Monday, February 21, 2011

Let's Connect: Response to Rice

In Jeffery Rice’s piece, Symposium:What should College English Be? Networks and New Media:  He calls for college English to become networked, he states: What I call the network are these spaces—literal and figurative—of connectivity. They are ideological as well as technological spaces generated by various forms of new media that allow information, people, places and other items to establish a variety of relationships that previous spaces or ideologies did not allow” (128).

Now I know that when he used the word “relationship” he is not necessarily referring to personal relationships—as he makes reference to it in his point about socializing, but I think there is something to be said about those personal relationships in networking that make the public media and networking so appealing and satiable.

In the beginning of his piece he talks briefly about some social networking sites such as FB, etc., but I think there really is an aspect of this available relationship making which makes online interaction and new media so appealing. Yes, we are seeing students write in new ways like never before; we are seeing literacy come into new terms of use; and we are seeing communication occur as never before. 

So what is really at the center of all this interaction? Is it writing? Literacy? Publishing? Audience? Feedback? Or is it really an accretion for every aspect of interpersonal relationships, of communication between two or more individuals, or simply collaboration in new forms?

Obviously not every student is inspired to write outside of their academic requirements, but we have seen such an insurmountable rush of students that freely write for any opportunity to reach out and be heard, to get a reaction, a comment, a like. So what is at the core of all that networking, in the true social sense?

It is the need to feel connected, to be connected, to build communication and relationships--some type of connectivity. Yes, college English should be networking, but we mustn’t forget the interpersonal push, pull, and impetus behind any person’s true purpose for networking. We need one another, and we desire the communication for each other; that is why the network has become such a vast empire of social rapport.   

So the question becomes... How do we translate and utilize that need into the English curriculum? 

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