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Privacy in the Digital Age

When asked about the negative aspects of social media, young people often report feeling pressure to act or present themselves in a certain way. Why?
How has social media changed the way we communicate? Let's explore this by comparing two very different means of communication.

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People cooperating to write in large note book

The following activities will challenge you to compare the private genre of a personal diary to the public way of communicating through social media. Through four main steps you will be asked to use your communication, writing and critical thinking skills. The final product is a reflective text narrowed down to a title and topic of your own choice.

A summary of the activities in four steps

Step 1: Organise your thoughts with a Venn diagram

Step 2: Create a title for a final written product

Step 3: Conduct an interview and take notes

Step 4: Write a text based on steps 1 - 3.

If privacy is defined as having the freedom to do something without anyone watching or knowing what you are doing, then keeping a diary is perhaps the most private genre of writing. Writing in solitude, for yourself and to yourself, is a stark contrast to the writing posted online. Whilst many social media posts almost scream for public attention, a personal diary is written to be kept quiet.

Step 1: Organise your thoughts with a Venn diagram

Example of a Venn Diagram

A Venn diagram is a visual way to compare two things. It is made up of two sorting circles that overlap in the middle.
Make a Venn diagram where the first circle is filled with keywords associated with posting something on social media.
Fill the second circle with keywords associated with writing in a diary and save the overlap for things they might have in common (see image).

Step 2: Create a title for a final written product

Before you find someone to interview, we want you to decide a title for the text you will be writing at the end of this process. Look at your Venn diagram or the suggestions in the box below for inspiration. Think about what interests you or what question you would like to answer. Deciding a title will help you write your interview questions and will make your interview more focused and relevant.

A list of suggested titles for the final written task

"Privacy in the digital age"

"The secret diary of…"

"Writing to conceal or reveal?"

"Is a blog just a digital diary?"

"Why write if it can’t be ‘liked’?"

"Writing for yourself vs. for everyone else."

Step 3: The interview

Find someone who has kept a diary, or someone who still keeps one. Schedule a meeting with them, either face to face or a video conversation.

Based on the title you have chosen, what do you want to ask them? Think of questions starting with: Who? When? What? How? and Why? Narrow your questions down to between five and eight questions.

Remember that this interview is meant to be of inspiration when you write your final text. It is much easier to write about something that you have thought and talked about beforehand. This means that you don't have to record every word that is said, but it is important to take notes. They will help you think of things to write about and help you to include new perspectives and ideas.

Step 4: Written task

Use your Venn diagram (step 1) and the notes from your interview (step 3) to help you write a text about your chosen topic (step 2).

Sist oppdatert 27.02.2020
Skrevet av Sonja Nygaard-Joki

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