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FINDING YOUR INNER VOICE IN THE DIGITIAL AGE

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Honors Humanities students meet with the author of Hamlet’s BlackBerry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age.
 
The School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Honors Humanities Program, Honors College’s Digital Cultures and Creativity, and Living Learning Programs at the University of Maryland presented a guest lecture on life in the digital age by acclaimed writer and commentator, William Powers, on Monday, October 10.

Author of the New York Times bestseller Hamlet’s BlackBerry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age, which all Honors Humanities students read this year, Powers spoke on the importance of maintaining critical thought and individuality, and living a more balanced life in a time of constant connectivity.

Pulling from years of experience in journalism and social commentary, Powers engaged students in conversations on finding and listening to their inner voice. This internal voice and conscious, which struggles to stay afloat in a world of social media networking and constant exposure to the voices of peers and strangers alike, rests at the core of Powers’ lecture and new book. Using excerpts from the works of Emerson to the quotable speeches of Steve Jobs, Powers encouraged students to harness the power of social media and modern technology to foster critical thought rather than follow the mass streams of Facebook updates and other forms of homogenized thought.

“We live in an age increasingly defined by a device. . . . It’s like a source of a kind of magic, where all the good stuff comes from. . . . However, we tend to be prisoners [of technology],” says Powers. He reminded his audience that “Mark Zuckerberg created the mind that created Facebook,” to stress the distinction between admiring the technology we use and the minds that create technology. According to Powers, valuing the mind, critical thought, and our distinct inner voice will lead to a college generation that contributes individual and unique ideas to the world around us, digital or otherwise. While Powers certainly acknowledges the endless advancements modern technology affords us, he impressed upon students that “learning to tune out social media is a crucial skill. Allow your experiences to turn over in your own mind. Listening to your inner voice is how you will stand out in the world.”  

Date of Publication: 
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
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