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Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom made an appearance on The Daily Show to discuss the illusion of Twitter as a public space. In the interview, she shares her thoughts on Twitter, how she thinks about its role in our society, how she teaches her students to think critically about the world they live in, and why she believes people are inherently curious.

Though Twitter may feel like a public square, McMillan Cottom knows it can’t be one because it is not owned by the state or the people — it is outsourced to the private sector. She talks about how libraries serve as good public spaces and notes:

We are in an information society. Information is power and it is money. Why don’t we have a civic public square that exists on the internet?

It’s been an interesting time for Twitter and though it’s not perfect, McMillan Cottom discusses how Twitter has allowed others to share the vulnerability of learning something new. “It was a space for people to see different kinds of genius. That you could be good in one domain, still learning in another domain, that you could risk it,” she says.

People’s curiosity and eagerness to learn have impacted social media in different ways. She states that “what [Twitter] has done is made our curiosity profitable, and it has made our curiosity politically polarized, but that doesn’t mean that curiosity is bad.”

Watch the full interview:


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