The purpose of this paper is to have you use your budding consciousness in the area of communication studies. Specifically, I want you to apply it to your everyday world. Rather than taking notes from books in the library, I want you to observe, analyze, and think critically about the world around you. You will be graded on how well you make an argument. Be sure to support your argument with facts, examples, and details. You do not have to answer all the different parts of the questions as these are just suggestions for you to get at the basic topic. You do not have to use concepts learned in class. Use these only if they help you make your argument. You MUST choose one of the following four topics:
The use of cell phones in public. It’s common to see people looking at their phones on the bus, in class, walking, in the middle of conversations, at dinner. Examine the use of cell phones during meals. What does the use of a cell-phone during a meal communicate? How does it impact our engagement with others? How does it feel to have someone use his/her phone in front of you at a meal instead of engaging face-to-face with you? Spend a week NOT using your cell phone at meal time and observe your experiences and those around you. If you usually use your phone at mealtime, how is your experience different? How many people are using phones in the restaurants or dining halls in which you are eating? Are they alone or with others? What does this say about those people, if anything? After your experience, how have your feelings towards cell phone use during meals changed, if at all? Present an argument about the use of cell phones at meals.
Wealth, access, and technology. Write a paper analyzing the use of laptops, smartphones, and other high-priced communication technology in public places. How do these tools or gadgets function as signifiers (sending messages to others about who you are)? How and what does our use of these expensive objects communicate to the outside world? Do the use, meaning, and valuation over these devices differ among people in different groups (age, race/ethnicity, gender, etc.)? Present an argument on the use of expensive communication technology in public.
Age, respect, and communication. How do you communicate respect to the elders in your life? What verbal and non-verbal techniques are appropriate? What do elders expect of you and are you comfortable with those expectations? What types of information can you share, or what must you withhold? Are there important cultural rules that guide you? Write a paper analyzing how you communicate respect to the elders in your life.
OkCupid, Happn, Coffee Meets Bagel, Bumble, Tinder. How have dating apps changed the way that we meet potential dating partners? Arrange to meet at least three people through dating apps. Compare your experiences with those in which you met potential partners in the old-fashioned, face-to-face manner. What are the major differences? What are the differences in the use of verbal and non-verbal communication? Which is easier and why? Which is more convenient? With which are you more comfortable? How does success vary with the two modes? What are the pros and cons of each approach? Present an argument comparing meeting potential dating partners with the two methods.
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