Monday, March 26, 2012

Week 10

Dear Susan,

Your article titled “The Rise of the New Groupthink” is one of the most fascinating pieces that I’ve read in a while. It’s so eye opening that it is inspiring and motivating to me to continue to be comfortable with my introverted tendencies and embrace the ideas that come to me when I’m working alone. It’s amazing to me how much my education has relied on teaching me how to productively participate in groups as if that was the end all be all nugget of knowledge. If I leave college knowing anything it should be that I know how to communicate with others. While this is certainly a useful skill there seems to be a point of saturation where being with other people is just unproductive and even hurtful. Andrew Keen explains a situation similar to this in chapter 1 of his book “The Great Seduction from the Cult of the Amateur.” Being around people who continued to want something that seemed so totally wrong he was forced to be alone just to save his sanity and ideas.

I just love how your article flies in the face of everything that I’ve been taught throughout my education career. I too sat in desk pods in elementary and even middle school and I do not feel any wiser for it. At my current internship there is an open floor plan and I’m self-conscious throughout the whole day not to mention distracted by other’s phone conversations. And when I need to talk on the phone it’s almost terrifying for me. I can see how productivity can increase when people are able to escape. But I can also see your point how groups online are extremely successful and that that’s the beauty of the Internet. As explained by Clay Shirky this power given to people behind a screen is what made Wikipedia so successful. Strangers came together and created an entire network of knowledge and something that is so impressive and vital to us that we it has become the first place to look for an answer.

Thank you for your insight. It just might be life changing.

Andrew Kerth

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