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Our brains are A'Twitter | Steve Vrooman | TEDxSanAntonio

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Published on Nov 13, 2014

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. 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 explores three ideas. First, a variety of data 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 examines 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 is a Professor at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas. Author of The Zombie Guide to Public Speaking, Dr. Vrooman achieved 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.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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