analyzing Rhetorical Choices
1 On page 509, Watkins includes a table with lists of “Adjectives college stu- dents use to describe MySpace and Facebook.” Watkins could have easily presented this information in paragraph form; what is the effect of pre- senting it as two lists?
2. In the title of the chapter from which this selection is taken, “Digital Gates,” Watkins plays on the ideas of both “gated communities” and the “digital divide.” Look up both of these terms to be sure you understand the history behind them. Discuss how both of these terms help Watkins develop his point about the dynamics he sees in online culture, and in par- ticular in social networking.
Writing as a Reader: entering the Conversation of ideas
1. This chapter begins with an analysis of television screen entertainment, in Neil Postman’s essay, and concludes with Watkins’s analysis of the screen pastime of social networking. Compose an essay that places these authors in conversation to reflect on the similarities and differences you see in these early (1985) and recent (2009) media analyses. What can you con- clude about the direction we are headed? Feel free to draw on specific examples from screen culture to help you make your point.
CHAPTER 13 MEdiA STudiES
Both Watkins and Peggy McIntosh are interested in the many subtle ways assumptions about race and racial identity are built into everyday life. At first, the consequences of these assumptions may seem harmless, but they quickly add up over the course of a day, a week, a college experience, and a lifetime. Write an essay in which you use both authors’ insights to explain the significance you see in the way these assumptions work through every- day interchanges. What conclusions can you draw? Include examples from your own experiences, if you like.