Texting and social media have changed the way many people communicate. Most of us have experienced situations where we have tried to speak with another person only to realize that the other person is absorbed in a texting or social media conversation. As we saw in the module notes, many people, especially in younger demographics, say that they prefer text messaging to speaking via phone or even face to face. Still others endanger their lives texting while driving. A majority of smartphone users sleep with their device within arm’s reach, and some studies find that smartphone users are missing sleep to get up and text in the middle of the night or check their social media feeds.
Discussion Questions
After reading Lee et al.’s (2011) article on social media and quality of life, answer the following questions.  This activity aligns with module outcome 1.

Identify at least two ways social media or text messaging have changed communication. Have these changes made social relationships stronger or weaker? Why?
Using evidence from Martončik and Lokša, Tyminski, and your own research, why would some people prefer virtual communication to real life communication? Explain your response.
What makes text messaging and social media so attractive? Can people become addicted to texting or to social media? Why or why not? 


One of the major claims for new media is that it helps to bring people together across boundaries, but as we saw in Sherry Turkle’s TED Talk, there is also a case to make that new media leaves people more isolated than in the past and less willing to engage in face-to-face communication. By contrast, Baym is much more optimistic about the benefits of mediated communication to help individuals find and participate in communities of interest.
Discussion Questions
After reviewing Turkle’s TED Talk and Lee et al.’s article on virtual communication and quality of life, answer the following questions. This activity aligns with module outcome 2.

Is new media, on the whole, encouraging greater connection between individuals or isolating individuals?  Defend your position by using evidence from at least two of the following–Baym, Turkle, Lee et al., Martončik and Lokša, and/or Tyminski.
Explain whether mediated communication can provide as satisfying a social experience as face-to-face communication.
Why might some people have a positive experience connecting to other people online while others have a more negative experience, or might prefer real world communication? Which do you prefer and why?