FACEBOOK V. TWITTER AS ACADEMIC TOOLS

FACEBOOK V. TWITTER AS ACADEMIC TOOLS

Introduction:

One of the most common activities we engage in is comparison. We compare, for instance, products we may want/need to buy; opinions, promises and claims made by politicians; information we receive about weather or traffic. We look for similarities (called comparisons) and differences (called contrasts) and make, in the cases mentioned above, buying, voting, dressing, or driving decisions based on what our comparisons/contrasts tell us.

The rise of social networks (also called Web 2.0) has allowed some giants to emerge in the field. On one hand we have Facebook – its site allows one to post a profile, connect with friends far and near and engage in extended conversation via messaging services the site provides. One is also able to provide FB friends with status updates that keep them abreast on what one is thinking/doing/planning. All this is done within Facebook’s site and requires visits there (especially now that FB has removed or reduced access to notifications for users in order to drive traffic to their site). On the other hand, Twitter focuses on creating followers who are more like fans – one subscribes to tweets from people one finds interesting, amusing, or (one hopes) thought provoking. Twitter’s strength and weakness is brevity – no tweet (message) can be more than 140 characters (letters and spaces). Twitter thus, by its very technological structure, becomes the home of the witty remark/snarky complaint/foolish outburst.

Both these social networks have large numbers of faithful regular participants – many of whom are college students. For this reason alone, the academy (i.e., colleges and universities) is interested in the academic/educational possibilities of both Facebook and Twitter. Even as you read this, studies are being conducted of how students use FB and Twitter to discover useful ways in which faculty can connect with students and students can connect with each other in order to enhance both face to face and on-line courses – and, perhaps, discover how FB and Twitter can become (even in secondary ways) learning platforms in themselves (as on-line learning platforms such as Web Tycho and Blackboard are).

This assignment asks you to compare and contrast views on the academic usefulness of Facebook and Twitter. By reviewing some articles that take both positive and negative views of these social media as educational tools, you should be able to write an essay that compares the virtues and limitations of each form of social media and allows readers to see how Facebook and Twitter can/cannot serve as educational resources for college classes.

As you prepare to write your essay, be sure to take notes on each article’s presentation of FB and/or Twitter. Note similarities and differences in these articles’ views – these will be the basic material of your comparison/contrast essay.

The Assignment:

This assignment calls for you to write an essay 1000-1200 words in length, double spaced. The essay should have the following standard academic essay elements:

1) A clear introduction, body, and conclusion;
2) A clearly identifiable thesis statement;
3) A title;
4) Evidence (based upon your review and examination of the material from the articles that you wish to compare or contrast) that you might find relevant to include in your discussion.

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