Welcome to the Meredith College
Summer Reading Program
Please read the seven articles below and watch the video then answer the corresponding questions. Once you arrive on campus you will discuss these articles with your peers, faculty and staff members. Your classes might have related assignments. Enjoy your reading.
Clara Dollar, a college senior, describes the “consistently cool” girl she presented on Instagram and Facebook and the relationship that fizzled out when she couldn’t break out and be herself.
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has written a book called “Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell us About Who We Really Are.” In this opinion piece he writes that Google searches, rather than social media sites, can help us get to the heart of who we are, what we need, and what we desire in life.
Have you ever been drenched in an Ice Bucket Challenge? Or maybe you helped with the drenching. This kind of camera-friendly charity event seems to be perfect for social media. But does it really help? In this article New Yorker contributor James Surowiecki takes a look at the risks and benefits of public activism of this kind.
In this article Marc Bain summarizes recent research about the negative impact of social media on girls and young women. He notes that Instagram is the most harmful in terms of making girls and women feel anxious and depressed, mostly because users may be comparing themselves to images that have been manipulated into “perfection.” Not all of the news is bad, though, and Bain offers some suggestions for making social media less stressful.
“By relying on images, Instagram opens the door to change in a way that transcends language and age,” said Marne Levine, Instagram’s chief operating officer. “It is through that visual nature that people are able to be what might not have been obvious to them before.”
This article discusses the #body positive movement in social media and offers an optimistic response to the self-esteem issues that some experts are finding among social media users.
There has been a lot of talk recently about fake news, prompting us to question what to believe about the world around us. Professional journalists are committed to reporting objective facts, but in our complex world, is there any such thing as a single truth? In this New York Times article, Sapna Maheshwari helps us understand how fake news is made and distributed. Although this piece highlights a report about the Trump campaign, the topic of fake news goes beyond partisan politics.
After reading about fake news and some of the people who post it on social media, you may be wondering if any news can be trusted. Rest assured: there are news sources and other groups out there working to restore a sense of integrity to reporting. Here is a piece that outlines a few simple steps that you can try to weed out the worst of the fake news world.
This is a news story about two young men who have taken advantage of the Internet to sell sensational and often inaccurate news accounts of current events. The two “journalists” featured here come right from the pages of Huckleberry Finn (Remember the king and the duke?) or the playbook of circus founder P.T. Barnum, who once said “There’s a [fool] born every minute.” Take a look at the wild life of these men as they profit from our hunger for news that confirms our beliefs.
Helen Fisher is a biological anthropologist and senior research fellow at The Kinsey Institute and member of the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies at Rutgers University. She is also the chief scientific advisor to the dating site www.match.com and has written six books and numerous articles on the evolution of human love.
In this TED Talk, Fisher offers a scientific explanation for the human desire to find and commit to a mate. She argues that technology may be producing too much choice about potential partners and leading us to be overly cautious about committed relationships.
Watch: "Technology Hasn’t Changed Love: Here’s Why” (TED Talk)
1. In her TED talk Dr. Fisher locates the human drive for love deeply in our body chemistry. How does this perspective align with (or differ from) your understanding of romantic love?
2. How would you compare your generation’s approach to dating with your parents’ experience? (This is a great chance for a nice conversation.)
3. In what ways do you think technology helps us find compatible dating partners?
4. What problems have you observed with apps like Tinder and social media in general when it comes to meeting people and developing relationships?
Every day new research and writings on social media are published. Here are some additional articles and videos; we have aligned them with the four pillars of StrongPoints: Academic, Experiential, Financial and Career. Check back between now and August; we will add new topics as we find them. Most of the links are live and free on the Internet; they may change or redirect without notice.
Social media is receiving a lot of attention in the news. In addition to the StrongPoints links, here are some of the latest articles and videos on the topic. We will post new articles as they are published.
Monday, August 28th, 10:00am Small group discussions
Wednesday, September 6th, 7:00 p.m. SRP Speaker Michael Vaughn How Social Media Changes Us
Connected Service Project: Cell Phone/Electronics Drive to benefit InterAct
Students, Faculty and Staff have been participating in this common reading program for eighteen years.