JP Stevens High School Readin

A) Click the link about Baby Facebook (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.–A baby was named Facebook. Baby Facebook’s father, Jamal Ibrahim, told Egypt’s Al-Ahram newspaper that he “wanted to express his gratitude about the victories the youth of January 25 have achieved and chose to express it in the form of naming his firstborn girl,” according to a translation by the blog TechCrunch.

The Egyptian government quickly realized the power of the Internet in fomenting revolution and shutdown access across the country. Soon after the protests began on Jan. 25, Wael Ghonim, a Google executive and founder of the country’s preeminent dissident Facebook page, was arrested.

That page “We Are Khaled Said” was created last year in the wake of the murder of student activist Khaled Said at the hands of Egyptian police. Facebook along with Twitter, Google and YouTube were all used by protesters to organize and broadcast news and images from the ground.

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B) On a daily basis I take advantage of technological luxuries like a flat screen television, a cell phone, the iPad, and satellite radio. I can’t remember the last time I bought a newspaper; I read my news online. I don’t spend a lot of time in bookstores because almost any book I could ever want is available at Instead of going to record stores, I use iTunes. I used to go to Blockbuster to rent videos; now I stream movies through Netflix.

I often think about what’s coming next with regard to technology. What are the future forms of communication? How will technology continue to change the ways we interact? How will it influence what we consume? How will it influence our work? What will be the next Instagram? The next YouTube? What comes after Zoom? What will replace FaceTime? How much bigger than 80″ can televisions get, anyway? How small can computers get? Are 1G speeds really fast internet modem speeds or are ISPs selling us a concept they’ve packaged, do you think?

Most of us have no clue about the answers to these questions, but anyone reading this is impacted by technology.

C) We imagine a time when an open public square was where a community could find that exchange of ideas. As German sociologist Jürgen Habermas wrote, the public sphere is “a realm of our social life in which something approaching public opinion can be formed. Access is guaranteed to all citizens. A portion of the public sphere comes into being in every public conversation in which private individuals assemble to form a public body.” But we don’t have a social space like this today.

We also have the bizarre world of Twitter. I’m not sure what to make of Twitter, but if I had to explain it to someone from another planet, I guess I’d say celebrities seem to love it and everybody (famous or otherwise) has a chance to broadcast their thoughts or whereabouts in 140 characters or less. Twitter post can be a link to a song, clever quips, pictures, whatever you can fit and whatever you can’t is a #hashtag! How is technology a force in your life? Do you always embrace it or try to limit its power? Finally, how do you imagine it will change in your lifetime?

Rather than a reminder of how technology connects people from far afield, exchanges on Facebook and Twitter remind me of just how rare it is for me to bridge wide social distances. Where do you get to interact with people who are different from you?

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