Clay Shirky begins his book subtitled “The Power of Organizing WIthout Organization” with the story of the stolen sidekick because it shows how communication devices have made it a lot easier for people to form groups and be social. We know that humans have always been social beings, just as Shirky points out, “Our social life is literally primal, in the sense that chimpanzees and gorillas, our closest relatives among the primates, are also social.” However, after seeing what an incredible impact Evan’s StoleSidekick page had on organizing a group that ended up getting everyone to work together to help Ivanna get her phone back, we realize that with today’s increasing technological advancements, being social has become even simpler. As Shirky says, “These changes are profiound because they are amplifying or extending our essential social skills, and our characteristic social failings as well.” The story obviously teaches a moral lesson because of the fact that Sasha was punished for her crime, however this lesson could not have been taught without the use of technology or without the numerous people who participated in this scandal. This also leads us into realizing how important it is for society to work in groups. According to Shirky, “We have always relied on group efforf for survival; even before the invention of agriculture, hunting and gathering required coordinated work and division of labor.” Even though technology has a huge effect of making this story possible, it could not have progressed without the involvement of all the readers. It is very important to keep in mind how technology and group-forming are extremely helpful to organizing society.
Robert Lanham’s “Internet-Age Writing Syllabus” and Cameron Dodd’s “College Writing Assignments with Real-World Applications” both joke about how modern day technology has taken over our lives, and nothing seems to be quite as important as our twitter or facebook or any other type of social networking. We tend to use the internet or our cellphones for everything nowadays instead of just communicating in person. Although these articles seem to be making fun of our generation, I think they actually have some good ideas of how writing courses and assignments of today’s contemporary world should be. Why not get students interested in their subjects by using the media we are comfortable with? This blog, for example, is a great way for students to actually WANT to write. Rather than writing a long term paper, writing a blog would be considered a lot more fun and would still get the point across. Instead of criticizing the contemporary world for their use of media, we should embrace it and make it more useful. What if there really were writing classes specifically designed to help you with blogging and tweeting? Students would love it, and we could make these social networks more educational. The class that is all about tweeting, for example, could even have their own class trend, just like Professor Dywer’s hashtag: #cm213. We need to accept the fact that technology is taking over, and we might as well learn as much about it as we possibly can. Writing may be a lot more informal this way, but it could still be just as expressive and informative. We tend to spend less time stressing out about every single punctation mark when writing on the internet, therefore we can spend even more time getting our points across and communicating even more information.