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Social networking under fresh attack as cyber scepticism sweeps us
Social networking under fresh attack as cyber scepticism sweeps us
Social networking under fresh attack as cyber scepticism sweeps us
Social networking under fresh attack as cyber scepticism sweeps us
Social networking under fresh attack as cyber scepticism sweeps us
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Social networking under fresh attack as cyber scepticism sweeps us

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  • 1. Social networking under fresh attack as cyber-scepticism sweeps USLevel 3 Advanced 1 WarmerAnswer the questions below.1. What do Facebook, Twitter and instant messaging help or allow you to do?2. Do you use any of them in your personal and/or business life? Why? Why not? 2 Key wordsFill the gaps in the sentences using these key words from the text. quip emphatic merits backlash shunning cyber-scepticism spontaneously frantically etiquette diminish pathological enshrine1. doubts that people have about computers and technology ______________________________2. When you do something in a very urgent way, you do it ______________________________.3. ______________________________ behaviour or feelings are not based on reason and cannot be controlled by the person experiencing them.4. ______________________________ are advantages or positive qualities that someone or something has.5. to say something funny or clever ______________________________6. ______________________________ is a strong, negative and often angry reaction to something that has happened, especially a political or social change.7. said or shown in a very strong and clear way ______________________________8. to officially record something such as an idea or principle in a document so that it cannot be ignored ______________________________9. When you are ______________________________ something, you are deliberately avoiding it.10. make someone or something less important or smaller than they really are ______________________________11. a set of rules for behaving correctly in social situations ______________________________12. When you do something ______________________________, you do it without having planned it beforehand. D • TE DE E SI A L EB LO B W N IA© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2011 M W P O DO O FR BE C N T ONEWS LESSONS / Social networking under fresh attack as cyber-scepticism sweeps US / Advanced O H •P CA
  • 2. Social networking under fresh attack as cyber-scepticism sweeps USLevel 3 Advanced Social networking under fresh attack popular culture. A recent bestseller in the US, as cyber-scepticism sweeps US The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, suggests that use of the internet is altering the way we think Twitter and Facebook don’t connect people to make us less capable of digesting large and – they isolate them from reality, say a rising complex amounts of information, such as books number of academics and magazine articles. The book was based Paul Harris in New York on an essay that Carr wrote in The Atlantic 22 January, 2011 magazine. It was just as emphatic and was headlined: Is Google Making Us Stupid?1 The way in which people frantically communicate online via Twitter, Facebook and instant 7 Another strand of thought in the field of cyber- messaging can be seen as a form of modern scepticism is found in The Net Delusion, by madness, according to a leading Evgeny Morozov. He argues that social media American sociologist. has bred a generation of “slacktivists”. It has made people lazy and enshrined the illusion that2 “A behaviour that has become typical may still clicking a mouse is a form of activism equal to express the problems that once caused us to real world donations of money and time. see it as pathological,” writes Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Sherry Turkle in 8 The backlash has crossed the Atlantic. In her new book, Alone Together, which is leading an Cyburbia, published in the UK in 2010, James attack on the information age. Harkin surveyed the modern technological world and found some dangerous possibilities. While3 Turkle’s book, soon to be published in the UK, Harkin is no pure cyber-sceptic, he found many has caused a sensation in America, which is reasons to be worried as well as pleased about usually more obsessed with the merits of social the new technological era. Elsewhere, hit film networking. She recently appeared on Stephen The Social Network has been seen as a Colbert’s late-night comedy show, The Colbert thinly-veiled attack on the social media Report, to talk about her new book and her generation, suggesting that Facebook was thesis. When Turkle said she had been at funerals created by people who failed to fit in with the where people checked their iPhones, Colbert real world. quipped: “We all say goodbye in our own way.” 9 Turkle’s book, however, has sparked the most4 Turkle’s thesis is simple: technology is debate so far. It is a cry from the heart for putting threatening to dominate our lives and make us down the BlackBerry, ignoring Facebook and less human. Under the illusion of allowing us shunning Twitter. “We have invented inspiring to communicate better, it is actually isolating us and enhancing technologies, yet we have from real human interactions in a cyber-reality allowed them to diminish us,” she writes. that is a poor imitation of the real world. 10 Fellow critics point to numerous incidents to back5 But Turkle’s book is far from the only work of up their argument. Recently, media coverage its kind. An intellectual backlash in America of the death in Brighton, UK, of Simone Back is calling for a rejection of some of the values focused on a suicide note she had posted on and methods of modern communications. Facebook that was seen by many of her 1,048 “It is a huge backlash. The different kinds of ‘friends’ on the site. Yet none called for help – communication that people are using have instead they traded insults with each other on her become something that scares people,” said Facebook wall. Professor William Kist, an education expert at 11 But even the backlash now has a backlash, with Kent State University, Ohio. many leaping to the defence of social media.6 The list of attacks on social media is a long one They point out that emails, Twitter and Facebook and comes from all corners of academia and have led to more communication, not less – D • TE DE E SI A L EB LO B W N IA© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2011 M W P O DO O FR BE C N T ONEWS LESSONS / Social networking under fresh attack as cyber-scepticism sweeps US / Advanced O H •P CA
  • 3. Social networking under fresh attack as cyber-scepticism sweeps USLevel 3 Advanced especially for people who may have trouble Simone Back’s death appear so shocking. “Let’s meeting in the real world because of great face it, I see no sign of anyone unplugging,” distance or social difference. said Kist. “But, perhaps, we need to involve a12 Defenders say theirs is just a different form of ‘netiquette’ to deal with it all.” communication that people might have trouble 14 He also pointed out that the “real world” that getting used to. “When you go into a coffee many social media critics long to return to never shop and everyone is silent on their laptop, I really existed. Before people travelled on buses understand what [Turkle] is saying about not or trains with their heads buried in their iPads talking to one another,” Kist said. “But it is still or smartphones, they usually just travelled in communicating. I disagree with her. I don’t see it silence. “We did not see people spontaneously as so black and white.” talking to strangers. They were just keeping to13 Some experts believe the debate is so fierce themselves,” Kist said. because social networking is a new field that has yet to develop rules and etiquette that everyone © Guardian News & Media 2011 can respect and that is why incidents such as First published in The Guardian, 22/01/11 3 Comprehension checkFind the answers to these questions in the article.1. Why did professor Sherry Turkle appear on US TV?2. What is Turkle’s thesis?3. What does another professor from Ohio say about the same subject?4. Why might ‘Google be making us stupid’?5. Is academic criticism of modern technology only coming from the US?6. What is the criticism of the criticism that we can read about in the article?7. What does Kist suggest should be put in place? 4 ExpressionsMatch the verbs on the left with the nouns or noun phrases on the right to make expressions from the article.1. lead a. a large amount of information2. digest b. to the defence (of)3. spark c. insults4. trade d. an attack (on)5. leap e. a debateThen, find the expressions in the article and work with a partner to explain them in your own words. D • TE DE E SI A L EB LO B W N IA© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2011 M W P O DO O FR BE C N T ONEWS LESSONS / Social networking under fresh attack as cyber-scepticism sweeps US / Advanced O H •P CA
  • 4. Social networking under fresh attack as cyber-scepticism sweeps USLevel 3 Advanced 5 Blended wordsIt’s not always possible to find the right words to talk about and describe modern technology. Therefore,words are invented by joining together two known words to make a new blended word. For example, thetitle of James Harkin’s book is Cyburbia (see paragraph 8). The word is a blend of the words cyber andsuburbia. In linguistic terms, blended words are referred to as ‘portmanteau words’.1. Find two further blended words in the article. Which words are joined to make them? What do they mean?2. Do you know any more blended technology words? 6 Supporting a statementThink of reasons to help you to support these statements. Write your answers in the open spaces below,arguing both for and against what is stated in the left-hand column. statement for against Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites isolate people. Sending chat and text messages via computers / mobile phones or posting photos / videos on websites is not ‘real communication’. People who use social networking sites everyday have problems talking to people face-to-face. Modern technology is making us stupid and lazy. 7 DiscussionUsing your for and against notes to support your opinions, discuss the statements in Exercise 6. D • TE DE E SI A L EB LO B W N IA© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2011 M W P O DO O FR BE C N T ONEWS LESSONS / Social networking under fresh attack as cyber-scepticism sweeps US / Advanced CA O H •P
  • 5. Social networking under fresh attack as cyber-scepticism sweeps USLevel 3 AdvancedKEY2 Key words 4 Expressions1. cyber-scepticism 1. d2. frantically 2. a3. pathological 3. e4. merits 4. c5. quip 5. b6. backlash7. emphatic8. enshrine 5 Blended words9. shunning10. diminish 1. slacktivist: from slack(er) and activist = someone11. etiquette who carries out a lazy or easy form of activism12. spontaneously netiquette: from (inter)net and etiquette = a code of manners or unwritten rules used in internet communication3 Comprehension check 2. suggestions: blog, crackberry, podcast, emoticon1. to talk about / promote her new book, Alone Together, and her thesis2. that technology is threatening to dominate our lives and make us less human3. that the different kinds of communication that people are using have become something that scares people4. because use of the internet is altering the way we think to make us less capable of digesting large and complex amounts of information, such as books and magazine articles5. no, it is also coming from the UK6. communication methods such as emails, Twitter and Facebook have led to more communication and not less - especially for people who may have trouble meeting in the real world7. a ‘netiquette’ to maintain order in this new world of communication D • TE DE E SI A L EB LO B W N IA© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2011 M W P O DO O FR BE C T ONEWS LESSONS / Social networking under fresh attack as cyber-scepticism sweeps US / Advanced O H N •P CA

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