Blog 3: Ethics and Issues

When downloading apps I am usually wary of the agreements I am making.  Most of the time, the app asks for permission to access and use my personal information.  Sometimes it explains what the information will be used for, but sometimes it does not.  When asked, I usually agree, depending of course on what information the app wants and how it intends to use it.  For example, when a GPS app asks to use my location, I know that it needs my location to function properly and give me the information that I need.  However, when an app does not ask my permission, I usually do not question anything.

The police should be allowed to track GPS data.  I understand the concern that people have when it comes to allowing anyone at all to have their location.  My family uses an app that tracks each family member’s phone’s location so that we know where everyone is and we can find a phone if it is lost.  The idea makes me a bit uncomfortable because if someone else could access the app, then they would have all of our locations.  However, when it comes to police, GPS tracking allows them to find criminals and lost persons.  As long as the information is protected, then it is beneficial for police to have access to GPS data.

I would not use apps that post my location.  There is too much risk involved in an app that shares location with others.  I may lose track of the people I am connected with on the app or profile and accidentally allow someone dangerous to know my location.  People can create fake accounts posing as friends to learn one’s location and find them.  Also, there are many people on my social media accounts who I know personally but would not want knowing my location.  Personally, I do not like being approached in public by anyone, strangers or friends.  Miscommunication could lead someone to believe that they are emotionally close enough to me that I would want to be approached by them in public.  These apps are a threat to people’s safety and personal relationships.


Ethics and Issues

When searching for myself online, I found my softball recruiting profile, a picture of myself from the same website, and my softball recruiting video from YouTube.  I am active on numerous websites, but the only things that appeared when I searched for myself were professional and related to recruiting.  It is available because I want it to be available to any coach that wants to view my profile or my video and contact me.

To protect online reputation, Entrepreneur recommends searching for oneself online and deleting anything unprofessional that is found (Entrepreneur).  Taking a sweep through all social medias that a person uses is a good idea to make sure there is nothing they no longer want online.  It is easy to post something to social media without realizing the consequences that may follow if a particular person, like a boss or potential employer, finds it and does not approve.

I personally would definitely share social media passwords with an employer if it was asked of me.  I simply do not have a lot online to hide.  Anything so personal that it needs to be hidden from an employer should not be posted online in the first place.  I understand the importance of having  a clean record on social media.  Anything can be used against the company or hurt its overall image.

I believe that companies that want to monitor employee social media accounts should be able to.  Reputation is everything.  To protect their reputation, a company needs to know that its employees are acting responsibly and representing the company well.  For example, an employee making racist comments on Twitter could cause their company to receive harsh backlash.  Similarly, posting photos on Instagram of using illegal substances or otherwise acting irresponsibly could come back on a person’s company.


Erskine, Ryan. “How to Protect Your Online Reputation in 2017.”Online Reputation Management. Entrepreneur, 23 Jan. 2017. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

Text Messaging and Formal Writing

The age at which most people buy or receive their first phone is rapidly becoming lower and lower.  Children are learning to text before they are learning to write formally.  Because texting involves short and informal messages, students with texting experience may lack embellishment in their writing.  The lingo and casual tone used in texting can also lead to errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.  When texting, many people either use too much punctuation or none at all.  This can lead to comma splices and other errors when it comes time for formal writing.  Texting also often involves the “AutoCorrect” feature which corrects spelling mistakes while one is typing a text message.  In my personal experience, my spelling has gotten worse because of AutoCorrect.  If I am not sure how to spell something, but I can get close to the correct spelling, then my phone will correct the spelling for me.  I do not even have to look back at what I wrote.  Therefore, when people text with AutoCorrect, they may never learn how to fix their spelling mistakes.

The idea that teachers could allow students to use text acronyms in formal writing is ludicrous.   Students are young and easily influenced.  They remember what they are taught when they are young.  If students are allowed to use text acronyms in their writing at school, then they may slip up later in life and use text lingo and acronyms in professional situations.  School is preparation for the real, professional world.  This is one of the reasons schools sometimes have strict rules and dress codes.  Every minute a student spends learning and being in school is a minute spent prepping for their future.  The casual tone used in texting and the professional tone used in formal writing should be kept clear and separate to save students from confusion with writing later in life.

While text messaging can hurt a person’s formal writing skills, it may have some other positive impacts. One example is writing concisely.  Because texting is so short-worded, it may help students to keep their writing short and to the point.  A bit of embellishment can help one’s writing, but keeping it brief and purposeful is more important.  Texting may also be bringing students closer to writing.  In a study conducted by professors at Michigan State University, 93 percent of participants (1,366 students) said that they “wrote for personal fulfillment (Barseghian).  Jeff Gabrill, a writing professor conducting the study, noted that this generation of students writes more than any of their predecessors.  “They have to be doing something right.”


Barseghian, Tina. “Can Texting Develop Other Writing Skills?”MindShift. KQED News, 15 Aug. 2012. Web. 23 Feb. 2017.


Reading Wendell Berry’s “Mad Farmer” poems is not much different from reading a few of his essays.  Of the 17 pieces, I read four, the most poetic of which may be The Contrariness of the Mad Farmer.  In Bill Moyers’ interview with Berry, Moyers expressed that “maybe the mad farmer is getting a little madder, a little more radical.”  The theme of “going against men” in Contrariness confirms this idea that Berry is growing more intense in his environmentalism.

The poem begins with a simple, defiant “I am done with apologies.”  Berry accepts that his views are often very uncommon and opposite the majority.  He says, “if contrariness is my inheritance and destiny, so be it.”  He embraces his contrariness.  If he is different, then he will be outrageously and unapologetically different.  This may be largely due to his religion, which is yet another example of his contrariness.  He has relied on luck and “Heaven’s favor” rather than listening to the advice of others.  He lives by God despite anything telling him to do otherwise.

His religion is perhaps the most significant part of Contrariness, as Berry makes it seem that he will defy even his religion to prove that he will keep his own ideas.  When asked to dance, Berry stands still.  When told to pray, Berry laughs.  When reminded “[his] Redeemer liveth,” Berry says that God is dead.  He will go to the greatest lengths to remain independent.  However, at the end of the day, Berry always finds his own way.  He will dance, but only when everyone else is still.  He will pray, but he will pray in his own way, not when instructed.  He knows that God lives, but insists only when told otherwise.  He believes that if his contrariness is what people see, then he should embrace it and be the mad farmer many think him to be.

Wendell Berry #4

As a homebody and a man uninterested in media, Berry has kept away from television and the like, but when seeing it as an opportunity to spread the word about his views, he agreed to meet Bill Moyers for an interview.  His passion for protecting the environment is clear in the interview, and it is more personal and meaningful to me than any of his essays I have read so far, leading me to believe that he effectively conveyed his message and accomplished his purpose.

The first thing I noticed was that Berry spoke of his faith.  I had known that he was a religious man, but I had not realized that his care for the earth was so largely influenced by his Christian beliefs.  He spoke of the earth like destroying it was sinful.  His audience during the interview was composed of all ages, ethnicities, and religions, people from all over who had come to hear him speak.  Everyone there wanted to hear him, no matter their beliefs.

As often is the theme in his essays, Berry speaks of our duty to the earth to protect and preserve it.  He says that we live on this earth under the understood condition that we will take care of it, and to do so, “We have to know it, and we have to know how to take care of it.  And to know it and to be willing to take care of it, we have to love it.”  He encourages people to remember this, that to live here, we must treat the earth with as much care as it treats us.

Perhaps most importantly, Berry makes us question how to fix the things he warns us about.  However, as we ask for a solution, he tells us to slow down.  While I read his essays and admire his ideas, I wonder how we can bring about change and positively affect the world around us, but I have learned from Wendell Berry that there is not always a simple fix.  There will not always be an immediate solution, no matter how hard we may try to find one.  This is a time when we must wait patiently and take in everything we can about our world.

“The important thing to do is to learn all you can about where you are… Resign in yourself, becoming patient enough to work with it over a long time, and then what you do is increase the possibility that you will make a good example.  And what we’re looking for in this is good examples.”

Why I Will Not Buy Berry’s Argument

Wendell Berry’s Why I Will Not Buy A Computer states plainly all of his reasons for distancing himself from new technologies.  I am glad that Berry encourages his readers to disagree with his ideas because I find them quite hard to agree with.

Berry refuses to buy a computer because he knows it will not make him any better of a writer.  He says that “when somebody has used a computer to write work that is demonstrably better than Dante’s… Then [he] will speak of computers with a more respectful tone of voice.”  While he is absolutely correct in the fact that a computer is no piece of magic that can improve one’s writing, it can, however, make writing a whole lot easier.  With computers and other kinds of technology, the physical act of writing can be faster and simpler.  Computers have every advantage over typewriters.  Today, the Internet provides us with incredibly quick communication and an infinite amount of knowledge.  These tools give us unique opportunities unavailable in years past, leading to  quicker, more efficient writing.

Berry values his wife’s part in his writing, as she types his essays and edits along the way.  In another example of his stubborn views, he would not give up this ritual for a computer, as he believes he would have to sacrifice his wife’s role in his writing process.  However, replacing a typewriter with a computer would not disrupt any “family and community relationships.”  A computer can perform the same tasks as a typewriter.  Essentially, his views on technology all reside around the idea that it is “yet another way to make people pay dearly for what they already have.”  He does not see a need for new technology when we are already managing fine without it.  He does not see how things can be not disrupted or destroyed, but improved by change.  For a man so keen on changing American’s views and economy, he does not easily adapt to the changing world around him.

Wendell Berry on Tobacco

The Problem of Tobacco challenges anyone unsupportive of the tobacco industry, or rather, the tobacco program.  Having lived off the profits of his own tobacco farming, Berry is strong voiced on the topic. His reliance on the crop provides pathos and ethos both, adding to his compelling argument and near irrefutable logic.

The “problem of tobacco” is that while it is a dangerous and unhealthy crop, it provides thousands of farmers and their families with the money to survive.  Because “people continue to use [tobacco], other people will continue to grow it.”  The demand for it isn’t going away anytime soon.  Therefore, we cannot stop selling the crop, and we cannot take farmers out of the equation without hurting them.

Berry also points out that tobacco is often the sole blame for diseases it may only have a small part in causing.  Although the harmful use of the product is inexcusable, other causes of “tobacco-caused” diseases are often ignored, all fingers pointing to Berry’s crop.  Berry mentions that his crop is a small part of the “addictive society” in which we live.  “Our people are rushing from one expensive and dangerous fix to another, from drugs to war to useless merchandise to various commercial thrills.”

Berry argues that tobacco cannot be attacked while other, more harmful substances are ignored, and “the ruin of farmers solves no problem and makes many.”