LINKS AND CONNECTIVITY: From Blog To Book (ESSAYS 1)

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People in all age groups now find themselves the object of scorn and derision through message boards. This unfortunate byproduct can have dreadful repercussions for both bullies and the bullied. Finally, social media has become a distraction and decreased productivity.

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Students doing homework are likely to be pulled towards scouring social media to check on their friends. Rather than pursuing hobbies, people are more likely to spend time pursuing artificial relationships they established online. Social media has ultimately provided a source of addicting distraction that has turned the world into unproductive workers.

From Genius to Madness

Thus when all factors are considered, the presence of social media has simply brought about too many negative repercussions for people. It has replaced genuine relationships with impersonal interactions. It has introduced a new and almost unpunishable form of bullying. Also, it has become a distraction, turning people into unproductive workers.

The snowball effect of negative repercussions is astounding when examined in unison. The reading and the lecture are both about negative effects of social media. The reading states that three negative impacts of social media on the society are a false sense of connectedness, cyber-bullying, and decreased productivity. The lecture builds upon those same ideas to give a more comprehensive picture with three examples. First of all, according to the reading, one negative consequence of social media is that it destroys relationships.

Supporting this idea, the lecturer explains that people have begun to put more value on computer-based relationships rather than real life ones. He frames this idea as people losing touch with the real world, losing genuine relationships, and social skills. Secondly, the reading states that another negative consequence of social media is cyber-bullying. This is when someone uses the internet to tease or harass someone, oftentimes anonymously. The lecturer goes on the explain that according to a CBS report, 42 percent of young people have experienced cyber-bullying.

This high percentage indicates that social media has become a medium for cyber-bullying. Finally, the reading claims that social media is a huge distraction for people. Instead of doing work or homework, people use social media to distract them from their obligations. In support of this idea, the lecturer brings up the point that the decrease in work productivity due to the overuse of social media has cost some businesses billions of dollars in lost revenue. For instance, one study done by Morse showed that British industries lost 2.

In conclusion, the reading and lecture both discuss adverse impacts of the prevalence of social media on the society. The three main points made in the reading are effectively supported by the lecturer. Both variations could also ask you to state your personal opinion or your personal preference.

In your opinion, which source is more important? Compare these two attitudes. Which attitude do you agree with? Support your choice with specific examples. Some people believe that the best way of learning about life is by listening to the advice of family and friends. Other people believe that the best way of learning about life is through personal experience.

Compare the advantages of these two different ways of learning about life. Which do you think is preferable? Use specific examples to support your preference.

Connecting ideas

Here are examples of the second variation: Some young children spend a great amount of their time practicing sports. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer. A company has announced that it wishes to build a large factory near your community. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this new influence on your community. Do you support or oppose the factory? Explain your position. Compare aspects of two subjects. Compare the advantage and disadvantage of one subject. Introductory paragraph Gives an overview of comparison and your personal opinion if the question asks you.

Gives an overview of advantage and disadvantage and your personal opinion if the question asks you. Body paragraph A Compare and contrast both two subject in one aspect. Discuss the advantage of the subject. Body paragraph B Compare and contrast both two subject in another aspect. Discuss the disadvantage of the subject. Conclusion paragraph Give a summary of comparisons between two opinions and restate your personal opinion if the question asks you. Summarize the advantage and disadvantage, and include a reinstatement of your personal opinion if the question asks you.

As you can see, the major difference is how you write your two body paragraphs. There are four basic criteria on which your essay is evaluated. These four criteria are: How well you address the topic. How well you develop and support your ideas. How well you organize the essay and connect your ideas. How well you use the English language , including grammar, vocabulary, and writing conventions.

These four criteria are: How well you select important information from the lecture. How well you relate the lecture points to the reading points. How well you organize the essay and provide details How well you use the English language , including grammar, vocabulary, and writing conventions. To write well, first you need to read good essays so your brain has a database of good English structures and vocabulary you can use when writing.

That being said, we recommend that you read and learn from our sample essays as much as possible. When learning these sample essays, do not just memorize them, but study how a paragraph is formed with different sentence structures, what words are used, and what main ideas are included. The more you study, the more your writing skills will improve. The next time you write about a similar topic, you will be able to utilize them in your writing and add your own ideas.

If you are not a good writer, spend at least an hour a day practicing independent writing and integrated writing tasks. Spend some time brainstorming ideas for all independent writing essays. Complete our writing lessons to ensure you know what characteristics a high-scoring TOEFL essay should have. LCDs are certainly gentler on eyes than their predecessor, cathode-ray tubes CRT , but prolonged reading on glossy self-illuminated screens can cause eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision.

Such symptoms are so common among people who read on screens—affecting around 70 percent of people who work long hours in front of computers—that the American Optometric Association officially recognizes computer vision syndrome.


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In one of his experiments 72 volunteers completed the Higher Education Entrance Examination READ test—a minute, Swedish-language reading-comprehension exam consisting of multiple-choice questions about five texts averaging 1, words each. People who took the test on a computer scored lower and reported higher levels of stress and tiredness than people who completed it on paper. In another set of experiments 82 volunteers completed the READ test on computers, either as a paginated document or as a continuous piece of text. Afterward researchers assessed the students' attention and working memory, which is a collection of mental talents that allow people to temporarily store and manipulate information in their minds.

Volunteers had to quickly close a series of pop-up windows, for example, sort virtual cards or remember digits that flashed on a screen. Like many cognitive abilities, working memory is a finite resource that diminishes with exertion. Although people in both groups performed equally well on the READ test, those who had to scroll through the continuous text did not do as well on the attention and working-memory tests.

A study conducted at the University of Central Florida reached similar conclusions. Attitude adjustments An emerging collection of studies emphasizes that in addition to screens possibly taxing people's attention more than paper, people do not always bring as much mental effort to screens in the first place. Subconsciously, many people may think of reading on a computer or tablet as a less serious affair than reading on paper.

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Based on a detailed survey of people in northern California, Ziming Liu of San Jose State University concluded that people reading on screens take a lot of shortcuts—they spend more time browsing, scanning and hunting for keywords compared with people reading on paper, and are more likely to read a document once, and only once. When reading on screens, people seem less inclined to engage in what psychologists call metacognitive learning regulation—strategies such as setting specific goals, rereading difficult sections and checking how much one has understood along the way.

In a experiment at the Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, college students took multiple-choice exams about expository texts either on computers or on paper. Researchers limited half the volunteers to a meager seven minutes of study time; the other half could review the text for as long as they liked. When under pressure to read quickly, students using computers and paper performed equally well. When managing their own study time, however, volunteers using paper scored about 10 percentage points higher. Presumably, students using paper approached the exam with a more studious frame of mind than their screen-reading peers, and more effectively directed their attention and working memory.

Perhaps, then, any discrepancies in reading comprehension between paper and screens will shrink as people's attitudes continue to change. The star of "A Magazine Is an iPad That Does Not Work" is three-and-a-half years old today and no longer interacts with paper magazines as though they were touchscreens, her father says.

Perhaps she and her peers will grow up without the subtle bias against screens that seems to lurk in the minds of older generations. In current research for Microsoft, Sellen has learned that many people do not feel much ownership of e-books because of their impermanence and intangibility: "They think of using an e-book, not owning an e-book," she says. Participants in her studies say that when they really like an electronic book, they go out and get the paper version.

This reminds Sellen of people's early opinions of digital music, which she has also studied. Despite initial resistance, people love curating, organizing and sharing digital music today. Attitudes toward e-books may transition in a similar way, especially if e-readers and tablets allow more sharing and social interaction than they currently do.

Books on the Kindle can only be loaned once , for example. To date, many engineers, designers and user-interface experts have worked hard to make reading on an e-reader or tablet as close to reading on paper as possible. E-ink resembles chemical ink and the simple layout of the Kindle's screen looks like a page in a paperback. Likewise, Apple's iBooks attempts to simulate the overall aesthetic of paper books, including somewhat realistic page-turning.

When using their interface, one can see the many individual pages one has read on the left side of the tablet and all the unread pages on the right side, as if holding a paperback in one's hands. A reader can also flip bundles of pages at a time with a flick of a finger. But why, one could ask, are we working so hard to make reading with new technologies like tablets and e-readers so similar to the experience of reading on the very ancient technology that is paper? Why not keep paper and evolve screen-based reading into something else entirely?

Screens obviously offer readers experiences that paper cannot. Scrolling may not be the ideal way to navigate a text as long and dense as Moby Dick , but the New York Times , Washington Post , ESPN and other media outlets have created beautiful, highly visual articles that depend entirely on scrolling and could not appear in print in the same way.

Some Web comics and infographics turn scrolling into a strength rather than a weakness. Similarly, Robin Sloan has pioneered the tap essay for mobile devices. The immensely popular interactive Scale of the Universe tool could not have been made on paper in any practical way. New e-publishing companies like Atavist offer tablet readers long-form journalism with embedded interactive graphics, maps, timelines, animations and sound tracks. And some writers are pairing up with computer programmers to produce ever more sophisticated interactive fiction and nonfiction in which one's choices determine what one reads, hears and sees next.

When it comes to intensively reading long pieces of plain text, paper and ink may still have the advantage. But text is not the only way to read. Ferris Jabr is a contributing writer for Scientific American. You have free article s left. Already a subscriber? Sign in. See Subscription Options. It's also why we built end-to-end encryption into WhatsApp after we acquired it.

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In the last year, I've spoken with dissidents who've told me encryption is the reason they are free, or even alive. Governments often make unlawful demands for data, and while we push back and fight these requests in court, there's always a risk we'll lose a case -- and if the information isn't encrypted we'd either have to turn over the data or risk our employees being arrested if we failed to comply.

This may seem extreme, but we've had a case where one of our employees was actually jailed for not providing access to someone's private information even though we couldn't access it since it was encrypted. At the same time, there are real safety concerns to address before we can implement end-to-end encryption across all of our messaging services. Encryption is a powerful tool for privacy, but that includes the privacy of people doing bad things. When billions of people use a service to connect, some of them are going to misuse it for truly terrible things like child exploitation, terrorism, and extortion.

We have a responsibility to work with law enforcement and to help prevent these wherever we can. We are working to improve our ability to identify and stop bad actors across our apps by detecting patterns of activity or through other means, even when we can't see the content of the messages, and we will continue to invest in this work.

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But we face an inherent tradeoff because we will never find all of the potential harm we do today when our security systems can see the messages themselves. Finding the right ways to protect both privacy and safety is something societies have historically grappled with. There are still many open questions here and we'll consult with safety experts, law enforcement and governments on the best ways to implement safety measures. We'll also need to work together with other platforms to make sure that as an industry we get this right. The more we can create a common approach, the better.

On balance, I believe working towards implementing end-to-end encryption for all private communications is the right thing to do. Messages and calls are some of the most sensitive private conversations people have, and in a world of increasing cyber security threats and heavy-handed government intervention in many countries, people want us to take the extra step to secure their most private data. That seems right to me, as long as we take the time to build the appropriate safety systems that stop bad actors as much as we possibly can within the limits of an encrypted service.

We've started working on these safety systems building on the work we've done in WhatsApp, and we'll discuss them with experts through and beyond before fully implementing end-to-end encryption. As we learn more from those experts, we'll finalize how to roll out these systems. We increasingly believe it's important to keep information around for shorter periods of time. People want to know that what they share won't come back to hurt them later, and reducing the length of time their information is stored and accessible will help. One challenge in building social tools is the "permanence problem".

As we build up large collections of messages and photos over time, they can become a liability as well as an asset. For example, many people who have been on Facebook for a long time have photos from when they were younger that could be embarrassing. But people also really love keeping a record of their lives. And if all posts on Facebook and Instagram disappeared, people would lose access to a lot of valuable knowledge and experiences others have shared.

I believe there's an opportunity to set a new standard for private communication platforms -- where content automatically expires or is archived over time.

Stories already expire after 24 hours unless you archive them, and that gives people the comfort to share more naturally. This philosophy could be extended to all private content.

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For example, messages could be deleted after a month or a year by default. This would reduce the risk of your messages resurfacing and embarrassing you later. Of course you'd have the ability to change the timeframe or turn off auto-deletion for your threads if you wanted. And we could also provide an option for you to set individual messages to expire after a few seconds or minutes if you wanted.

It also makes sense to limit the amount of time we store messaging metadata. We use this data to run our spam and safety systems, but we don't always need to keep it around for a long time. An important part of the solution is to collect less personal data in the first place, which is the way WhatsApp was built from the outset. People want to be able to choose which service they use to communicate with people.

However, today if you want to message people on Facebook you have to use Messenger, on Instagram you have to use Direct, and on WhatsApp you have to use WhatsApp. We want to give people a choice so they can reach their friends across these networks from whichever app they prefer. We plan to start by making it possible for you to send messages to your contacts using any of our services, and then to extend that interoperability to SMS too. Of course, this would be opt-in and you will be able to keep your accounts separate if you'd like.

There are privacy and security advantages to interoperability. Those texts can't be end-to-end encrypted because the SMS protocol is not encrypted. With the ability to message across our services, however, you'd be able to send an encrypted message to someone's phone number in WhatsApp from Messenger. This could also improve convenience in many experiences where people use Facebook or Instagram as their social network and WhatsApp as their preferred messaging service.

For example, lots of people selling items on Marketplace list their phone number so people can message them about buying it. That's not ideal, because you're giving strangers your phone number.

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With interoperability, you'd be able to use WhatsApp to receive messages sent to your Facebook account without sharing your phone number -- and the buyer wouldn't have to worry about whether you prefer to be messaged on one network or the other.

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