Our Brains are A’Twitter
Although professional curmudgeons like Jonathan Franzen rail against social media as “intolerably shallow forms of social engagement,” Facebookers and Tweeters persist, sometimes guilt-ridden, in what we used to call “Web 2.0”. As the Franzen-backlash showed, perhaps all forms of engagement, including his own chosen media forms, are intolerably shallow. Twitter does not make us so; it merely reveals the way we’ve always been. When we share content of any kind, in any way, it behooves us to communicate with a real, already-mentally-tweeting audience, rather than the “benevolent, attentive, and docile” audience for which Cicero hoped. To grapple with this concept, Dr. Vrooman will explore three ideas. First, a variety of data will demonstrate the ways our brains are confettied like overstuffed Twitter feeds, even at our best. Second, we process information with the self-presentation of Retweeting/Favoriting in mind. And finally, he will examine some tactics we can all use to adapt to these realities.
With a Ph.D. in Rhetoric from Arizona State University in hand (as well as an M.A. from the same and a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University in his back pockets), Steven Vrooman arrived in Seguin in August, 2000, and he has been the Texas Lutheran University Professor you either love or hate ever since. Students have long claimed that he ruins their lives by destroying their childhoods in his pop culture classes. They also claim that he makes it impossible for them to look at PowerPoint bullets ever again after his public speaking classes. In his book, The Zombie Guide to Public Speaking, Dr. Vrooman finally unites these superpowers into one fiendish device with which to rule the world. He has supplemented this reign of terror by achieving his childhood dream of appearing in a Star Wars movie, albeit as a talking head in the documentary film The People Versus George Lucas. Dr. Vrooman has been researching the Internet since the BITNET days, when “flaming” was the dominant concern. In addition to his work on electronic communication, he has also presented/published research on gaming culture, Star Wars, Survivor, and film history. He has recently taken up public speaking consulting/coaching, but would prefer that you don’t hold that against him. He also would like to apologize for his most recent in a string of problematic hobbies. This time it is playing the tinwhistle, an instrument that sends his cat fleeing up the chimney.