Reflections on Common Sense

Judith Malveaux COMM 614 judithamalveaux@aol.com

Before I read chapter 4 and the discussion on common sense, I had a truly low opinion of the way that so many of today's youth and young adults share intimate details of their life – or other people’s lives – with the world wide web. The chapter opened my eyes a bit, but my mind hasn’t changed much. I still struggle to understand why this age group seems unable to have an emotion, thought or action that they don't chronicle on social media sites. I grew up in an age where computers were common in households. I can recall spending hours a day on my parents' Commodore 64. I typed line after line of code I didn’t understand so a ball or word would scroll across the monitor. I’m sure that would have some older than I was scratching their heads and wondering about my common sense. For me, technology was always available, but it wasn't a required use. I enjoyed using the computer to write my short stories, but knew I could sit in my bed with a pen and paper and do the same thing. The pen-and-paper approach seemed more personal, though and allowed me to feel freer in my expression. I could always hide my notebook, but the computer was for everyone to use. I remember watching Doogie Houser, MD on television and wondering why he would type his journal on a computer because it would then be too easy for his parents to access. I view youth's social media usage much the same way -- but on steroids. I have marveled as I read postings from teens and young adults that do nothing more than curse someone out that they are angry with or inform the world that they got drunk or ate something that gave them diarrhea. I wonder if the world really needed to know that or if, 20 years from now, they would want to be reminded of what happened and how they reacted to it. I have, on occasion, sent a message to the social media poster suggesting he or she reconsider using obscenity or think about what they are posting and how anyone -- including current or future employers -- might be able to see it. Oddly enough, a few responded by saying they hadn't

considered that. To me, this is common sense. You think about each word you put your name behind because you may eventually have to justify what you said or how you said it. This was certainly the case for me in my former profession, newspaper reporter. As a journalists who had to write a correction when an error was pointed out in my work by any of the thousands who may have read it in print or online, you had to take your words seriously. In reading chapter 4, I noted the author said that, "we live in a time in which one view of common sense is no more, but common sense is of less importance in an era of differing narrative and virtue structuring.” Another section drove the point home even further. It states, “When we do the same practices over and over again, they fade into the background, moving from that upon which we must reflect before being able to employ (explicit knowing) to what Michael Polanyi (1967) called tacit knowing (implicit knowing).” When I consider this passage, I have to think about how many of the young people I have accused of not using common sense have always lived in a world in which their communication took place on the Internet as much – or more – as it does face-to-face. They are comfortable sharing their thoughts, opinions and experiences with hundreds of friends through social media. While I cannot understand why they are comfortable with this, they probably cannot understand my hesitance. I suppose it is their tacit knowing and I have to learn to understand that. I doubt, however, that I’ll ever learn to accept it.

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