12 July 2018
AP Seminar Summer Assignment 2018
Research Question #2: Technology and How It Affects Society
Source #2 Citation: Gambino, Megan; Hampton, Keith. How Technology Makes Us Better Social Beings. Smithsonianmag.com. 10 Jul 2011. Web. Accessed 25 Jun. 2018. URL:
What lense(s) does the author view this issue through? (cultural/social, environmental, scientific, economic, political/historical, artistic/philosophical, futuristic, ethical). How do you know?
The author views this argument primarily through a cultural / social lens. He focuses his argument principally on how social media has changed our lives and society. He asserts that it has changed how we interact, claiming that, because the internet is available to almost every person across the globe, spanning almost every region of the world, and with this nearly unrestrained influence and human grasp, social media is connecting more people each and every day. The author emphasizes that since the inception of the myriad of social media avenues and technological advances over the past two decades, technology has completely altered our culture. Through channeling his argument almost singly through a cultural / social lens, this author stays laser focused on convincing his audience in a compelling manner. The author provides a detailed and coherent case, substantiating his position with logic and statistics to demonstrate how technology is spanning all ages and all generations, thereby changing how society interacts, relates and even transacts with one another.
2. What is the authors main argument? (subject + perspective). How do you know?
The author believes technology and social media affect our lives in very positive ways, and his main argument is that, despite opposing opinions, technology connects us and brings us together as a society and as a people. The author focuses mostly on social media to exemplify his point. He alleges that, with the preponderance of our utilization of social media and other functions of the internet, all of which afford the opportunity for us to communicate with others broadly and frequently, it transports us out of seclusion and loneliness. He believes that, without todays technology and social media, many of us would live in isolation, resolved to stay more frequently in our homes rather than venturing out amongst other members of society. He asserts that with the possibilities provided through social media and technology, we live now as if we were sitting in a coffee shop or diner interacting with others for several hours every day.
The author also stresses that social media and various internet forums gives people a valuable opportunity to share information and have discussions about matters of importance. Some of those discussions might involve, politics, community or civic matters, historical topics, or even more light-hearted topics of import to some, such as sports or special hobbies. Whatever the topic, the author feels this provides opportunity for learning and engaging other humans, and by being able to engage with people all over the world, he believes this closes the gap of diversity and culture and makes us all neighbors which, our author asserts, becomes a very positive influence in our lives.
3.What specific reasoning does the author use to support this argument? Is it logical?
Our author performed extensive surveys and discovered that people who regularly use social media sites actually claim to have closer relationships with family and friends. He also states that those same people are more likely to be heavily involved in civic and political activities, which, he claims, promotes a healthier lifestyle. While the author noted that surfing the internet or using social media can become addictive, he asserts that it is a good addiction to have. He states that users of the internet are more likely to trust others and be more open to interacting with more people than those who interact less frequently through technology or social media.
To further substantiate his argument, the author tells the story of a very busy family of five that maintains several internet blogs and Twitter account posts incessantly. He discloses to the reader that they are a very connected family, in terms of both technology and many more traditional ways. As one example, this family has dinner together five nights a week. They also integrate social media into their everyday lives, allowing each of them to keep up, minute by minute, day by day, with what the others are all doing, when they are not in the same physical location. Our author alleges that such routines provide for healthier family and societal relationships. Our author cites no adverse side effects or impacts from nearly constant social media or internet use.
4.What is the quality of the evidence provided? (unbiased, credible, connected to claims, recent publication).
The author uses many surveys, statistical data and illustrative graphs to support the argument that social media and current technology are having a positive influence on society today. He articulates how technology is spanning all demographics and connecting countless numbers of people today. He cites data specifically from a particular study, illustrating how social media has become an integral part of many families daily lives and postulates that, in so doing, it is bringing them closer and more connected than if such technological advancements did not exist. The evidence provided is credible, because it is based on statistical data, graphical illustrations and survey results. However, while the sources utilized to back up his position are credible, there is no information included to support any opposing view. The author is not concerned with entertaining any notion that technology or social media might not be a completely positive impact or influence on our lives, as human beings.
5.How strong would you judge this overall argument to be, especially in comparison to the others?
The argument proffered by this author, in support of the impact of technology on society today, was sensible and well-articulated. However, I did not find it to be as strong as the third source analyzed in consideration of this Issue. In consideration of all sources researched, I would assert that this argument has some merit and influences the reader to carefully consider the data provided, but it is not a highly formidable argument, as there is only one side of the position offered for ones consideration. I agree with our author that there are some positive benefits to the technological advancements and the connections through social media that our society enjoys. However, I cannot agree that there are no adverse nor negative impacts on any aspect of our lives, when so much of our lives are affected by technology.
We all can agree that technology has changed our lives and the world. It indeed has many beneficial uses. It has had positive impacts on speed of message delivery, on education and learning, on agriculture on transportation, and a myriad of other industries, almost none of which our author addresses. He is almost singularly solely focused on social media when he claims technologys positive impacts. I would acknowledge, as our author states, that technology and social media has helped us meet new friends, connect with friends or loved ones we had lost contact with previously, or strength relationships by keeping in close touch, but we have to acknowledge that there are more impacts than just social, and there are more than just positive impacts from the pervasive use of technology.
Without much deliberation, we can easily see that technology has opened up global opportunity for identity theft, internet stalking and lack of privacy, computer viruses and hacking, physical laziness, lack of imagination in young children, and difficulty in developing social skills that were once intrinsic when people always interacted face to face, rather than over a computer or digital device.
This author, while providing a respectable amount of evidence to support his claim, the focus was far too narrow to award this author the commendation of having the winning argument. In order to be the victor, this author must open the aperture, remove his horse blinders and take a broader view.