The Guideline for the post When writing your posts, it is best to follow essay structure (thesis, argument, paragraphs, transitions between paragraphs, in-text quotes, and conclusion.). .
1. The post should begin with a thesis statement, that includes the author’s name, the title of the novel, and a very short summary of the story. No more than 2-3 sentences. Add another sentence that will point out what, to your opinion or feeling, is the main point of the story.
2. Then write a long paragraph explaining the main point of the story, the main characters and anything important. I would like to encourage you to refer to personal experiences because they always add another dimension to the story and to your writing. To connect the personal and the literary is a gift.
3. Add QUOTES & IN-TEXT QUOTES: Every post should have 2-3 meaningful quotes to support your opinion.
Every quote should be accompanied by a. Citation b. a signal phrase that introduces the quote.
In-Text quotes: 2-3 word quote that you place in the middle of your sentence. Because the posts are fairly short, it is best to use in-text quotes, meaning, just the catchy and most memorable part of a quote, which you place within your own sentence. When the quote is too long, paraphrase the rest, use your own words instead of the author’s.
4. Add Signal Phrase: You must always introduce every quote with1. A signal phrase, 2. Quotation marks 3. Citing. For example: Signal phrase: Hawthorne claims that the discovery of electricity and other scientific inventions, often allowed “the love of science to rival the love of woman in its depth and absorbing energy,” (Howthorne p1) and in the case of Aylmer, the love of science was stronger than his love for his wife. The signal phrase is in bold. Notice that there is no break between the text and the quote. Never drop a quote like a dead body between two periods. Always introduce it and then add explanation, so that the quote is intertwined with your own text).
5. In-Text quote:
Aylmer looked at his almost perfectly beautiful wife and saw the birthmark on her cheek as a “mark of earthly imperfection” (Howthorne p2) and made up his mind to rid her of it.
The in-text quote becomes part of your own sentence, marked by quotation marks and citation.
Keep quotes to one sentence or less. If you have a long quote, break it up with signal phrases and paraphrase, use your own words.
6. CITATION: Follow every quote with a citation, which includes only two items: author’s name and page #; for example: (Camus 27)
7. Very important: CONCLUSION: Write about events from your own life, or from that of your family and friends, that are relevant, and shed contemporary light, on the story we read. End your conclusion with a meaningful, even provocative, question. The idea is that the question will start a discussion with the students who comment on your post.
Checklist for writing a good post:
1. Does your first paragraph include a thesis statement, the author’s name, the title of the book, and 1-3 sentences introducing the story and its main point? (Remember to place quotation marks on the titles of short stories (for example: “The Lottery”).
2. Have you observed carefully and in detail the character’s behavior? Can you offer some insight to his behavior?
3. Have you offered 2-3 strong quotes to support your opinion?
4. Do you introduce each quote with a signal phrase and end it with a citation?
5. Upgrade your writing: check for: a. Tense should be always PRESENT when writing about literature; b. Vary your sentence beginnings; c. Check for run-on, fragment, agreement and apostrophes errors. Suggestion: You can always google any of the above terms to find out more about them, or check in “Rules for Writers”, and thus enhance your writing and your grade.
6. Have you concluded with personal experience relevant to the story? And have you ended the conclusion with a question?
The above guideline should apply to this the following question and article:
What effect have all the electronic devices you use in place of communicating face to face - such as cell phones, facebook, internet, iPads, iphone, etc’ ??" on your personal relationships with family, friends, and classmates? How many of those devices do you use daily? Time yourself and check how much time do you spend every day using all these electronic devices? Do they enhance intimacy and closeness or do they inhibit or even prevent them? Describe in detail, bring examples from your own experience. The young generation has been called “the Facebook generation”* and “the YouTube”* generation. On the first page of the NYT (Jan 25, 2011) there is an article about live, Web-streaming funerals meant “to replace a communal human experience”* with a solitary digital one”: what was once “an important family rite”* becomes a remote digital one (NYT, Jan 25, 2011, p1). Is Sherry Turkle, a well-known professor at M.I.T, right when she claims that we are “Alone Together” and that “we expect more from technology and less from each other”*?
( * Examine my “in-text” quotes - very short phrase quoted within your own sentence - and my citing. You’ll need to do the same in every post and paper.)
The article: "We, Robots" a Review of Sherry Turkle's book "Alone Together"
By JONAH LEHRER
Published: January 21, 2011
In 1995, Sherry Turkle, a professor of the “social studies of science” at M.I.T., published a book about identity in the digital age called “Life on the Screen.” It was a mostly optimistic account, as Turkle celebrated the freedom of online identity. Instead of being constrained by the responsibilities of real life, Turkle argued, people were using the Web to experiment, trying on personalities like pieces of clothing. As one online user told her, “You are who you pretend to be.”
In Turkle’s latest book, “Alone Together,” this optimism is long gone. If the Internet of 1995 was a postmodern playhouse, allowing individuals to engage in unbridled expression, Turkle describes it today as a corporate trap, a ball and chain that keeps us tethered to the tiny screens of our cellphones, tapping out trite messages to stay in touch. She summarizes her new view of things with typical eloquence: “We expect more from technology and less from each other.”
“Alone Together” is really two separate books. The first half is about social robots, those sci-fi androids that promise (one day) to sweep the kitchen floor, take care of our aging parents and provide us with reliable companionship. As always, though, she’s less interested in the machines than in our relationships with them. Turkle begins with the troubling observation that we often seek out robots as a solution to our own imperfections, as an easy substitute for the difficulty of dealing with others.
Just look at Roxxxy, a $3,000 talking sex robot that comes preloaded with six different girlfriend personalities, from Frigid Farrah to Young Yoko. On the one hand, it’s hard to argue with the kind of desperate loneliness that would lead someone to buy a life-size plastic gadget with three “inputs.” And yet, as Turkle argues, Roxxxy is emblematic of a larger danger, in which the prevalence of robots makes us unwilling to put in the work required by real human relationships. “Dependence on a robot presents itself as risk free,” Turkle writes. “But when one becomes accustomed to ‘companionship’ without demands, life with people may seem overwhelming.” A blind date can be a fraught proposition when there’s a robot at home that knows exactly what we need. And all she needs is a power outlet.
The reason robots are such a slippery slope, according to Turkle, is that they take advantage of a deeply human instinct. When it comes to the perception of other minds, we are extremely gullible, bestowing agency on even the most inanimate of objects. After children spend a few minutes playing with a Tamagotchi ??" a wildly popular “digital pet” ??" they begin to empathize with the “needs” and “feelings” of the plastic device. And it’s not just little kids: Turkle describes the behavior of Edna, an 82-year-old who is given a robotic doll called My Real Baby during a visit with her 2-year-old great-granddaughter. When Edna is asked if the doll is alive, she scoffs at the absurdity of the question. But then the doll starts to cry. Edna cradles the robot in her arms and gently caresses its face. “Oh, why are you crying?” she asks the robot. “Do you want to sit up?” When her great-granddaughter starts whining, Turkle reports, Edna ignores her.
After exploring the often disturbing world of social robots ??" we treat these objects like people ??" Turkle abruptly pivots to the online world, in which we have “invented ways of being with people that turn them into something close to objects.” She rejects the thesis she embraced 15 years earlier, as she notes that the online world is no longer a space of freedom and reinvention. Instead, we have been trapped by Facebook profiles and Google cache, in which verbs like “delete” and “erase” are mostly metaphorical. Turkle quotes one high school senior who laments the fact that everything he’s written online will always be around, preserved by some omniscient Silicon Valley server. “You can never escape what you did,” he says.
But Turkle isn’t just concerned with the problem of online identity. She seems most upset by the banalities of electronic interaction, as our range of expression is constrained by our gadgets and platforms. We aren’t “happy” anymore: we’re simply a semicolon followed by a parenthesis. Instead of talking on the phone, we send a text; instead of writing wistful letters, we edit our Tumblr blog. (Turkle cites one 23-year-old law student who objects when friends apologize online: “Saying you are sorry as your status . . . that is not an apology. That is saying ‘I’m sorry’ to Facebook.”) And yet, as Turkle notes, these trends show no sign of abating, as people increasingly gravitate toward technologies that allow us to interact while inattentive or absent. Our excuse is always the same ??" we’d love to talk, but there just isn’t time. Send us an e-mail. We’ll get back to you.
There is no easy reply to these critiques. The Internet is full of absurdities, from the booming economy of virtual worlds ??" a user recently paid $335,000 for land on a fictitious asteroid in Entropia Universe ??" to the mass retweeting of Justin Bieber
. It’s always fun to mock the stilted language of teenagers and lament the decline of letter writing. But these obvious objections shouldn’t obscure the real mystery: If the Internet is such an alienating force, then why can’t we escape it? If Facebook is so insufferable, then why do hundreds of millions of people check their page every day? Why did I just text my wife instead of calling her?
I certainly don’t expect Turkle to have all the answers, but her ethnographic portraits would have benefited from a more probing investigation of such questions. The teenagers she quotes complain about everything ??" phones, texting, e-mail, Skype. And yet, virtually none of them seem willing to turn off the digital spigot.
Perhaps this is because, despite our misgivings about the Internet, its effects on real-life relationships seem mostly positive, if minor. A 2007 study at Michigan State University involving 800 undergraduates, for instance, found that Facebook users had more social capital than abstainers, and that the site increased measures of “psychological well-being,” especially in those suffering from low self-esteem. Other studies have found that frequent blogging leads to increased levels of social support and integration and may serve as “the core of building intimate relationships.” One recurring theme to emerge from much of this research is that most people, at least so far, are primarily using the online world to enhance their offline relationships, not supplant them.
Needless to say, the portrait painted by these studies is very different from the one in Turkle’s fascinating, readable and one-sided book. We are so eager to take sides on technology, to describe the Web in utopian or dystopian terms, but maybe that’s the problem. In the end, it’s just another tool, an accessory that allows us to do what we’ve always done: interact with one other. The form of these interactions is always changing. But the conversation remains.
Jonah Lehrer’s most recent book is “How We Decide.”
A version of this review appeared in print on January 23, 2011, on page BR15 of the Sunday Book Review.
Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other. New York: Basic Books, 2011
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