Critical Discoursin’ In The Social Media Era

I’ve been noticing a lot of Gen X people getting really freaked out about what they interpret as individual critics having less influence these days, even in comparison to a few years ago. And I think that’s true! But it’s not as though critical writing matters less. If anything, I think social media has made people – mostly regular people! - engage with discussions about culture, politics, sports, whatever in a more active way. It’s not about any one voice, it’s about smart writers helping to frame and guide a conversation that starts in one place, but carries on through Tumblr and Twitter and Facebook and wherever else, and a lot of the time, the people who pick it up on those platforms are just as thoughtful as the people getting paid to write. I see stuff on Tumblr all the time by amateurs who are really diving into topics and picking them apart in personal/political/academic ways that just don’t make sense on a larger platform. If you look at any given topic being discussed in the broader context, you get a much, much broader range of perspectives and approaches than you ever did before, and that includes the knuckleheads and the eggheads alike. I can’t see how this is not a great improvement over the old top-down model of critical writing.

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  4. maura said: "a lot of gen x people"? that’s quite the subtweet there, dude.
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