My Future Thoughts

Posted: December 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

Its hard to believe this semester has come to an end and this will be my last blog post that fulfills a required “quest.”  I chose to take the Intro to Popular Culture course for my critical thinking requirement because it sounded a great deal more interesting than some of the other courses offered.  I not only enjoyed learning more about Pop Culture and the internet but also noticeably improving how I make an argument and analyze the arguments of others.

Critical thinking is an active process.  Rather than jumping to conclusions or accepting information at face value, critical thinking involves understanding the information or argument, carefully considering evidence, checking the credibility of sources and the ability to think objectively.  Oftentimes, popular culture does not inspire us to think critically.  We accept it and consume it without considering the ramifications.  I think this applies especially to the internet.  In the last day of class we learned that if something is free, then we are the product.  Going forward I know that is something that will stick with me.

The internet, or “Web 2.0,” is one of the largest aspects of popular culture in my life.  Social media is given away and I use it regularly.  I use Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for myself and my salon business.  I use Snapchat to keep up with my friends.  For school I signed up for Twitter and created this blog.  I have been guilty of accepting information without checking it in the past, sometimes even passing it on.  My new favorite tool is Snopes.  Now, if something sounds fishy, too good to be true or perhaps interesting enough for me to share, there is a site I can use to verify it’s validity.

I will also be more cautious about relying on Wikipedia.  Don’t get me wrong, its a great site and very useful but the information it contains may not always be true.  Some of the articles are more reliable than others depending on the security settings.  It is definitely wise to check the sources cited within the articles and make sure they are credible.  Sometimes using books for good old-fashioned research may actually be necessary.

Now I also have a better idea of what to look for in a website to assure its credibility.  The top level domain gives you a better idea of where the information is coming from, “.gov” and “.edu,” are fairly trustworthy sources.  It is smart to look at the “About” page of a website and to check the authors and their credentials and expertise.  Its also good to understand what purpose the website serves.  Do the creators have something to gain from advocating a certain point of view?  Although I have to say every once in awhile I really enjoy an article from The Onion to lighten things up a bit.  I get a real good chuckle when one of my Facebook friends shares an article from another friend that shared an article from The Onion and obviously believes the content.  I suppose they’re just looking at the article and not checking to see what the website is really about.

That about wraps up how I will be using critical thinking in relation to Pop Culture but I’m sure I will benefit from this class even more in my day-to-day life.  I am confident the ability to construct a reasonable argument will be quite useful.  It might be even more handy to be able to deconstruct and analyze others’ arguments.  Armed with a fully developed prefrontal cortex and my newly honed critical thinking skills, I have a definite advantage.

Thanks, Sukey.  It really was a great class.

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