domingo, 26 de setembro de 2010

LEITURA: Opinion Essay: Facebook – Friend or Foe?


Facebook is undoubtedly the best-known social networking website at the moment. Millions of people worldwide regularly use it to meet their friends online. They send messages, upload private pictures and tell their friends what they feel like via mood messages. However, more and more journalists and media experts are warning of the dangers of Facebook. Does Facebook improve our lives or is it the new version of “Big Brother”?
Despite all the criticism, using Facebook certainly has many advantages. Firstly, it is a free website. That means that nobody has to pay for using it and everybody can join it. The terms of use guarantee this free service. Compared to other websites, Facebook is more trustable and safer, because it is one of the most famous social networking website. 
Secondly, Facebook enables you to stay in contact with other people. Users can quickly send messages, exchange an unlimited amount of pictures and can easily connect to people they have not seen for a long time. In addition to that, it does not matter if these people live far away or just around the corner. Everybody can be contacted within a few seconds.
Thirdly, everybody can decide individually how much he or she wants to tell about him or herself. By adjusting the privacy settings, users can decide who can read which details about themselves.
These are certainly highly positive sides about Facebook. However, using Facebook also has disadvantages. Firstly, its services are not as free as they seem to be. On the one hand, people don’t have to pay with money, as was stated above. But on the other hand, they pay with their personal data. All data are stored and used by Facebook for advertising. Every user gets to see the most suitable advertisements for him or her, when he or she opens the website. Furthermore, no one knows if the users’ data are really safe. It is not an Austrian or even European website. Consequently, there is no guarantee that personal data are not sold. No one knows who can actually see the information about him or herself.
Secondly, many people get lost in their virtual reality. Instead of meeting their friends in person, they sit in front of their computers. Using websites like Facebook is highly addictive. Thus many users are spending more and more time online and consequently lose their real life contacts. I think it is much better to meet up with your friends outside and talk with them than to chat via the Internet. 
Above all, there is no guarantee that someone is the person he or she pretends to be. Everybody can sign up and take up any identity he or she wants to have. Thus it can be a dangerous place especially for younger users who often forget that they should not trust everybody.   
All things considered, it has to be said that every Facebook user should be aware of its dangers. Although it has many advantages, such as easy and quick communication, it should be used with care and a certain amount of healthy suspicion. In my opinion it is not as safe as everybody says and unfortunately many people seem to forget that.
Task 1: Find the underlying structure of this essay. What is the idea of each paragraph? Why is structure in general important?
Task 2: Underline all words that are useful for structuring an essay and that link ideas.
Animals are no human beings. However, they have feelings.

I like websites such as Facebook.

Firstly, the Internet is a dangerous place. /Secondly,…  / Thirdly,…

Although many people buy it, it is not a good car.

On the one hand, you’re right. But on the other hand, …

Despite all problems, we should not forget that..      (despite + noun!)

It is a great city. In addition to that, it is a safe place.

Compared to London, Vienna is cheap. 

Everything is more expensive. Consequently, people buy less. 

It is not right to do it. Thus we cannot ignore it.

All in all, you are right. 

All things considered, I can recommend this book.

Above all, it is a crime to steal things.

Task 3: Try to guess the meaning of the following linking words in their contexts and write it down.

Task 4: Fill in the correct linking device.
despite – all things considered - compared to – above all – although –
however – consequently – thus – all in all – such as

  1. ……………………..…….. your ex-boyfriend Jim, Luke is a real gentleman.
  2. ……………………….…….. all the hard-work, I really love my job.
  3. I have to work a lot. …………………………., I really love my job, so I want to keep it.  
  4. Cigarettes are not healthy.   ………………………. we should stop smoking.  
  5. ………………………………….. I have to say that this computer improved my life.
  6. ………………………………….. I have to say that this computer improved my life. 
  7. This party didn’t talk about real problems.  …………………………… they didn’t get any votes.
  8. The country needs strong women ………………… Karen Winter.
  9. ………………..……. they have been together for 10 years, they don’t want to marry.

Task 5: Link these sentences using the new words you’ve just learned.
  1. This author only writes boring books. I don’t want to read his new novel. (thus)
  2. I love my wife. We sometimes have fights. (however)
  3. I don’t like reality TV. I don’t watch Big Brother.  (consequently)
  4. I have bad marks. I want to stay in this school. (despite + noun!)
  5. I like living in the city. I want to buy a house on the countryside. (although)    

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