On Being Specific: Beware of IT and THIS

A student last semester wrote this Purposeful Summary. His name was Wazoo. As you read Wazoo’s comment, see if you can answer this essential question:

What’s He Talking About?

facepalm-captain-picard-300x201

It seems counterintuitive that we buy iphones and use them knowing that there are bugs out there, in which they allow people to spy on you. We do not know how long apple has known about this but we do know they were warned and still decided to not do anything.

Personal Privacy plays a big party in everyone’s life, as well as their cell phones. The majority of cell phones are iphones and to have bugs in which people can spy on you is not acceptable. There is no way a little kid was the first to find this. Apple has known about this and they just have kept it a secret. They hire some of the best hackers in the world to work for them to find bugs. So why did they take so long to react?

Apple is one of the largest companies in the world. so some people might think theres a chance they didnt see the complaint right away or they kept it on to gain information about all of its users. After 2 weeks they finally sent a fix but this took so long because they werent done spying on the innocent people in this world. Apple is all about making profit and this move was one for them to get a better understanding on how to advertise to the world.

In addition to some punctuation errors, Wazoo here is neglecting an ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL aspect of Purposeful Summary: to summarize.

Very likely, because it was resolved more than a year ago, you don’t remember much about Apple’s FaceTime bug. If you happened to read Wazoo’s comment on a website about Apple products, would you have any idea what the article he was summarizing said about these questions?

—Would you know how the “spying” occurs?
—Would you know what program or app was compromised?
—Would you understand that it activated the recipient’s camera and microphone before he answered a FaceTime call?
—Would you understand what Wazoo meant about a kid being the first to “find this”?
—Would you understand the context of the “2 week” delay?

What Wazoo DOES do well here is to shape the news to his own agenda. It’s clear he’s suspicious of Apple’s motives and dubious that their slowness in responding to the crisis was innocent. In other words, his language is Purposeful, but he’s neglected the Summary, largely by using “it” and “this” to stand for material he left out.

Here’s the same summary with SPECIFIC DETAILS to replace IT and THIS.

It seems counterintuitive that we buy iphones and use them knowing that there are bugs in the product that allow people to spy on US. We do not know how long Apple has known about THE FLAW IN FACETIME THAT ACTIVATES THE RECIPIENT’S CAMERA AND MICROPHONE BEFORE SHE ACCEPTS THE CALL, but we do know they were warned and still decided NOT TO FIX THE BUG.

Personal Privacy—ESPECIALLY REGARDING OUR CELL PHONES—plays a big part in ALL OUR LIVES. The majority of cell phones are iPhones, and to have bugs THAT ALLOW CALLERS TO spy on US is not acceptable. IT’S NOT CREDIBLE THAT a little kid was the first to find THIS FLAW IN THE FACETIME APP. Apple has known about THIS THREAT TO OUR PRIVACY and they just kept it a secret. They hire some of the best hackers in the world to work for them to find bugs. So why did they take so long to react?

Apple is one of the largest companies in the world, so some people might think THERE’S a chance they DIDN’T see the TEENAGER’S REPORT THAT HIS PHONE WAS EAVESDROPPING ON HIS FRIEND’S CAMERA AND MICROPHONE right away, or they DELIBERATELY DELAYED FIXING THE BUG to gain information about all of THEIR users. After 2 weeks THE COMPANY finally sent a fix, but THE DELAY DEMONSTRATES they WEREN’T done spying on THEIR INNOCENT AND UNSUSPECTING CUSTOMERS. Apple is all about making PROFITS, and this CALLOUS INVASION OF THEIR USER BASE was A DELIBERATE ATTEMPT TO GAIN INTELLIGENCE THAT WOULD HELP THEM FURTHER VICTIMIZE THEIR CUSTOMERS WITH TARGETED ADVERTISING.

All right, so I did a little more than just replace IT and THIS. 🙂

But what the ALL CAPS material has in common is that it ADDS SPECIFIC DETAILS that provide readers with the background information they need.

In-Class Task

Leave a brief comment in the Reply field below to let me know if this is an effective demonstration of the value of specific details (or the danger of IT and THIS).

About davidbdale

Inventor of and sole practitioner of 299-word Very Short Novels. www.davidbdale.wordpress.com
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26 Responses to On Being Specific: Beware of IT and THIS

  1. clementine102 says:

    This is not an effective demonstration because by reading his piece, he seemed to be trying to have a conversation with you instead of describing specific details about Apple’s bug. He uses “it” and “this” which causes the reader to be left confused on what you are actually talking about.

  2. runnerd4 says:

    This was definitely an effective demonstration of the value of specific details. The summary with all of the specific details made the idea of the article a lot easier to understand what is important. Using the words IT and THIS did not give adequate information about what the article was about.

  3. oaktree1234 says:

    He is essentially restating the same thing. Also, he doesn’t elaborate about this “spying”. Overall, this is not an adequate piece of writing

  4. malcolmyarber says:

    In this piece of literature from Wazoo he describes the issues with Apple. Specifically, Wazoo describes how apple is spying on us and how the phones are a potential risk at being spied on and it is unacceptable. This is an effective demonstration of the value of specific details and how leaving out key details such as how they are spying, who are spying on us, or why we are being spied on could be detrimental to your writing and proving your point.

  5. cardinal7218 says:

    This is an effective demonstration. I didn’t realize how much was wrong with the original version until reading the edited version. Reading the edited version in comparison really helped me to see not only how to include specific details but also how much clearer it makes someone’s writing.

  6. rowanstudent24 says:

    This was an effective demonstration. It was helpful that we could see a bad version of the purposeful summary and the good version of the purposeful summary. It helped show how important specific details are.

  7. jeffbezos123 says:

    Yes I believe that these articles are a huge help. I feel personally that I use the words “It” and “this” in most papers that I write. This shows me that I need to start using details. Overall this was successfull because after seeing both articles I can see how much of a diffrence using more detail does to an article, rather then using it and this.

  8. SmilingDogTheProfWants says:

    Although the small summary covers all the information, it does not go into details and supply the reader with what they’d need to understand the situation and circumstance, unlike the specific detail work that gives the reader everything thing they need even if it feels like keywords are being repeated so people click on the article.

  9. Nancet says:

    Yes, it was a effective demonstration. Wazoo is trying to send a message out for the people. With Apple having the way to spy on you is one of the problems. This could lead up to sex tracking. I said sex trafficking’s because Amazon is a big company in the world and they are being lowkey about the bad things they doing.

  10. shadowswife says:

    I believe this is an effective demonstration of how important specific details are. When I read the original version, I was left confused about what this person was talking about with bugs in iPhones and felt perturbed over how this person was explaining himself. “They” and “it” didn’t help with his explanation either because it leaves the reader to assume and/or starting questioning what he’s referring to. The edited version makes everything clear and saves me less stress on figuring out what I have just read.

  11. pardonmyfrench13 says:

    This was an effective demonstration of when to provide specific details in order to create a better argument. You helped me to better understand how to create a solid argument and make readers understand what exactly is being talked about.

  12. sonnypetro29 says:

    This is an effective demonstration on how we should use specific details. If specific details are not used in your purposeful summary it will leave the readers confused about what you are writting about.

  13. 612119d says:

    He did not come across very clear I was very confused and it seemed like he was writing just to write and had no purpose and didn’t elaborate.

  14. dayzur says:

    This is an effective demonstration of how important specific details are and the danger of IF and THIS. When reading the summary the first time, it truly had it’s points where it did not make any sense to me, where the author was constantly using IT and THIS. As the reader, I did not even know what it or this was in the sense of the summary. The rework of it makes it much more clear and easy to read and gives us useful info on what to do to make our writing the best we can, and most concise.

  15. mhmokaysure says:

    It was an effective demonstration of the importance of specific details, as it outlined how much changing a couple of “it’s” or “they’s” strengthens even a weaker argument. I catch myself using it and they often in writing, and seeing how ineffective they are really helped me focus on changing that in the future.

  16. BabyGoat says:

    I believe this is effective. Sometimes as a writer we forget that our readers do not understand the subject like we do. And because we know what we mean, we became lazy. But in this demonstration, the writer lacks in explanation of what “It” and “This” was, and we had to use context clues to figure it out.

  17. l8tersk8ter says:

    This demonstration was effective in showing the importance of specifics. I think it showed that not only do details clarify what the author is talking about, but also makes the piece more interesting to read. Using details adds more exciting language.

  18. comicdub says:

    Yes, I believe this is an effective demonstration of the value of specific details because if the “it” and “this” in the summary were not clarified, I would not have any idea what Wazoo was talking about in their summary.

  19. BigBarry2 says:

    This was an effective demonstration on how important specific details are in writing. Using specific details in replace of the words “It” and “This” was able to make it a whole lot easier for the reader to understand which makes the writing all together a lot better. I know these are words I use a lot in my writing to describe things and it would help a lot if i used specific details.

  20. corinnebuck1219 says:

    yes i believe this was effective since it really does compare how much better and interesting a article can be with specific details instead of “it” and “this”

  21. gooferious says:

    The demonstration about the dangers of using “it” and “this” is indeed helpful. It clearly shows what many of us as students do when we don’t take the time to thoroughly explain our topic. By showing us the correct way to write our purposeful summary we can use the information given to us to help better our writing.

  22. sunshine2818 says:

    This is a perfect demonstration of how to be more specific with the language, refrain from using “it” of “this”. Although the objective of the article is clearly decided, more of a summarization would have been more useful.

  23. gabythefujoshi18 says:

    I believe this is an effective demonstration addressing the importance of being clear in the ideas we want to express. I am guilty of not being clear myself every once in a while and I am not specific. There is nothing wrong in using “it” and “this,” but whatever you are discussing or arguing should be clear to the reader.

  24. bluntwriting88 says:

    The question at the end of the post is rather illogical as I do not immediately know what ‘this’ is referring to in the question due to lack of context. Is ‘this’ the poor wazoo entry, the revised entry, or the entire ‘it vs this’ exercise on this page?
    Let’s respond concisely:
    The entire page was very useful in showcasing how NOT to write and what to AVOID in making one’s writing confusing and poorly written. Both Wazoo’s and Wazoo’s revised entry aid greatly in illustration by example.

  25. tcarter101 says:

    while this summary is short and it is a good example of qualitative work the detail matter in the issues he was discussing. He needs to be more specific in his purposeful summary to avoid leaving his readers confused

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