An increasing number of people of all ages are becoming members of social networking sites. Using these sites has its pros and cons and it is important that we are aware of their limitations. But used constructively, they can have a positive impact on our lives – as the following stories illustrate.
Charlotte, 17 years old
Last summer, my parents went to visit some friends, and I had the house to mysef for an entire week. I enjoyed coming and going as I pleased and having friends over whenever I felt like it. But one evening a storm started blowing up. After a couple of hours, I heard a loud crack in the back yard. Looking out the window I saw, to my horror, that the roof of our gazebo was about to tear loose. I’m not a big person, and I knew I wasn’t strong enough to secure the roof on my own. Thinking that I needed to contact as many people as possible, I logged onto Twitter and posted my predicament on my profile. Then I went outside to see what I could manage on my own. Within the next hour, five of my Twitter friends had arrived, and together we managed to secure the roof.
Brian, 18 years old
I just got my craft certificate in carpentry last June. Unfortunately, this was in the middle of the financial crisis, and jobs were hard to come by. I enjoyed having the summer off, but by September I was both bored and broke. However, there were hardly any available jobs, and being young and inexperienced, I didn’t stand a chance on the local employment market. A friend of mine advised me to create a profile on LinkedIn and to post a general application and CV. Within a week I got a job with a major contractor in another part of the country. Now, a year later, I have a well-paid job and a year’s working experience.
Alicia, 16 years old
I became very ill last year, and for a while there was a chance that I might not survive. We live on a farm way out in the countryside, far away from all my friends. My best friends visited me when they could, but most of the time I was on my own with my thoughts. I spent a lot of time on MySpace, Twitter and just surfing the Internet, and one day I found a blog by a girl named Marie who had the same illness as me. I read all the entries on her blog - some were from others in the same situation, and some were from friends and relatives of young people with the same disease. I summoned up my courage and posted an entry in which I explained my situation and shared some of my thoughts. That entry changed my life – I was no longer alone. Today I am well again. But Marie’s blog is still going, and I spend some time every week trying to help those who are not as fortunate as me by sharing my experiences with them.
Sit in pairs and take turns explaining how social networking helped the three teenagers. Go through the stories twice so that each of you get to explain all the situations at least once. The one who listens has to encourage the other with phrases like: really!, did he?, how nice! etc.
- Sit in groups and discuss the pros and cons of social networking. Make a list of what can go wrong. Try to come up with at least three suggestions each for pros and cons. Finally, read out your suggestions in class and answer any questions your classmates may have.
- Through websites such as Facebook we may build a huge network of friends. But do we really get to know each other as well on the net as in real life? Or is it maybe on the net that we feel free to be who we really are? What do you think?
Write sentences using the following phrases/words. You may try to create a coherent story as well.
- social networking
- pros and cons
- a general application
- a CV
- a well-paid job
- sharing my experiences
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