Social media survey

PRO (& CON)

To launch the discussion, here's a very slick presentation which is brrreathlessly excited about the whole process ...

** And try using the 'Enter Presentation Mode' - see row of buttons at top right

  Social Media Revolution

That covers the whole range of social media, but this simple animation explains how social networking functions, and why it is a valuable asset ...

  Social Networking in Plain English

But perhaps social networking is not as great as all that? Here's a satirical comment - possibly in rather bad taste ?

  Intervention: Social networking addiction

And after all that hectic audio-visual stuff, here's some sedate, old-fashioned TEXT ... a Guardian comment on the academic backlash against social network sites ...
Social networking under fresh attack as tide of cyber-scepticism sweeps US
  • guardian.co.uk,
The way in which people frantically communicate online via Twitter, Facebook and instant messaging can be seen as a form of modern madness, according to a leading American sociologist.
"A behaviour that has become typical may still express the problems that once caused us to see it as pathological," MIT professor Sherry Turkle writes in her new book, Alone Together, which is leading an attack on the information age.
Turkle's book, published in the UK next month, has caused a sensation in America, which is usually more obsessed with the merits of social networking. She appeared last week on Stephen Colbert's late-night comedy show, The Colbert Report. When Turkle said she had been at funerals where people checked their iPhones, Colbert quipped: "We all say goodbye in our own way."
Turkle's thesis is simple: technology is threatening to dominate our lives and make us less human. Under the illusion of allowing us to communicate better, it is actually isolating us from real human interactions in a cyber-reality that is a poor imitation of the real world. ... (more)

Using the material

A. Raising the topic

You could just play any one of the videos (depending on what aspect of social media you want to discuss) - or all of them - and then launch into a free-ranging discussion.

B. Analysing discourse

The range of this very different material is interesting in itself - it illustrates the variety of discourse types that are available on the internet. Consider what we have here :-

Social Media Revolution ... the PowerPoint, using the written word - deliberately slick and professional in order to impress

Social networking in plain English ... a kind of animation, combining film and drawing, with a voice over - deliberately informal and 'amateur' in order to appear 'audience-friendly'

Intervention: Social Networking Addiction ... video, combining drama and advertising techniques to achieve satire - actually multiple satire, of both social networking itself, and of aggressive (political ?) advertising

The Guardian article ... print journalism in the form of a feature article - striving to combine authority (based on efficient summary of facts), with human interest (based on the use of quotation)

The best way of handling the 'discourse' approach would be to look at each of the sources separately:-

Step 1 ... play the source through / skim the text, to get an overall impression of what it says; then ...

Step 2 ... ask students to consider (individually or in groups)...* supposed audience ... * form & format ... * communicative techniques ...etc

Step 3 ... replay / re-skim, scanning carefully for details which confirm or contradict what they have just imagined about audience + form + techniques

Step 4 ... discuss and agree in the whole group

When all four have been analysed seperately, carry out a compare & contrast exercise, aiming to elicit the kind of list of the four types given above - but more detailed and with more categories.

C. JigSaw reading 

It might be best to distinguish between audio-visual and text forms - carry out the 'Analysing discourse' exercise above using only the videos, and approach the Guardian text as a detailed-reading exercise. As follows ...

Step 1 ... give out the four sheets, each with one section of the task - it may be best to allot each sheet / section to a small group for cooperative work. Ask students to carry out the tasks.

Step 2 ... ask each group to report what their extract says (the summary sentence should help here). Extend with asking them about the quotations - what the quotations are, and what they understand each means.

Step 3 ... elicit that the four sheets are, broadly speaking divided into pro & con the effects of the social media, then ...

Step 4 ...

> EITHER start the full-scale discussion of what the students think in response to the article

> OR before the discussion, ask the students to determine the sequence of the fragmented extracts, in order to reconstruct the original article (the sequence is K ... G ... T ... B )

OR... You can of course forget the fancy JigSaw Reading idea, give out the whole-text version (the Handout above: SocialNet Guardian whole), and just do a straightforward readthrough > language issues > discussion sequence. The plain approach is always reliable !

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