Intro and First Body: Public Thinking

Ever since the invention of the internet, a plethora of things have changed. But how has the internet shaped and evolved the simple concept of writing? Clive Thompson, a Canadian journalist and blogger, discusses this in his article called “Public Thinking.” The article is about the use of technology in writing and the effects it has had. It is a rhetorical piece and Thompson makes his stance extremely clear. Analyzing his rhetorical skills can help us completely understand his argument and what makes it so effective. Thompson’s well developed position states that technology has improved the quality and quantity of writing by giving people a platform to write on, giving young people a place to practice their writing skills, and by allowing people to make connections on the world wide web.

One of Thompson’s main claims is that the internet has helped improve writing by giving people a platform to write on. Platforms such as social media, blogging websites, and even text messages are examples of this. On page 47, Thompson states that every day there are, “over 1 million blog posts and 1.3 million blog comments on WordPress alone”(Thompson 47). Thompson uses this statistic to give his audience a way of visualizing just how much writing goes into the internet every day. He is using real-world data to back up one of his main claims. WordPress is one of the most popular blogging websites in the world and blogs are not considered to be short. According to a website titled Torque, the average blog post contains about 1142 words. 1 million of these posts is an immense amount of writing and Thompson believes a decent amount of it is good quality. By allowing people to practice their writing skills, WordPress and other blog sites have dramatically increased not only the amount of writing, but the quality of it too. Another example of how Thompson addresses his claim comes in the form of a rebuttal. On page 48, he says, “Is any of this writing good?” (Thompson 48). Thompson includes this rebuttal to help support his position and to prove to the audience why his stance is the right one. 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 Ory Okolloh, a Nigerian blogger that has become famous just by writing online. By doing this he gives an example of just how impactive the writing online can be. Thompson wants to make it clear that just because there is an extreme amount of writing on the internet, doesn’t mean that it’s all terrible. Between sites like WordPress and social media, humans write a lot more and a lot better than they think they do. Thompson makes this clear in his article and in turn convinces his readers of the same thing.

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