News Blackout

As Deresiewicz said in “ The End of Solitude”, people are rarely ever actually alone now because of how connected everyone is to technology. In the romantic era, solitude was considered something sacred and almost heroic. Now, some people’s greatest fear is isolation from the rest.

I knew this assignment would be a challenge because just like everyone else I’m completely immersed in social media and technology all the time. So much of the news I receive comes from different social media platforms without me even realizing it. The first thing I do when I wake up is check social media, which has become second nature to me. I would find myself trying to reach for my phone during these 48 hours just to realize I couldn’t check it.

Deresiewicz hit home when he compared loneliness and boredom. I don’t consider myself obsessed with social media. I’m usually on it when I’m bored, which seems very often. I have gotten so accustomed to getting on social media whenever I’m bored that now I feel like something is missing when I’m not constantly on it. In a way I felt empty because I wasn’t able to see what other people were doing and I wasn’t able to see what was going on around me.

During my blackout period, my mother called and asked me if I knew the direction of tropical storm Nate and if it was heading my way. I couldn’t answer her because I didn’t know any information. At this point I felt completely blinded and isolated to everything going on. It scared me that I could potentially be in danger and I wouldn’t even be aware until it was happening.

There were also times where my roommates would want to tell me about specific news they saw and I had to stop them abruptly. Knowing how excited they were to tell me made it harder to not know. I felt blinded and like I was missing something. I felt left out of everything and completely secluded.

Now it makes sense why this generation struggles with self-realization and self-reflection. There is never a time where people are completely alone and isolated from all their surroundings. People need to be seen by others and feel connectivity among them even if it’s with strangers. STRONG ANALYSIS

Deresiewicz said solitude isn’t for everyone, and he is very right. In this generation it’s extremely difficult to choose to be alone when we have grown up always surrounded by others. Communication and interaction is easily accessible now, that it’s hard to imagine life another way. I do not enjoy solitude at all and I never had. This assignment was difficult not just because I couldn’t be on social media or watch TV but I really did feel isolated and it made me feel very alone. I felt like there was a hole that needed to be filled. I was seeking that connection that I’m so used to everyday. GOOD REFLECTION HERE. A FEW STRUCTURAL ISSUES BUT MANY MENTIONS OF READING AND ANALYSIS.



Thesis Statement: Keeping my cousin’s secret from my mother was conflicting because of my loyalty to both of them. My cousin confided in me with something personal, and I had to keep my loyalty to her regardless of who the outsider was. GOOD

My cousin Irma and I grew up together and have always been extremely close. As we grew older, we became more like sisters to each other. Our relationship has always been open and comfortable. We consider each other our intimates. Irma tells me everything going on in her life, and vice versa. She confides in me with her most personal information and experiences.

Irma is a few years older than me, and she was attending a local community college. She was never sure what she wanted to do in school, and she never really felt like school was for her. She felt pressured to attend school because it’s what her family expected of her, but it wasn’t what she wanted. After about 2 years of going to school she decided not to enroll in classes the following semester. No one in her family knew because she wasn’t ready to tell them. She would lie to her mom and tell her she was going to class when she really wasn’t. She eventually told me that she wasn’t in school anymore, but no one else knew.

My mom is Irma’s godmother, and she knows how close we are so she is always asking me about her. One day my mom was asking about Irma and her progress in school. When my mom asked, my immediate instinct was to lie. I told her Irma was doing great, and school was going good as well. After I realized I lied to my mom, I felt bad but knew it was the right thing to do.

My mom and I have a really close relationship as well. We’re very open with each other and I don’t tell my mom everything but she does know a lot. If it was any other situation I probably wouldn’t have had a problem telling her. I had to keep my cousin’s secret because I feared my mother would tell her mom. If my aunt would have found out from my mom that Irma was no longer in school, she would not have forgiven me.

Irma told me in confidence something she wasn’t ready to let everyone else know. She was scared of the outcome and what her family would think. Lying to her parents was protecting her from scorn. Telling my mom would completely go against my loyalty to Irma and the trust she held in me. I was very conflicted having to lie for Irma because of the relationship I have with my mother. I don’t like lying to her and try to avoid it as much as possible. In the end my true loyalty was with my cousin. Even though me and my mom are close we aren’t friends. My friendship with Irma is too strong, and I couldn’t expose her to family no matter the situation. She didn’t have to share her secret at all with me, but she chose to and out of respect I had to keep it to myself. GOOD STORYTELLING HERE AND ANALYSIS. A FEW CONCEPTS FROM READING COULD HAVE BEEN APPLIED BUT GOOD JOB.

Valeria Alvarez-Verdier (Team 7) Individual Assignment 4: “I’ve got a secret”

Secrecy, confidentiality and lying interrelate. However, when you try to understand them in a moral and ethical manner, they could each have a significant different value. GOOD THESIS STATEMENT


If I had to reveal a situation in which I felt compelled to lie to keep a secret to protect a person to whom I promised confidentiality, it would undoubtedly be to my ex boyfriends’ mother. Keeping up to this confidentiality was difficult and ultimately, caused me to lose my relationship.


The close relationship I had with my ex-boyfriends’ mother became more intimate the moment she confessed to me that she was pregnant, and that only her daughter and I would know. I was amazed to learn that she was pregnant but even more surprised when she told me she did not want to have the baby. She got an abortion. I am not the type of person that judges a woman for her decision as to what to do with her own body. The issue was that to maintain confidentiality of this secret, I was going to be compelled to lie to my boyfriend for as long as our relationship lasted. Although I was technically considered the “insider” to this secret, I did not have the desire to know, to be intimate and the lodging for enjoyment of knowing. I became an insider with no desire to be one. GOOD ANALYSIS.


The person attempting to penetrate the secret was my ex-boyfriend. He lived with his mother and realized that something was wrong. With knowledge to the close relationship his mother and I had, in many situations he would ask me if I knew what was wrong. GOOD I hated when I had to lie to his face, I knew exactly what was wrong and to me, I was betraying him. His mother, unconsciously experiences all the “dangers of secrecy”. She hurt her own judgment by shutting off criticism and feed back. Maybe her family would have supported her, maybe they would had persuade her into making a different decision. More importantly his mother intentionally or not, she hurt people. After three years of this event, his mother decided to break the secret, she confessed to the rest of the family what she had done. When he asked me if I knew, I decided to tell him the truth. I felt that if I denied knowing, I was now going to start a new lie, a new secrecy. I would no longer be protecting his mother’s secret, that secret was already fully penetrated. Unfortunately, he was unable to understand that his mother had placed a tremendous burden on me and that I was just displaying loyalty to her. DIFFICULT SITUATION.


Although keeping a secret, confidentiality and lying interrelate; when you look at them independently they could morally be completely unrelated. The fact that my ex-boyfriend’s mother decided to share one of her secrets with me was not the problem, we all have secrets and we chose whom we decide to share it with. The confidentiality that I maintained was not wrong, either; confidentiality translates to loyalty. Morally speaking, both of these were fine. The moral problem begins the moment I was compelled to lie in order to protect the secret and to maintain confidentiality. VERY WELL DONE.

Assignment 3: 48-hour news blackout- Valeria Alvarez-Verdier (Team 7)

The author of “The End of Solitude” successfully describes how the world of technology has affected our ability to be alone; to the point that many of us do not even know the meaning or feeling of being such way. Although I agree with the author, I do not see my self in his argument. I was born in the 95’ and even though I have experience many improvements and changes in technology, I have chosen to not part-take in many of them. In a sense for the same reasons Deresiewicz describes. I do not have an Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or any social media besides Facebook, and the reason why I have not deleted Facebook is solely because it reminds me of the birthdays that otherwise I would forget. One thing that I sincerely appreciate in life is to arrive to my apartment, where I live by myself and just spend time alone. It’s an opportunity to get to know myself better, to acknowledge my mistakes, accomplishments, goals and dreams without any disruptions. Having two jobs and being a full-time student leaves me with little to no time to be by myself. However, I have found my solitude and I intend on not loosing it. I am one of those that according to Deresiewics: “Those who would find solitude must not be afraid to stand alone.” GOOD


News is a necessary intrusion of our solitude. The problem is not the effect news has in our solitude; the problem is that we have not managed to filter the relevant news from the irrelevant, the real from the fake and the important from the unimportant. INSIGHTFUL Everyday we are faced with so many different news sources. From the radio, television, newspaper, online newspaper and even our social media. At times it becomes difficult to identify what you should believe and what you should not believe. While experimenting 48 hours in the “Twilight Zone” I realized how complicated it is to actually stay away from the news. News is literally everywhere we go. I found myself to be in the dark, I knew that there was a major tragedy occurring (the shooting in Las Vegas) and I had to restrain my self from reading or hearing anything about it. Coincidentally, as silly as it may sound, both days that I avoided all types of news, it rained. Of course, I was unprepared. After completing my 48 hours of “Twilight Zone” the first news that I heard was a local warning to anyone near the area of “North River Drive, Miami”. There was an armed suspect escaping from the authorities. I was on my way to work, which is five minutes away from that area. I had to choose alternative routes. This is a perfect example of why we rely on this “actionable information” to make decisions. This assignment thought me the importance the news carries in our lives and how hard it is to avoid them. It is definitely a necessary intrusion of our solitude. VERY WELL DONE. THIS WAS LOST BECAUSE YOU DID NOT TAG GROUP AND TEAM.

Secrecy Analysis

Secrets are necessary to protect a person’s privacy and image. There are aspects of yourself that should stay hidden for everyone’s benefit. An employer does not need to know about the party you went to last week nor does your professor. People will post facts about themselves on a public forum and expect that it will remain private. It’s important to build up personas of ourselves, so we can be perceived as professional individuals that are qualified for jobs. Omitting facts about yourself or choosing not to answer a question is essential for everyday interactions, but directly lying is nerve-wracking and depressing.

When you have to actively lie to keep a secret for yourself or for someone else, it is difficult and unpleasant. Sometimes you need to do it though, because society can be unforgiving and cruel. The reasons can be to spare someone from ridicule, bullying or any other form of social ostracization that can physically and emotionally hurt another individual. The need for secrecy would decrease if there was less pressure to conform and cover up the parts of yourself that others don’t like.  Secrets are meant to protect people. If they didn’t feel scared about the possible consequences of revealing the truth, they would not need to lie. It’s almost like a fear response that’s almost instinctual and you instantly regret it afterwards. INSIGHTFUL

Privacy is necessary for my sanity. I don’t want the entire world to witness all my mistakes and have them repeated to me by a million voices. Criticism for your actions is fine, but not when people analyze someone with a microscopic lens and dissect every little detail they think is wrong with them. People need to be allowed to grow as individuals by themselves away from the public eye.

People should have the right to privacy, unless they are a public figure and their choices will affect a large amount of people. The truth must be revealed to the general populace if the government or corporations are abusing their power. If there is a risk of harm to anyone, the privacy of a person can be undermined. This does not only apply to large organization, but it can be applied to people in your everyday lives. Respecting a friend’s boundaries and keeping their secrets is a good principle, but there are exceptions in which a person must break their friend’s trust to protect them or others.

A person just needs to be able to own their thoughts, not everything needs to be shared. Your time, space, or energy does not have to be given to others. It is not comfortable subjecting oneself to constant judgement by their peers regardless if their opinion would be positive. Being able to reflect upon information and come to your own conclusions about a situation can be more satisfying than having to discuss it with another person. It gives you the freedom to think for yourself.

Thesis: Secrecy is important to individuals since it is closely connected to privacy, but there are exceptions in which their information must be revealed.


(Note: I apologize if this is vague and broad, I just do not wish to disclose any personal information)

End of Solitude Analysis

Being a solitary person is not a blessing, it is a curse. All it does is make people distant and self-absorbed. People need to communicate with others, so that they can understand the world better. It is easier to not expend any energy on building relationships and ignore everything around you. All our goals our motivated by self-interest and the desire to get the bare minimum done to survive our mundane lives. Socializing and multi-tasking is an invaluable skill I wish I had. I cannot concentrate, study, or do any activity with another person in the room; I get so nervous and distracted by their presence. It is difficult to even keep up with news, gossip, or media.

It is a problem that people are pressured into being available 24/7, since technology has advanced enough to make this even possible. GOOD POINT. People are just not taught that it is okay to step away from their social media and computer. It requires a bit of selfishness to ignore others for the sake of your sanity and well-being. I agree with Deresiewicz’s article, but how do you combat this problem. It is difficult to advocate for the need of solitude in our society, since a person’s success is tied to their likability and social skills. Schools are even trying to emphasize the importance of social networking and working in teams from an early age nowadays. Some people’s livelihoods are built upon these factors such as popular Youtube artists, and bloggers

It is no wonder why people feel their worth is intrinsically linked to how many likes or followers they have. Is there any room for self-reflection when your identity is being molded by a collective consciousness on the internet? It is almost like a portfolio or a measurement of your success that is more accurate than any SAT score. It makes people feel like they matter because they have a wider platform to share their thoughts with hundreds of people.  There is tangible value that can be attached to the words they say, that is calculable by the amount of people that see it.

This assignment made no significant impact on my daily routine which involves doing homework, drawing, and watching movies on Netflix. Solitary reflection has only caused me to be more depressed and anxious than I already am. My life is short, boring, and overall insignificant. I usually avoid the news because knowing about terrible events, does not help me or others; I am essentially useless.

The news is still important though, I genuinely believe that if enough people hear and spread the word they can come together to make a positive change. The news is important to keep the general populace informed of corruption or problems in the world that need correcting. It helps protect our rights, liberties and those in need. People must work together to achieve goals bigger than just any one individual. Civilization has been able to advance, change, and adapt through the efforts of every person and their willingness to cooperate for a greater good. EXCELLENT ANALYSIS.

Rhetorical analysis- VALERIA ALVAREZ-VERDIER

When persuading the readers or audience, an important decision is whether persuasion will be accomplished through “Logos, Ethos or Pathos”. The following paragraphs will explain which method the author of the article: “why our memory fails us” used and how the decision of implementing these different method(s) of persuasion contributed to the strength and successfulness  SUCCESS of his arguments. The following paper will also talk about those important article comments, which without an effective method or organization, will get lost in the substantial amounts of comments, we have online now a days; prohibiting those comments, considered by most to be of grater value, to be misplaced where no one will ever read them. TOO LONG FOR THESIS STATEMENT: SIMPLY STATE ARGUMENT.


The arguments presented by Chabis and Simons on the article “Why Our Memory Fails Us” are built up by real life situations in which the memory of an individual failed them causing a controversy in their lives. From the rhetorical triangle, this article is mainly constructed with “Logos” and “Pathos”. Through Logos, the author provides the reader with (3) three different facts that have occurred in the past serving as examples of when the memory of a known individual failed, causing them to perplex their “truth”, from the real truth. This article does not only explain but it also intends on persuading the reader that when somebody’s memory fails him or her, it does not necessarily have to be because they have bad intentions or are lying, “ordinary memory failures say nothing about a person’s honesty or competence” (Christopher F. Chabris, Daniel J. Simons, Dec. 1, 2014). The issue is, that we mistakenly rely on our confidence and faith in the accuracy of our memory, believing that we can recall exactly how an event occurred, when in fact we are just, as stated in the article “reconstructing it on the fly each time” (Christopher F. Chabris, Daniel J. Simons, Dec. 1, 2014). When using pathos, the author focused on the “higher emotions”, hoping that the reader will sympathize next time somebody’s memory failed them and at the same time giving them the courage, that when that “person” is them, they will admit to their mistake and be credited for it. The author is hoping that through facts and explanation we will acknowledge that the issue of our memory failing is common amongst all of us, and that there is an explanation as to when this occurs it can simply be an honest mistake. GOOD.  ETHOS?

Heffernan, the author for “Comment Is King” expresses her strong opinion about comments in online journals. This has led to the New York Times to come up with a method, which organizes, and ranks the readers’ comments from the perspective of the readers themselves and also from the perspective of the NYT. The three top comments chosen by the NYT were chosen because they contributed to the article in three different ways: Expanded on the argument the author was trying to make from a different perspective, disagreed and finally, restated to what the author had to say with an additional example. However, in the readers’ top picks, one of the comments attacks the credibility of the author by solely focusing on the characteristic given to one of the individuals on the author’s example another, focusing and adding on the pathos portion or the author, which was to sympathize for those whom make mistakes and finally, by adding through additional links relevant information to the article. GOOD

Shutting the audience, those who advocate and criticizes is not the solution. The NYT has managed to come up with an effective method that allows for everyone to be heard, but at the same time filtering the comments people find more valuable. GOOD