Carr Discussion Questions

What is the argument that Carr makes in the article?

What did you find most compelling about the article?

Was there anything that you found weak in the argument?

What types of evidence does Carr offer in support of his argument?

To the extent that the bulk of the argument relies on rhetoric,  imagine a discussion of the same topic which takes a very different position on the issue and draws different conclusions—what would that look like?

Below are two sample statementson this issue that exhibit a rhetorical stance in the process (or guise) of offering information. Can you offer the same information in a statement that exhibits a different/opposing rhetorical stance?

“It almost seems that they go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense.”

“When the Net absorbs a medium, that medium is re-created in the Net’s image. “


Studies of Online Habits

Here’s a link to the study/studies to which Carr refers in the Atlantic Monthly  article:

The Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future

The Literature on Young people and Their Information Behaviour

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Read this article for Sunday and prepare to discuss:

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

You May blog about is if you wish.

Note: Carr has a recent book on this topic (just came out in 2010) called *The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains*. The central question it explores (according to the publicity) is “As we enjoy the Internet’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?”

Here’s a related article from the Buiness Pagees if the Irish Evening Post that is worth looking at (and includes some discussion of identity issues at the end for those who are working on that topic):

It’s the Technology Stupid

Wikileaks Documentary

Her’s a link to the Wikileaks documentary on YouTube:

Login on the class wiki and go to the discussion forum to comment on the documentary under the new thread I created called Wikileaks Documentary Discussion.


Wikidot is the wiki interface we will be using for our collaborative rhetorical analysis  papers. To get started as a user, do the following:

Check your email for wikidot invitation

Click on the link to accept the invitation

Follow the link to create an account and sign in

Accept the invitation

Follow the link to the Digital Rhetoric Wiki

Go to the Sandbox link on the right menu.

We will, as a group, follow the instructions there.

Information ethics

It’s time to start talking about the rhetoric of information ownership and information ethics. For Wednesday, read this mercifully *short*” David McCraw’s lecture on Wikileaks and the future of Information Freedom.

There is a YouTube Video of the whole lecture and you are welcome encouraged to watch it, but it is *long* and slow to download, so I am not requiring it. There is a 10 minute excerpt here that you can look at to get a feel for it:

Snake Twitters and “footprints”

So, a poisonous Egyptian cobra escaped from the Bronx zoo in NYC the other day and was at large for about a week–It was just reported found about 10  minutes ago.

Apparently while on the lam, the snake opened a Twitter account and tweeted about her adventures around the city:

Before the snake was located, the NY Times ran a short blog piece about the Tweets which contains some very interesting info about how an anonymous Tweeter can be tracked down–using a digital footprints left by the “location data” captured by Twitpic, the photo hosting service, where, in this case, “the snake” uploaded a photo.

“Why would anyone want this?”

Here’s a short piece from the NYTimes “Gadgetwise” blog, that is directly related to what we were discussing in class today regarding the role of ordinary “citizens” in technology development and the degree to which our new technologies shape us, or we shape them.

The author critiques the new Acer Iconia which has replaced the keyboard of the laptop with a twitchy “virtual keyboard” and  two touch screens, and asks, “Who would want this?” We might also ask (in some ways the same question, but with a slightly different rhetorical spin)–how does this technology construct us as users? What does it assume we value (or invite/encourage us to value?) What does it *not* encourage?

Reading for Saturday

Read: “On the Formation of Democratic Citizens:
Rethinking the Rhetorical Tradition in a Digital Age.”

Comment on discussion board from 10-11:15 am. Respond to others.

Reading questions:

What should I blog about?

Someone asked, so here are some suggestions:

1. Use the “Of Interest” links on the right to read about digital news, issues, developments, etc. that may be of interest and that you could respond to in your blog postings.

2. Since you are working on your virtual identity projects and you are creating bibliographies for your papers, this means you must be reading some articles as you do research. You can use your weekly blog posting to help you process those articles by writing about them. Don’t just summarize the article–but comment on it–what you found interesting–what are the rhetorical features or rhetorical significances.

3. Read your classmates blogs (as many of you are already doing). Some people are posting links and commenting on news stories, articles, YouTube videos etc. that are related to class themes. You may want to follow their links and comment as well, or offer a different perspective, etc.–or you might just get an inspiring idea or a tip about a new site that may be a source of interest.