“Public Thinking” Analysis

Thompson writes a very interesting passage titled “Public Thinking.” Many of the ideas within the passage connect to my everyday life since he writes most of it about my generation. However, the part the I identified with the most is when he talks about how much my generation writes without realizing it. Between social media, text messages, and schoolwork, Thompson made me aware of just how much I write. During school I write or type 1000 words a day easily. I am on social media and my phone just about all day. There’s some days where I am texting and snapchatting multiple people throughout the entire day and I predict my word count can reach out to 2500 if I have homework as well. This example was a great rhetorical strategy that Thompson used to prove that my generation is becoming some of the best writers the world has ever seen.

Thompson’s main argument is that the generation that grew up writing with technology is extremely adept at the skill. He says that our generation writes more than any other generation before us. This is interesting because the way we write is also different than any other generation. Technology has impacted our lives in so many significant ways that we don’t notice how much technology is improving our rhetorical and analytical thinking skills.

Thompson claims that writing “can help clarify our thinking”(Thompson 51). This means that writing is essential to human life and should not be taken lightly. Thompson then connects this claim into an explanation of how writing can turn vague thoughts into succinct and concise ideas. Many times, professional writers have an indistinct sense of what they want to write about. However, once the skilled writers start, something clicks within them and they know exactly what to say and how to say it. This is just one of the ways Thompson explains the benefits of writing.

Another one of Thompson’s claims is that if you think publicly, you will make connections with other people that think the same way as you. Thompson includes tons of historical examples of this in the passage. He writes about many scientists that happened to discovered things at the same time. For example, Galileo and three other astronomers discovered sun spots at around the same time. Imagine how productive these astronomers would have been if they could have used the internet to collaborate with each other. This is how it is for my generation. The internet can be used as an extremely effective tool between people to share ideas and work with each other.

The last claim talked about in “Public Thinking” is that young people are good writers. Thompson writes about a Stanford English professor named Andrea Lunsford who studies how young people write. She says that my generation writes more rhetorically than past generations and have broken the stereotype of writing in the same language we text in. Thompson includes this in the passage to support his main argument that writing is only getting better between young people and is sure to continue in the future.

Within “Public Thinking,” Thompson includes rebuttals to help support his position and to prove to the audience why his stance is the right one. An example of this comes on page 48 when Thompson asks the audience “Is this writing any good?”(Thompson 48). This question demonstrates a sarcastic tone that is basically saying ‘Who cares about this writing on the internet, it can’t be of good quality.’ Thompson answers his own question and goes on to explain that a lot of the writing online is actually fairly good. He refers back to Okolloh’s blog and talks about just how impactive online writing like blogs can be.

The other rebuttal included in Thompson’s passage is that my generation is bad at writing because they use short texts like ‘r’ instead of are and ‘u’ instead of you. Thompson comes back from this claim by providing statistics about young people’s writing. Out of three-billion words, only 3 percent of them used short text, and that was text messages being analyzed. By dismantling this opposing claim, Thompson makes his stronger and provides tremendous support for his argument.





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