and act, but mainly by what you say and how you say it. To different audiences, I have to speak in different tones with different purposes. Also, simply to keep a conversation going, I must think of the context I am speaking in.

There was this one time when I went with a friend to his house. I did not know much about the friend’s family or beliefs and somewhat just blindly walked in. Me and my friend went to his room and just played a couple of video games. At around night time, his dad came home from work. It was dinner time in their house and we all had to sit at the dinner table. His parents began to speak to me asking me about school and what I do on my free time. It was just regular conversation, but then the food got served. I just casually started eating and his dad said, “lets make a prayer for this food.” I felt embarrassed because of what I did. Everyone was staring at me like I did something so wrong, but I just did not understand the situation.

I know now to never rush into things and always watch how I act around people I do not know too well. I must always think rhetorically to try and get along with others and respect them for whom they are. Reading the article has somewhat refreshed everything I stand for such as respecting others and never letting an opportunity to waste. Thinking rhetorically allows for communication between me and the rest of the world to widen in diversity and knowledge.

Changing The Way We Talk?

I have just recently read the “Friendship” chapter in the book “Reclaiming Conversation”. It raised many thoughts in my head. Lately, humanity is taking a turn in the way we talk. No-one knows whether it is for better or for worse, but phones have changed conversation as we know it and it isn’t changing back. Many people haven’t necessarily lost conversational skills, but are making up for them in different ways with the use of our advanced modern technology. With the introduction of smart phones into our society, many things have changed since before. People talk less, but talk more at the same time.

The idea of friendship and talking to one another is very different than it was years ago. “Phones have become woven into a drought sense of obligation in friendship”, Sherry Turkle said in the chapter. People do not consider themselves necessarily friends unless they have each others phone information. Being a friend to someone now of days is always being there for them, even when you aren’t in person, the chapter describes. This is somewhat true in todays society.

As an eighteen year old college student, I can vouch that close not a single person on campus doesn’t have a smart phone that they aren’t on constantly throughout the day. The main reason for this is because it is much easier to get on social media and check out what is happening than to have a conversation with the people right next to you. It is also somewhat because of an addiction of wanting to know what is going on in your own little world. In the chapter a student named Kati describes this very well and what it does to us. Sherry Turkle said, ” Kati is describing how smartphones and social media have infused friendship with the fear of missing out – now a feeling so well known that most people just call it by its acronym, FOMO”.

Technology’s Bad Side

In the first chapter of the book, “The Empathy Diaries”, the main subject of technology is brought up. I assume that this indicates that the rest of the book is about technology as well. The main idea the author brings up is that technology can hinder conversational skills even though it has aspects that make conversation a whole lot easier. Through numerous studies and life experiences, Sherry Turkle(the author), gives input on how technology is hurting children in schools and their conversation development skills.

On page ten, she explains a story of a man named Henry David Thoreau. He moved away from society to escape random chatter. In his cabin he lived in, he had” three chairs” however. One for solitude, two for friendship, and three for society. Later in the chapter, she explains what is meant by this  on page 11, “We face a flight from conversation that is also a flight from self-reflection, empathy, and mentorship-the virtues of Thoreau’s three chairs”. I feel as though she relates this to technology, because it removes us from being social and breaking the chain of learning to be empathetic towards others.

It is much easier to send a text than to have a face to face conversation. Technology is especially brought up as hurting children’s conversational skills. Sherry Turkle explains on page six, “They are not developing that way of relating where they listen and learn how to look at each other and hear each other”. This quote again connects with being empathetic. To become social, a person must know how to carry conversations on in ways to approach what others say with empathy.  It is difficult for children to learn how other people have feelings as well if all they can see are the words on their phones and computers.