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The Importance of Digital Discourse Communities
Although it might seem hard to envision it, there once was a world without Twitter. Is twitter the best example.. maybe say cell phones or if you use twitter say something about status update.Without Twitter, people would have to grab their house phone, dial a 7 digit number, and wait for their friend to answer. Strenuous as it may sound, it‟s completely true. Communication on the social level has climbed drastically every year with each “new” social media on the beast that we call the internet. Now, in a world where sending an email can be done on a phone in 5 seconds, the information you share can be done on endless amounts of planes. You can Tweet, update your status, blog about your day, all on a computer in your family room. Or on your phone! Internet on phoneThis concept of people communicating with each other over a certain medium (i.e. internet) is called discourse communities. Online communities, needless to say, have been greatly changed by the internet‟s appearance in society. Any message that you want to get across to another person can be delivered in seconds now, whereas phone calls could take a few minutes, and letters could take days. There are those who would consider today‟s society as one with “too much information” being thrown around, whereas others could say the internet has broadened the horizon on which one person can communicate with another. Digital discourse communities in this day and age have added many unique and positive ways in which we communicate with each other, despite being somewhat dangerous in terms of personal information. ( good info )
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First, let‟s define what a discourse community is. In John Swales‟ article “The Concept of Discourse Community” he explains 6 basic rules to has/does. The best one that can explain what a discourse community is rule # 1: “Each discourse community has a set of goals that it offers the public” (471). For example, Facebook‟s goal is to help you share information
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between two or more people. Ebay uses its system to try and find and auction things off to people in a specific community. So where the internet has sites and systems of communication, you participate in the discourse community of your choice on any site. The general consensus has been that the internet has turned the world upside-down. With such a flow of information at people‟s fingertips Dennis Baron writes in his article From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technologies, apparently the success of the next communication innovation depends on the “accessibility, function, and authentication,” …good (424). This is the formula for how new discourse communities are formed, like Twitter, Wikipedia, or Facebook. Facebook and Twitter go through multiple updates a month, making it easier and easier to access new information and communicate. Wikipedia offers a specific place to search for things and share with one another, a revolutionary site that made the search for what you need easy. As these internet applications have become popular among users, more information beginsan to pour through the internet waves. To some, this might be a bad thing. For cyberbullies, this is another vessel to hassle regular people via an anonymous I.P. address. Some parents, concerned citizens, and teachers have come out against the internetInternet because of instances of abuse or private information being shown to strangers, which is a real problem today. More and more internet virus have sprung up, with identity theft being the viral disease. This makes people wonder if indeed the internet is the right place to have a discourse community. This is a good point.. idk if this flows in well from the last. I had no idea this was coming. Idk. Just my view.
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As a defender of the internet use, I would be remiss if I didn‟t mention that there are plenty of security applications you can purchase, and these work to hold your information private. The concept is best thought of as putting a helmet on before you ride a bike. If you want to go on the internet (bike), you had better turn on your computer safety settings (helmet). A few more good tips include signing out of any site that you belong as a member to. This includes banks, any instant messenger, and your email. Keeping your information is as easy as you make it. Another good idea is to make complicated passwords, so that your information can‟t be easily hacked. Instead of a password like “alligator3”, something like “s5trgh89” would be much tougher to crack for any hacker. good A different argument that has been brought up is that it‟s difficult to have a voice and authority on a discourse community, since there are so many people in on the
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conversation. However, to authors Ann M. Penrose and Cheryl Geisler, it‟s as simple as believing that is is ok if you don‟t know everything? Wording..it‟s okay to not know everything. In their article Reading and Writing without Authority: they state, “we need to understand the development of knowledge as a communal and continual process,” (613). This makes sense, because a learning community is exactly that; community rooted in learning. Students who don‟t know history sit in the history classroom, and the teacher informs you on what you may not know. Maybe elaborate on this point a little more. So although a person may go into a website about Star Trek and write a post about something they‟ve been curious about, someone with authority in the group can inform that individual. one person. There‟s no need for any intellectual battle, putting pride behind you and asking/ learning is something that all discourse communities do. Confusing sentence As people gain knowledge, it‟s easy to believe the questions they have will grow as well. The internet‟s
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many resources offer a wealth of knowledge to those who embrace, not ignore, their intellectual growth. So with all this educational growth, is it so bad to see discourse communities to take over the internet? Well that all depends on how and what you learn? Maybe use a different wordlearn. Many activists are against the internet being used to spread knowledge, because it might lead to cheating. Sites like Sparknotes, who offer short synopses and plot overviews of all their books, have made classroom cheating easy. Many teachers have complained, saying that a student might spend 5-10 minutes looking at a webpage instead of spending 2-3 hours reading a book. You could say that it is also used so that they can grasp a better understanding as a guide while they are reading a better book and that it answers their questions since the teacher isn‟t available 24 7. However, an alternative puts the internet at significant importance with a classroom. Like the phrase says, “If you can‟t beat „em, join „em,” teachers are using more online and modern ways to help students learn. Instead of talking directly to the students, new programs run images and information through interactive gameplay or attentive study. Because the internet and computers are so big now, education takes the role of the teacher and the guide, helping the student learn through guided study. Looking into the future, education through internet and computer exposure could prove to be life-changing. Good point. Maybe give a specific example of the guided study Discussion of point) In a short film entitled Us Now, light is shed on just how impactful online communities are. On sites like YouTube, you can post a How-to video on something you might have to really, really search hard for in a book or manual. If you missed the Presidential Debate, you could just watch it on YouTube, or go on the affiliated site and post about it. For one
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person to communicate to several others at the same time is groundbreaking, on the level of discourse communities at least. You might use a weblog to keep track of what you‟ve been doing with your life, and others can read your story. The only thing holding mankind back now is itself. Limitations are whatever people decide they are, as long as there are communities in which someone can belong to. (Discussion of point)Weblogs, sometimes called blogging, are great examples of internet independency in discourse communities. In his article Geography of the Blogosphere: Representing the Culture, Ecology, and of Weblogs, Nicholas Packwood talks about the different ways weblogs function: “Channeling exchanges between and among blogs takes the form of a variety of energy flows. The blogosphere can be thought of as a market that is made up not only of links but other forms of relationship and reciprocity. These multiple, overlapping and interconnected forms of exchange may be articulated using an ecological model.” This has been suggested to be “discourse” evolution. Society has chosen its preferred method of discourse, and it‟s it is online. So online isn‟t bad, it helps people to learn, it‟s efficient; so what does that mean about physical contact? Nicole Brown‟s article entitled The Regionalization of Cyberspace: Making visible the Spatial Discourse of Community Online, there is extensive coverage of evidence that points toward language and space. For example, she writes “At times, rows of desks may be [re]arranged into circles, encouraging and making visible the value that we place on peer discussion and the social construction of knowledge.” This puts a special value on how we value other people‟s opinions, and the concept of learning itself. In essence, how we learn is as important as what we learn. She goes further on, saying that “Now, with millions of people corresponding online, traditional conceptions of how people meet, speak, and interact are being
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rethought.” So because of the new technologies and ways we meet have been expanded, the ways in which people act are being rethought. So that means that physical contact isn‟t necessarily mandatory for online discourse communities. Dan Brown, a professional video blogger/youtuber, tells his story through a speech he gave at VidCon, the largest convention for the video discourse community. He argues the huge implications the internet has on almost every kind of discourse community saying; “As a result of the internet, more people, from more places, are connected to, and interacting with, more other people, from more other places, than ever before in all of human history.” Since discourses made their way online, Mr. Brown has been utilizing the information gained and exchanged to increase his knowledge. Again the concept of gaining knowledge because of the amount of people/discussion that the internet gives to people. However, can this remain a positive thing in the future? Good argument and good question If things go unchanged, and more and more people seek to use online discourse communities, it could happen that newspapers go entirely extinct, with new weblogs and online investigations being put on news sites. This isn‟t necessarily a bad thing, but this could put more than a few people out of jobs, which is a growing problem in itself. With more and more up-tothe-second updates happening, a flood of information keeps each person in the know quicker, and could help to educate people on a whole new pace. This is cool especially if you could find some stats to re-emphasize. It is not necessarily staring at a computer screen, it‟s more of interacting with those who are knowledgeable and want to teach. What is it? Instead of flying to Brazil to learn about their culture, a simple Skype invite can unite two people wishing to exchange their life‟s information.

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Asking questions and becoming involved are teachings that the like of Plato enforced. So if our communities keep on being put in use, then no one but ourselves can limit what we can teach our children with the technology we have now. By Branching out to politics in discourse communities, the future might hold some very different characters. By Those logging into YouTube can watch political ads, comment below and read what others have said …others on what they have to say about the politician. People might be able to vote online in the future, watching and reading articles posted by bloggers and people following the debates, and the next President could be chosen online! This makes more sense because the rate of exchange between people online and people offline are very different. Much more information can be shared online rather than in person or over the phone. As the internet has become the leading source in news coverage and social-media sites, it has also become the scapegoat for the BAD kind of discourse communities: illegal activity communities. Examples of these include people who illegally download music, spam or sell illegal things via internet messaging, etc. In fact, recently a bill called SOPA was introduced to stop some of those activities. It would “edit” the internet so that it would be more controlled. However, as discourse communities learned about this online battle, an overwhelming amount of people showed that they DID NOT want the bill to pass. As public hatred towards this bill became obvious, it was subsequently dropped. This is the perfect example of how good discourse communities function. If it weren‟t for all of the online communities sharing their thoughts to others, this achievement wouldn‟t have been made. Maybe explain why people didn‟t want the bill to pass and what people didn‟t want it to

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This doesn‟t excuse those pirates who illegally bootleg different online material. In the future, the government has repeatedly stated that further measures are going to be made in the future to help stop those people taking advantage of others. And it makes sense as well, because most musical releases are done digitally now, preventing in-store theft. Movies are also being released digitally, although the business isn‟t as profitable as music, or music videos. Today, the problem of online theft and music theft is still a huge problem, and law-makerslawmakers are fighting to stop it. So all throughout the “evolution” of discourse communities, from bars and café‟s to the internet and cyberspace, our society has gone viral. One last question remains to be reflected upon: “How much information is too much information?” Some people feel that people today are looking for too much information, and dropping their focus from reality itself. More people seem to engage in online chat rooms and Tweeting than actually living their day. Is it wasteful to spend time on a discourse community, rather than taking a walk, enjoying nature and such? Well that all depends on your life‟s goal. Or what is important to you. The sharing of information isn‟t a bad thing, as long as you appreciate life and you achieve enjoyment of life as you learn new things. This may be too strong of an opinion/statement? Experiencing different people‟s lives by talking with them actually serves as a cultural education, interacting with others on a personal level. Future generations can take advantage of what society has learned and can talk to people from China, who can teach them about the origin of paper. Whatever the case may be to “edit” social discourse through the internet, it should be harnessed to help teach different cultures. As long as the person is adventurous, it can‟t be too harmful to belong on to multiple online discourse communities. What do you mean by saying as long as the person is adventurous? You may want a second

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opinion on this paragraph… your view of life or how life is enjoyed may be different than your readers.. idk if im reading this correctly? Between the education, political, social, and moral issues of online discourse communities, it might seem hard to get a grip on what a society like todaystoday‟s society should do with them. Technology such as todaystodays technology has only just been discovered, and it takes years to truly examine the impact it has had on a global community. However, with careful application of certain principles, and the well-designed fixes of today‟s problems, online discourse communities have the potential to change the human race for the better. I think that your paper worked well. I think that maybe you could make headings introducing your next topic. You tended to flow through topics and ideas really fast, addressing many different views. Maybe you would want to elaborate a bit more, giving more detail in each example. I feel like you have given good arguments but I couldn‟t seem to find your MAIN point or argument or gap. I see that you discussed it throughout the paper but I couldn‟t find a particular sentence where I felt your gap was clearly stated.

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Work Cited
Baron, Dennis, “From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technologies.” Passions, Pedagies, and 21st Century Technologies. Ed. Gail Hawisher and Cynthis Selfe. Loagan: Utah State UP, 1999. 15-33. Print Brown, Dan. Dan Brown and His #secretproject at VidCon 2010. Perf. Dan Brown. Revision3, 2010. Youtube Video. Brown, Nicole. "The Regionalization of Cyberspace: Making Visible the Spatial Discourse of Community Online." Web log post. Composition Forum. Apr.-May 2006. Web. 2 Mar. 2012. Kaltenbach, Susan. The Evolution of the Online Discourse Community. Dec. 2000. Article. Swales, John. “The Concept of Discourse Community.” Genre Analysis: English in Academic And Research Setting. Boston: Caimbridge UP, 1990. 21-32. Print. Packwood, Nicholas. "Geography of the Blogosphere: Representing the Culture, Ecology and Community of Weblogs." Weblog post. Http://blog.lib.umn.edu. Wilfrid Laurier University. Web. 2 Mar. 2012. Penrose, Ann M., and Cheryl Geisler. “Reading and writing without Authority.” College Composition and Communication 45.4 (1994): 505-20. Print. Us Now: What Society Gains from Online Collaboration. Dir. Ivo Gormley. Prod. Hugh Hartford. Banyak Films, 2008. DVD.

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