Reading Response

I think the point Malcolm Gladwell makes in “Small Change” is very intriguing and I’m tempted to agree. It’s a welcome change from the usual opinions that people share about social media and technology. Typically people either talk about the revolutionary magic of social media or (seemingly without legitimate reasoning) its detrimental and dumbing effect on society. Reading Gladwell’s well informed and reasoned opinion was a welcome alternative.

Technology and social media have really infiltrated our modern lives very throughly. I think technology’s rapid growth and transformative nature makes it really easy to unabashedly praise its impact or even overstate it like Gleick does in his piece about information. Personally I’m torn between the two viewpoints (especially since I am a computer science major). As I said in my video response to the Chiang reading, I think a conscience dependence and use of technology is most important and allows for a good relationship. Mindlessly depending on technology to solve greater problems doesn’t help anyone and only hurts those really in need. It allows those who could help to have a false sense of security and become complacent.

As Gladwell says in “Small Change”, social media proliferates weak ties but strong personal ties are the ones that get things done in real life. The information overload that Gleick almost gleefully promotes allows a sort of “out of sight, out of mind” effect to happen for the regular citizen and keep them from engaging in meaningful contributions to society.

The ALS Ice bucket challenge is a direct example in our everyday lives that this topic also applies to. While people dumping ice on themselves isn’t helpful for people suffering ALS, there is a valid point to be made about raising awareness and the money that has been raised.

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