A Crazy Week and an odd Twitter Debate

I really wanted to talk about this right after it happened, but I’ve just been busy.  I had my usual level of work.  I also taught a course called Facebook for Business.  It went really well, and, yes, there are more classes in the pipeline.

It’s a lovely Saturday morning, and it’s the perfect time to talk about this.  My conclusion I’ll move here because I talk a lot about the minutia of the debate at the end.  If you’re going to debate someone on Twitter: state your point.  With that said, let me go through the discussion.

Last week I saw an article on Mashable and then shared it on Twitter:

The tweet that started this:

More U.S. Adults Own a Smartphone Than Have a Degree http://on.mash.to/o66otd This headline makes me sad. Y’all ignant! RT @mashable (The text in italics is what I added.)

Reply 1:

@ReginaWalton I know lots of ignorant people with degrees. Credentials mean little to nothing.

My response 1:

I met those people too, but America is a pretty ignorant. I’d not use the few educated fools I’ve met to poo poo education.

Reply 2:

@ReginaWalton Education is not the same as credentials.

My response 2:

2) some credentials like professional ones you can’t get w/out a certain education level (note: avoided foolish ppl, period)

3) I’ve met some amazing people who are wise and educated. I’ve also met wise and uneducated people.

4) societies flourish when they educate their people. The USA is failing in that respect and that needs to change. Fini.

Reply 3:

@ReginaWalton A degree is not the same as education. We have a degree-flooded market, not an educated one.

@ReginaWalton If by “societies” you mean governments, I’d love to see proof. Simply not the case.

My response 3:

the ROK is one. Look at their development and the money they’ve put into their schools as well as their economic dev plans

also societies. antebellum black culture made amazing gains due to a self organized subculture which emphasized education.

Reply 4:

@ReginaWalton society is not the same as gov’t. if we can’t agree on that, unlikely to agree on much else! goodnight. 🙂

My response 4:

 I was already asleep. 😉 Government and society in a homogeneous land like the ROK has more similarities than you think.

Reply 5:

look, if you can’t agree with a dictionary, you’re not going to see my POV. hope you slept well!

This is where I’m thinking “did you really just insult me twice?”  I think this person realized it too, so that last reply was deleted. Shots fired, but taken back. However, I got it because Twitter now sends you an email when people reply to you (so don’t disable those emails; I wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.)  I let it slide because this person did have the decency to take it down. Also, for most of this I’m walking home on a hot night and I was moving fast because I needed to go to the bathroom.  I’m also diabetic and my blood sugar was crashing, so that’s why I just went to bed.

Let me walk through this as I saw it evolving.  That tweet from Mashable is my real voice and reflects my opinion. The news makes me sad a little. However, the reality is that even in highly educated societies the number of people using smart phones will eventually eclipse the number of people who have a degree. This is simply because degrees go to a subset of a population. Like TVs, anyone can buy a smart phone if they can afford it.  The second park, the “y’all ignant” thing is more a joke.  I don’t speak that way and was lacing in humor, which, clearly escaped this person’s notice.  (Not a bad thing because online humor often is misinterpreted.)

The first point was good, however, I never said that ignorant people don’t also have degrees.

In both response 1 and 2 I thought that I made express attempts to let this person know I acknowleged their points.  Of course, having a degree does not mean someone is wise or well-informed.  I chose humanties when I was in university because you go to university to learn.  Yes, you also go because it increases your chances for a good job. However, I’ve always had an issue with people who were simply mercenary about their college or university educations.  So again, I think we agree.  A lot of people with degrees aren’t educated.  However, I won’t go as far as attacking education.  What I want to do is improve it or revise it

The points where we seem to agree go ignored. This is why I get the feeling the person just wants to win the argument. Damn actually understanding each other.

When credentials come up, that’s right up my alley.  I have a professional degree: a J.D. (a law degree).  That’s how people enter the profession.  It used to be a system where people would apprentice by working with lawyers over a term of years and then they’d be able to enter the profession.  Now it’s a profession that you enter via getting in and surviving law school.  Then you’ve got to take the bar exam and maintain that status over the years with bar education and other requirements.  This model also applies to other professional degrees like doctors, teachers, social workers, dentists, etc.   Essentially you must have the degree to do the job.

I’m thinking this person is thinking more about cases like business where you can be truly self-made.  Nothing wrong with the self-made person.  Those are inspiring and great stories!

Hell, my parents had very low education levels and managed to move across the country from a rural and very uneducated town to a major city. There they owned a home, had great credit, and were the picture of the American dream complete with a father with stable job and a stay-at-home mom.  However,  my parents also pushed me to get my education and that opened doors for me that wouldn’t have been there but for the degrees I earned.  This is my narrative and what was pushing me during this back and forth on Twitter.  I know both sides: the educated side AND the uneducated side.  I know my parents worked hard and would have gotten so much further had they had the benefit of education.  That’s why they pushed me..

And this person wants proof.  Okay, I bring it. I lived in South Korea for 8 1/2 years. You can’t throw a rock in a small city there without hitting a college or university.  Okay, you can but the first small city I was in had, at least, 4 to 5 nearby colleges and universities.  Another small town I lived in had 3 universities all less then 10 minutes apart.  I KNOW what I’m talking about here and South Korea is an example of development that is studied worldwide now. I also studied it when I got my master’s in international studies at Ewha Womans University.  I know that example is more government than community, so I also talk about an instance of it happening on a community level: antebellum black America.

My impression of this back and forth was this person only pushed back on my points.  However, this person failed on articulating what they were trying to say.  I, honestly, never really got what the point of the discussion was.

If you can see it, please let me know. Thanks.

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2 Responses to A Crazy Week and an odd Twitter Debate

  1. dannielleblumenthal says:

    Regina,

    I didn’t get it either, but it’s an interesting discussion anyway. I was thinking a couple of things:

    1) Only someone with the luxury of choosing degree or not degree would trash it so easily. For someone without access to schooling, any education is prized.

    2) What is the role that race plays in this discussion? How was it getting used as a credibility chip (to gain or lose it)?

    I disliked the mean tone aimed at you. I got the humor. Why do people act that way?

    Regards – Dannielle Blumenthal

  2. Regina Walton says:

    Yeah, this person works at a place that I know pretty much ONLY chooses people with degrees and serves businesses that can afford their fees. That might be one reason for the bitterness as I got the feeling that s(he) is surrounded by educated fools. I get it, but that still doesn’t mean getting an education is useless. That means maybe it’s time to change jobs. 😉

    I think race might have been a factor and, I think, s(he) didn’t realize the depth of my education and experience. Taking on someone who has benefited from getting an education is definitely the wrong person to tangle with on this topic.

    S(he) got nasty towards the end, but I was just thinking “if you’re so smart, why in the hell can’t you even articulate your damn point?” Not something to say during a discussion. I’m glad you read over it and confirm that it’s really hard to cull those replies down to a coherent theory. I also thought harping on society vs. government was a cheap shot. It’s easy to derail a discussion by getting into tangents like that.

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