“Digital messages mimic the speed of real conversation, but often what people like best is the ability to put them off.”
By: Julie Beck
Published: The Atlantic, Jan 11, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/01/ignoring-each-other-in-the-age-of-instant-communication/550325/
Level of Difficulty: ***
BEFORE YOU READ
· When in-person conversation is better than texting https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/01/ignoring-each-other-in-the-age-of-instant-communication/550325/ (Scroll down to the bottom of the page)
· Connected but alone https://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together/transcript
1. Why exactly do people take no longer than 200 milliseconds on average to answer someone?
2. We understand from the information concerning written communication that …
3. Look at these messages: https://www.newyorker.com/humor/daily-shouts/sorry-for-the-delayed-response . What do they prove? (Refer to the text )
4. Read the paragraph beginning “People don’t…” and the following paragraph. What change in our attitude to written communication causes distress? The fact that we regard…
5. Where in the paragraph beginning “While you may know…” would you place the following:
· In fact, people usually feel they are being snubbed
· This is supported by the fact that’s that
6. Logically, written communication should not be linked to anxiety but it is because…
7. Read the account of the short story Cat Person. The fact that the couple communicated via texts created problems because…
8. Turkle says “Text messages become marks on rocks to be analyzed and sweated over”. Why is this the case? Because they are …
9. Watch the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZARdRcbh_E . Why was such a discussion necessary?
10. The writer states that people shouldn’t become paranoid because someone doesn’t respond to his message promptly because in fact…
11. Read Turkle’s personal account of how she tries to cope with her messages. What is ironical about people’s attitude to such a situation?
12. Read the account of Baron’s findings. Which sentence in the section best expresses the main idea?
13. What is the main advantage of written communication over regular, direct communication according to the modern generation?
14. Read the last two paragraphs of the text. What conclusion can be drawn from this section?
Use the text and the videos to write about how the way we communicate is changing and how this change is impacting our relationships.
HOW IT BECAME NORMAL TO IGNORE TEXTS AND EMAILS
This text is all about an issue which my generation finds hard to get to grips with. However, it should be very familiar to your students. Have they considered the underlying reasons for their texting behavior or online written communication though? Have they analyzed the issue? The answer is ‘probably not’. This text and the accompanying reading task will get them to do so.
1. It is the defining feature of conversation.
2. It has caught up.
3. ‘Sorry for the delayed response’ has gone from earnest apology to punchline.
4. Media as synchronous
5. The first sentence goes just before the sentence beginning “ A Pew survey…”; the phrase precedes “A Pew survey…”
6. Written communication is designed to mimic conversation
7. Digital communication is weak as a scaffolding to build an understanding of another person.
8. Contextless forms of communication
9. Two possible answers:
The first: The metamessages that accompany the literal messages can easily be misinterpreted
The second: Metamessages are implied rather than stated, they can be misinterpreted or missed entirely
10. People are just trying to manage the quantity of messages and notifications they receive
11. Even though instant written communication can be overwhelming and anxiety-inducing, people prefer it.
12. We have become a version of power freaks, not just control freaks.
13. Written instant messages create a smokescreen of plausible deniability.
14. What the age of instant communication has enabled is the ability to deal with conversation on our own terms.