Tag Archives: internet

Are Blogs Full of Bad Writing? I Sure as Hell Hope Not!

Perusing the internet, I come across an opinion article from the Los Angeles Times that has a title worth reading. Michael Kinsley, the author, titles his article “Are blogs killing good writing?”

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-kinsley-column-felix-salmon-20120210,0,1549723.story

Immediately, I became interested in a title like that especially with my new love for blogging and expressing myself in the digital world. I was also offended. Yes, a good writer takes time to create, but I don’t believe everyone (including myself) could be contributing to some of the terrible writing on the internet. I know it’s out there. We see it every day on Facebook and Twitter. The lack of spelling skills and distinction of the correct words in sentences is apparent in a majority of our friends. We thought they were intelligent until we saw what they posted for their status.

However, I tend to give a benefit of the doubt for anyone willing to take the time and dedication to write a blog at least once a day. It takes either a good writer or one who relies on the spell check to consistently put out content. Now, whether the content is good quality or not depends on the education of the blogger. I know that some people think they are entitled to write because they have been moderately educated, but sometimes they still don’t know how to do it. I get that those people contribute to the bad writing on the internet. But it can’t be that many people, right? To Kinsley, it’s too many. He details the opinion of a famous financial blogger about the quality of blogging and online writing. Not only has it degraded in quality, but the amount has increased exponentially.

So, if you increase the product and reduce the quality, what do you get? A million versions of the same crappy product. Do the consumers (online readers) seem to care or notice? Hell, no and we all know why. Because nobody cares about it anymore. No one is willing to take the time or pay someone to take the time and check for grammatical/any other kind of accuracy. I know that I am nowhere near the perfect writer. I’m not even a good one yet. At least, I admit that I have a lot to learn, and that I am willing to take criticism to learn more. The majority of these people pushing out these crappy quality blogs don’t realize they aren’t writing well AND they don’t care to learn to become better writers. Instead, every consumer (reader) settles for this mediocrity because as long as there is stuff on the internet dumb enough for us to understand, we don’t care if it’s right.

By the end of the article, the author describes the reality that all of the qualities of good writing could be overrated. Now, if we are speaking to the new generation and those bad writers on the internet, I agree. To them, it’s overrated because they don’t understand or respect it. Nevertheless, I disagree greatly that the qualities of good writing should just be thrown out because some people think they are exempt from it. Look, these rules of writing were not created to be forgotten just because the medium changes. Instead, the rules should be enforced. Without rules, society has no order. While I believe that some rules can be bent and altered in certain situations, what makes writing good is that people can make a good quality story without cutting corners. It is the people that cut corners that make me sick. The authors that don’t actually follow the rules, but end up selling millions on a book that isn’t very good.

I feel like the quality of online writing is simply the tip of the iceberg. It is not only that some people think they don’t have to write well and will be received by readers. It’s that publishers, writers, and readers will make a book popular not because they value the story for what it is, but for its market value. We use the term “selling out” when a writer gives in the requests of the publisher or popular theme because it will make money. Writers write the story that only they can tell a certain way. Not everyone should write a romance just because it’s popular. If that were the case, they wouldn’t all be good. I wish that people could understand that the books on the best-seller’s list are not all good writing. Just because they make money, doesn’t mean it was actually difficult to write. Now, you would like to think that the writers actually worked to create a good story, but most of them are written to make money. And in this age, you don’t have to be complicated to entertain. The quality is down because it doesn’t take good quality to entertain a reader for a few hours. This is such a sad reality because there are so many underrated writers not on the best-seller’s list or not even published because they won’t “sell out” to the most popular idea. It’s become a staple for people to read a best-seller and assume it is good writing because it’s made money.

For example, Twilight. Regardless of the people who enjoyed the STORY, which was entertaining I will admit. I read the books to entertain myself and they did the job. That’s it, though. They didn’t make me think, care, or even work hard to read the book. And yet it has made millions. It doesn’t have half of the things that make a good quality book. It may have a catchy, entertaining story, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a good book. The author knew her audience and gave them an entertaining story that took her the least amount of effort and time to write. I bet she spent more time marketing her book (websites, blog that she was good at) than she did actually writing a good quality book. People loved the book. They ate it up like candy. It didn’t matter how it was written anymore. What mattered was if it entertained people enough to buy the whole series and pass it along to their friends. Is this what writing has come to? Wasting the space on the internet just to get a name rather than a quality product out? Filling up our shelves or best-seller’s list with books that entertain, but don’t change lives.

Now, I know that I may be scrutinized for my previous sentences about Twilight, but it’s true. From those who have spent years reading hundreds of books and learned how to write well, it is difficult to see something mediocre make millions. We watch the quality diminish and we’re supposed to stay silent because people like it? Bull! I’m not going to sit back and wait for the Stephenie Meyer’s and Michael Kinsley’s accept mediocre writing as our future.

I will continue to become a better writer and give a good quality product. No matter how much time I take to write my blog, I know that I’m not diminishing my worth as a writer. I will fight to show people that learning how to write is the most important part of life because it is! Writing, reading, and speaking are the most vital skills we can acquire. They lay the foundation for the rest of our lives. If we allow the quality of these skills to degrade because we’re too lazy to stand up for ourselves, then we deserve to be called bad writers. We can’t just be bystanders as writing is bullied into submission. Stand up and be proud to know how to write!

6 Comments

Filed under Idea of the Day

iEducation? Not Yet Apple!

Returning to my original discussion of being a writer in the digital age, I turn my sights on the schools in United States. Apple has very recently announced their initiative to make the iPad the go to tech for classrooms. The only problem is that they may be too forward thinking for school across the country.

Like the rise of the internet and personal computers, the mass acceptance of technology in every area of life takes time.  Apple can’t expect the school to pounce on  the iPad apps and have them flow flawlessly into every student’s hands.  An article from CNN gives an interesting comparison of tech use in classrooms: “in 2009, a survey by the National Center for Education Statisticsfound that while 99% of public school teachers have some access to computers, just 29% of public school teachers use them during instructional time “often.” Just 3% of schools in a 2010 survey by the FCC said they have a one-to-one computer ratio.”

That statistic is undeniable. The teachers have access to computers almost all of the time and even now in the digital age of smart phones, tablets, and laptops teachers still do not use technology in the classroom.

Now I know this is changing and some teachers across the country and the world are beginning to incorporate things like twitter and forums to engage the students in conversation. But the consensus is that the world is not willing to switch over.

The CNN article opens the idea to having school uses tablets instead of computers, which I agree is a much better use of the school’s budget. However, the idea that the technology is going to be used regularly and effectively is still in question.

The upside for iPads in schools is that it can make books cheaper for the school and more readily available. The technology will not work so that the iPad and the books purchased will stay with the school. According to CNN’s article, the books purchased on the iPad will only be accessed through the student’s iTunes account.

Not only that, but only a few books are available from each publishing company, so it’s not like the school can get every book it needs off the iBooks app.

The final problem is that to utilize all of this technology in the classroom, the school has to has two very important things. Fast internet connection and funding. They go hand in hand that the funding gives the devices and the fast internet. In turn, the devices and internet allow the students to learn better and give more back to the community that paid for their education. Yet, how many schools have the funding for advanced technology and high speed internet let alone proper dietary needs and other simpler school supplies for their students?
What it boils down to is a few main points:

Even if the school gets funding for the iPads and better internet connection, there is no guarantee the teachers will use the technology effectively in class. Then, once the school gets the technology, the schools aren’t even sure if the books they need will be available. Finally, the most important point is even if all of the other point pull through positively it is not 100% certain that the students will learn more effectively.

 

So, as I step down from my teacher in training soap box. I propose this question for those on both sides of this educational debate. Do you think the students will actually learn and retain more with the iPads? Or is it another chance for students to pay less attention to the content they could very easily learn from having a paper, pen, and book?

 

Acknowledgments: Please visit the CNN article for the statistics and more on the subject–

http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/20/tech/innovation/ipad-wont-transform-education/index.html

4 Comments

Filed under Idea of the Day

The Internet Strikes Back!

Like the Empire striking back in Star Wars, the internet is preparing for the battle to end all battles.  In response to the SOPA and PIPA Act, websites are shutting down tomorrow to show their disapproval of the U.S. legislation. The two acts hope to regulate the many avenues of the internet, which allow for piracy online.

Although I am dedicated to being a consumer, buying products fair and square, the legislation feels moot. To me, it’s like trying to control air. Not only has the internet become a medium that the entire world rely upon, but it is not something tangible. You can’t hold the internet in your hand. I don’t even think it has a fail safe switch that we can just shut off if Skynet took over one day.

There is another problem in addition to the insane task of regulating something that we cannot physically touch.  The legislation addresses the freedom of speech in a subtle way. To most people, the idea of stopping piracy is great. It seems straightforward that the acts stop counterfeit goods and protect intellectual property.

But where do we draw the line in regulating the freedom to share ideas, pictures, and videos almost instantaneously? If it starts with piracy, where will it go? As a writer, you would think I would love the idea of my writing being protected if I decided to make it into an e-book. It would comfort me, but instead I’m afraid at where the regulations of the internet will impair me. Will it stop this website from allowing regular people to blog about their lives? Will it stop me from purchasing a domain name for my books because  the site isn’t within the regulation?

These fears are just scratching the surface of the issue SOPA and PIPA are creating. The internet is the future of humanity’s advancement. Do you think we should allow this to happen? Or should we let the internet bloom and prosper as the users regulate it ourselves?

 

I will return on Thursday as WordPress is doing its duty and shutting down at 12:00 am Wednesday Jan. 18, 2012. If you want to read about the blackout refer to this article:

http://socialmediatoday.com/rania299/430653/wikipedia-wordpress-1500-sites-blackout-tomorrow-protest-sopapipa

Leave a comment

Filed under Breaking News