***FIRST HALF*** 250 word Minimum

In a famous Atlantic piece discussed in Chapter 2 of Baym, Nicholas Carr suggested that Google is “making us stupid” by offloading the task of remembering information and changing the way we think. Carr’s essay set off a moral panic that resulted in hundreds of responses from journalists, philosophers, bloggers, and internet executives, who all expressed various degrees of concern that changes in technology were causing actual changes in the human brain.

Discussion Questions

After viewing Smart Technology Is Making Us Dumb: A Debate, consider the following questions.  This activity aligns with module outcome 3.

  • In what ways do you feel new media has changed the way we not only consume but make sense of information?
  • Is it necessary for individuals to have a broad base of general knowledge, or can we successfully outsource memory to the internet? Please explain.
  • There are risks of giving control of the information we use to make decisions to third parties like search engines.  Which of the risks of giving control do you find most concerning?  
***SECOND PART*** 250 word Minimum

One of the most important controversies in new media is the question of whether individuals should be allowed to post anonymously or under false names in comments sections, on social media, and on message boards and forums. From internet comment sections to Facebook profiles, there has been a move to require people to use their real names to try to cut down on trolling, negative comments, harassment, and offensive postings. Some have argued that an end to anonymous posting will make users more accountable and improve the overall climate online. Others have argued that without anonymous posting individuals might be less willing to share controversial or unpopular points of view, thus suppressing freedom of speech. This activity aligns with module outcome 1.

Discussion Questions

  • Identify and explain two opposing views on whether anonymous posting should be allowed and the reasons each side gives for their viewpoints.
  • What are your reasons for your point of view? What evidence supports your position?