“Most teens aren’t addicted to social media; if anything, they’re addicted to each other.” Author Danah Boyd makes this claim in one of the three books reviewed by Gautam Malkani in a February 2014 issue of Financial Times.
1. Malkani’s review compares three new books that take different approaches to the same topic—the role of social media in shaping our lives. Two of the books focus specifically on young people. Which of the three books sounds the most interesting to you? Why? What might you hope to learn by reading it? (If none of the books interest you, explain why not.)
2. Author Danah Boyd, as Malkani notes, argues that young people rely so heavily on gadgets and social media because they have been deprived of the opportunities for unstructured “f2f” contact that previous generations enjoyed. She claims that teens are not addicted to social media but rather to each other. How plausible are these assertions to you? Base your response on your own experience of socializing as a teenager (whether that experience is recent or more distant).
3. Malkani concludes with the observation that teens (along with the rest of us) and technology “are increasingly being configured by a commercial imperative to turn users into readily sellable data.” That is, companies are collecting information on user activity and using that information to better place ads and market products. Are you alarmed about your wired activity being turned into “sellable data” for commercial purposes? Why or why not? Write an essay responding to those questions, reflecting on the role of media and advertising in shaping your choices and decisions.