For next week, we will continue to build our active reading and summarizing skills as well as to explore how we connect/socialize in a technological/networked world. In preparation for next week’s class:
1. Review my “Strategies for Summarizing Post” as well as the handouts on “Annotating a Text” and “Guidelines for Writing a Summary” (which can be found at the top of the Writing Resources page on our OpenLab site).
2. Read Stephen Marche’s “Is Facebook Making us Lonely?” (don’t forget to print out the PDF from our online Schedule, actively read it, highlight, mark it up, and bring it to class with you).
3. Analyze your own social media activity (and that of your friends),make a multimedia blog post in response (categorize it appropriately, as “Is Facebook Making us Lonely?”). A multimedia blog means including not just text/words, so your post should include screenshots, photos, videos, etc. or anything else you find relevant/appropriate (while respecting/protecting the privacy of you/your contacts).
As always, you should begin your blog post with a brief (objective) summary of the article, and then from there move into your own analysis/response. All blogs are a minimum of 500 words, and are due no later than the Monday night (at 11:59pm) before class.
Some things to think about as you read the article and then look through your own social media sites and those of your friends:
- How many “friends” do you have on Facebook (or “followers” on Twitter, or people in your “circles” on Google+, or similar connections in other social media sites)? Out of these “friends,” how many would you say that you are actually “friends” with in real life (someone you would feel comfortable calling up if you needed help, or whom you actually communicate meaningfully with)? Marche’s article discusses “real friends” (2), the “confidants” (3). Do you feel as if you have meaningful social bonds, friendships, and communication on Facebook, or only “ersatz intimacy” (6)?
- What kinds of “communication” and “socializing” do you do regularly on Facebook or social media? What about “tagging” and “liking” and re-posting, and commenting? Do these activities serve to build community? What about status updates, with people posting about themselves and their lives all the time? Look through your news feed on Facebook. What kinds of things do you see people posting about? What do you post about?
- How do you “[c]urat[e] the exhibition of the self” (9) on Facebook? What about the “constancy of the performance it demands”?
- What kind of things do you use Facbeook and/or other social media sites for? What kinds of information do you get there, or post there? Do you engage in “composed communication” (5), “passive consumption” (6), and/or “broadcasting”?
- Survey your friends, informally, and ask them about their usage habits too (and also check out their Facebook profiles).
- Engage with the claims about Facebook and loneliness made in Marche’s article. Test them against your own lived experience using Facebook (and other social networking sites such as Twitter, Google+, MySpace, Instagram, etc.)? Consider this article in relation to Turkle’s “The Flight from Conversation” [where she claims, “We think constant connection will make us feel less lonely. The opposite is true” (4)] and Megan Garber’s “Saving the Lost Art of Conversation” (Turkle’s ideas are actually discussed towards the end of Marche’s article).
We will continue these discussions going forward, as we move into reading Anderson’s feed, and upcoming readings on privacy/tracking/filtering on the Internet.
(You don’t of course, have to answer all of these questions, and certainly not in this order. These questions are discussion starters to get you thinking about the type of things you might write about in relation to this semester’s themes/topics. Your goal is to reflect, critically, on both your own and your friends’ social networking usage and its connection to Marche’s article–and other texts we have looked at this semester).