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					           Муниципальное образовательное учреждение
           «Шахунская гимназия имени А.С. Пушкина»

  Исследовательская работа по английскому языку на тему:
“Социальные сети: дань моде или жизненная необходимость?”

                                              ученица 11 «А» класса
                                         гимназии им. А.С. Пушкина
                                                  Чиркина Виктория
                                             Научный руководитель:
                                       Держурина Елена Николаевна,
                                          учитель английского языка

                          г. Шахунья
                             2012 г.
Introduction ............................................................................................................... 3
1. Social Networking Service. General Information. Pros and Cons ..................... 5
1.1. What is a Social Networking Service? ............................................................ 5
1.2. Features ............................................................................................................ 6
1.3. Emerging trends ............................................................................................... 7
1.4. Social Networking Architecture .................................................................... 10
1.5. Why do people use social networks? ............................................................. 12
1.6. Advantages and disadvantages of social networking .................................... 14
1.7. Threats of Online Social Networks................................................................ 15
2. The most popular Social Networking Services in Russia ................................. 17
2.1. is Russia’s Largest Social Networking Site............................. 17
2.2. Odnoklassniki ................................................................................................ 18
2.3. Facebook ........................................................................................................ 19
3. My social virtual portrait .................................................................................. 21
4. Experiment “Three Days Without Social Networks” ....................................... 24
Conclusion ............................................................................................................... 29
Literature ................................................................................................................. 30

       Is it possible to live alone, without any communication? Last night I saw a
terrible nightmare … I was walking along the town and there were no people
around me. I had nobody to talk with. “What a desert, dead place!” I thought
trembling with fear. And how would my life change if that awful dream became
true? Oh, my God!
       The advent of the Internet has given rise to many forms of online sociality,
including e-mail,           Usenet,     instant messaging, blogging, and online
dating services. Among these, the technological phenomenon that has acquired the
greatest popularity in this 21st century is the Online Social Networks or Social
Networking Sites (SNSs). For the past few years, the number of participants of
such social networking services has been increasing at an incredible rate. These
Online Social Networks are the network spaces where the individuals are allowed
to share their thoughts, creative ideas, and also to form social communities. We
can’t imagine our life without the Internet and social networks.
       Social networks play an important role in my life. It makes communication
accessible, quick, easy and natural. However, information on these sites is not
always trustworthy; it can be used against you one day! As for my page, I try to
make it as closed as possible for unfamiliar people. Only my friends are allowed to
see all the personal data, pictures and videos.
       My social network including such tools as the Internet and the mobile is
based not only on new devices but on direct conversations. As a human, I can’t
help having a strong desire to communicate face-to-face! Why do I write SMS
messages? To make appointments! Why do you think I make a phone call to my
granny? To invite her to my birthday party! Can you guess why I talk to friends on
Skype? To decide where we could go out and chat! I believe people will always
tend towards eternal natural communication. And I’m not the exception.
       What is happening? Why do we entangle ourselves with virtual social
services? Can we live without communicating through social networks? Is it only a
modern fashionable entertainment or an obligatory ‘instrument’ of a good life
nowadays? Is it possible to build a “virtual house” – a house with its own relations
and people of different ages and backgrounds, and live there as well as in the real
world? Although it seems normal and out of surprise for the people living in the
21st century, sometimes social networks can become a hazard. What are the
reasons? These are the main questions my research work focuses on.

      The theme of my research work is “Social Networking Services: Tribute to
Fashion or Vital Necessity?”

      My hypothesis is the following:
    “Social Networking Services have stopped being the tribute to fashion, but
have recently become people’s vital necessity”.

       So, I plan to achieve the goal – to find out why people are so attached to
social networks and make sure if it is possible to live without virtual

   These tasks will help me achieve the goal of my research:

    to learn what a Social Networking Service is and what it was created for;
    to estimate Social Networking Services’ possibilities and attractions for
    to find out the difference between positive and negative effects of Social
     Networking Services;
    to find out people of what age groups use the services;
    to state the reason of using Social Services;
    to create my own ‘social virtual’ portrait;
    to find out if modern people can live without communicating in social
     networking sites.

   I am going to use the following methods:
    observation
    studying mass media (English and Russian newspapers and magazines)
    searching for information in the Internet
    interviewing people
    carrying out an experiment.

1. Social Networking Service. General Information. Pros and

             1.1. What is a Social Networking Service?
    A social networking service is an online service, platform, or site that
focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among
people, who, for example, share interests and/or activities and people with
similar or somewhat similar interests, backgrounds and/or activities make their
own communities. A social network service consists of a representation of each
user (often a profile), his/her social links, and a variety of additional services.
Most social network services are web-based and provide means for users to
interact over the Internet, such as e-mail and instant messaging. Online
community services are sometimes considered as a social network service,
though in a broader sense, social network service usually means an individual-
centered service whereas online community services are group-centered. Social
networking sites allow users to share ideas, activities, events, and interests
within their individual networks.
     The main types of social networking services are those that contain
category places (such as former school year or classmates), means to connect
with friends (usually with self-description pages), and a recommendation
system linked to trust.
      Another form of Social Network has been introduced by airlines that
allows passengers to meet others who share their interests before their flight so
that seating may be pre-arranged.
      There have been attempts to standardize these services to avoid the need to
duplicate entries of friends and interests (see the FOAF standard and the Open
Source Initiative).

                 A 2011 survey found that 47% of American adults
                               use a social network.

                                1.2. Features

                               Typical features

     Social networking sites (SNSs) share a variety of technical features. The
most basic of these are visible profiles with a list of "friends" who are also users
of the site. In an article entitled "Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and
Scholarship" profiles are described as unique pages where one can "type oneself
into being." A profile is generated from answers to questions, such as age,
location, interests, etc. Some sites allow users to upload pictures, add
multimedia content or modify the look and feel of the profile. Others, for
example, Facebook, allow users to enhance their profile by adding modules or
"Applications." Many sites allow users to post blog entries, search for others
with similar interests and compile and share lists of contacts. User profiles often
have a section dedicated to comments from friends and other users. To protect
user privacy, social networks typically have controls that allow users to choose
who can view their profile, contact them, add them to their list of contacts.

                             Additional features

     Some social networks have additional features, such as the ability to create
groups that share common interests or affiliations, upload or stream live videos,
and hold discussions in forums. Geosocial networking co-opts Internet mapping
services to organize user participation around geographic features and their
      There is a trend towards more interoperability between social networks led
by technologies such as OpenID and OpenSocial. Lately, mobile social
networking has become popular. In most mobile communities, mobile phone
users can now create their own profiles, make friends, participate in chat rooms,
create chat rooms, hold private conversations, share photos and videos, and
share blogs by using their mobile phone. Some companies provide wireless
services that allow their customers to build their own mobile community and
brand it; one of the most popular wireless services for social networking is
Facebook Mobile.

                         1.3. Emerging trends

                       Social networks and science

     One other use that is being discussed is the use of social networks in the
science communities. A group of scientists have published a study on how new
biotechnology firms are using social networking sites to share exchanges in
scientific knowledge. They state in their study that by sharing information and
knowledge with one another, they are able to "increase both their learning and
their flexibility in ways that would not be possible within a self-contained
hierarchical organization." Social networking is allowing scientific groups to
expand their knowledge base and share ideas, and without these new means of
communicating their theories might become "isolated and irrelevant".

                     Social networks and education

     Social networks are also being used by teachers and students as a
communication tool. As many students are already using a wide range of social
networking sites, teachers have begun to familiarize themselves with this trend
and are now using it to their advantage. Teachers and professors are doing
everything from creating chat-room forums and groups to extend classroom
discussion to posting assignments, tests and quizzes, to assisting with
homework outside of the classroom setting. Social networks are also being used
to foster teacher-parent communication. These sites make it possible and more
convenient for parents to ask questions and voice concerns without having to
meet face-to-face. The advent of social networking platforms may also be
impacting the way(s) in which learners engage with technology in general. For
a number of years, Prensky's (2001) dichotomy of Digital Natives and Digital
Immigrants has been considered a relatively accurate representation of the ease
with which people of different ages—in particular those born before and after
1980—use technology. Prensky's theory has been largely disproved not least on
account of the burgeoning popularity of social networking sites and other
metaphors such as Visitors and Residents (2011) are gaining greater currency.
The use of online social networks by libraries is also an increasingly prevalent
and growing tool that is being used to communicate with more potential library
users, as well as extending the services provided by individual libraries.

              Social networks and grassroots organizing

     Social networks are being used by activists as a means of low-cost
grassroots organizing. Extensive use of an array of social networking sites
enabled organizers of the 2009 National Equality March to mobilize an
estimated 200,000 participants to march on Washington with a cost savings of

up to 85% per participant over previous methods. The August 2011 England
riots were similarly considered to have escalated and been fuelled by this type
of grassroots organization.

                    Social networks and employment

      A final rise in social network use is being driven by college students using
the services to network with professionals for internship and job opportunities.
Many studies have been done on the effectiveness of networking online in a
college setting, and one notable one is by Phipps Arabie and Yoram Wind
published in Advances in Social Network Analysis.
      Many schools have implemented online alumni directories which serve as
makeshift social networks that current and former students can turn to for career
advice. However, these alumni directories tend to suffer from an oversupply of
advice-seekers and an undersupply of advice providers. One new social
networking service, Ask-a-peer, aims to solve this problem by enabling advice
seekers to offer modest compensation to advisers for their time.

                      Social network hosting service

      A social network hosting service is a web hosting service that specifically
hosts the user creation of web-based social networking services, alongside
related applications. Such services are also known as vertical social networks
due to the creation of SNSes that cater to specific user interests and niches; like
larger, interest-agnostic SNSes, such niche networking services may also
possess the ability to create increasingly niche groups of users. An example for
this is Ning.

                               Business model

     Few social networks currently charge money for membership. In part, this
may be because social networking is a relatively new service, and the value of
using them has not been firmly established in customers' minds. Companies
such as MySpace and Facebook sell online advertising on their site. Their
business model is based upon large membership count, and charging for
membership would be counterproductive. Some believe that the deeper
information that the sites have on each user will allow much better targeted
advertising than any other site can currently provide.

    Social networks operate under an autonomous business model, in which a
social network's members serve dual roles as both the suppliers and the
consumers of content. This is in contrast to a traditional business model, where
the suppliers and consumers are distinct agents. Revenue is typically gained in

the autonomous business model via advertisements, but subscription-based
revenue is possible when membership and content levels are sufficiently high.

                              Social Interaction

     Put simply, social networking is a way for one person to meet up with other
people on the Net. That's not all though. Some people use social networking
sites for meeting new friends on the Net. Another use it to find old friends.
Then there are those who use it to find people who have the same problems or
interests, this is called niche networking. Following this trend is the emerging
trend of people meeting online to meet offline. More and more relationships
and friendships are being formed online and then carried to an offline/in person
setting. Experts in relationships, such as the German psychologist Erich H.
Witte, say that relationships which start online are much more likely to succeed,
and he goes on to say that in less than 10 years, online dating will be the most
widely used way to get to know someone for a possible relationship. One such
popular site accredits that's 2% of all marriages start off its site which is equal
to 236 marriages a day. Other sites claim 1 in 5 relationships start online. Social
networking sites play a vital role in this area as well, being able to meet
someone as a "friend" and see what common interests you share and how they
have built up their friend base. You can truly see a more whole picture of the
person you are talking with and most sites are free instead of being pay based
which allows younger people with stricter budgets to enjoy some of the same

                1.4. Social Networking Architecture
    Social Networking has become very popular during the past few years.
Once signed onto a social network, having answered a few basic profile
questions, it is easy to sit back and wonder what you are supposed to do next.

    The easiest way to understand social networking is to think of it like high
school. You had friends in school, and you knew quite a few people even if you
weren't friends with all of them, but it's likely that you didn't know everyone.

    If you ever moved to a new school -- or if you can imagine moving to a
new school -- you start out with no friends. After attending classes, you start
meeting people, and as you meet them, you begin associating with those that
have similar interests.

     Getting started with social networking is much the same as starting at a
new school. At first, you don't have any friends. But as you join groups, you
begin to meet people, and you build a friends list of those with similar interests.

                             Social Networking Architecture

    Social networking is based on a certain structure that allows people to both
express their individuality and meet people with similar interests. This structure
includes having profiles, friends, blog posts, widgets, and usually something
unique to that particular social networking website -- such as the ability to 'poke'
people on Facebook or high-five someone on Hi5.

   Profile. This is where you tell the world about yourself. Profiles contain basic
      information, like where you live and how old you are, and personality
   questions, like who's your favorite actor and what's your favorite book. Social
  networks dedicated to a special theme like music or movies might ask questions
                               related to that theme.

                                                                      Groups. Most social networks
                                                                        use groups to help you find
                                                                       people with similar interests
     Friends. Friends are trusted members of the site that are          or engage in discussions on
  allowed to post comments on your profile or send you private        certain topics. A group can be
  messages. You can also keep tabs on how your friends are using      anything from "Johnson High
    social networking, such as when they post a new picture or         Class of '98" to "People Who
    update their profile. Friends are the heart and soul of social     Like Books" to "Doors Fans".
    networking. It should be noted that not all social networks           They are both a way to
       refer to them as 'friends' -- LinkedIn refers to them as          connect with like-minded
  'connections -- but all social networks have a way to designate      people and a way to identify
                        members as trusted.                             your interests. Sometimes,
                                                                        groups are called by other
                                                                      names, such as the 'networks'
                                                                               on Facebook.

   Discussions. A primary focus
                                      Blogs. Another feature of
        of groups is to create                                          Widgets. A popular way of
                                     some social networks is the
   interaction between users in                                       letting your personality shine
                                      ability to create your own
  the form of discussions. Most                                         through is by gracing your
                                      blog entries. While not as
    social networking websites                                        social networking profile with
                                    feature-rich as blog hosts like
  support discussion boards for                                         web widgets. Many social
                                       Wordpress or Blogger,
    the groups, and many also                                          networks allow a variety of
                                      blogging through a social
   allow members of the group                                          widgets, and you can usually
                                        network is perfect for
  to post pictures, music, video                                         find interesting widgets
                                     keeping people informed on
       clips, and other tidbits                                        located on widget galleries.
                                         what you are up to.
        related to the group.

                1.5. Why do people use social networks?

     Social Networking is a nice form of entertainment, great for meeting people
with similar interests, and can be a very effective business technique for
entrepreneurs, writers, actors, musicians or artists.

    Most of us have hobbies, or things that we are keenly interested in such as
books, television, video games or movies. Social networks allow us to reach out to
others that have the same interests.

     For example, if you like movies, Flixster can help you decide if you might
like a new movie just out at the theaters. If you like music, Last.FM can help you
find new artists that are similar to your favorite bands.

     Using the Internet with all kinds of purposes is very common today. With the
use of the Internet people are able to find various information, communicate with
other people and also find out what their friends have been doing lately. Actually,
accessing social networks is the first thing that many people do after opening their
personal computers. Accessing your Facebook account or checking out what your
friends have tweeted lately is something very common and, obviously, an
important part of your daily routine. There are all kinds of social networks that
people access daily and Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook are just some of
them, but they are surely the most popular ones.

                            14 310 000 users

                             7 750 000 users

                              616 000 users

     Almost every celebrity is on Twitter, sharing the latest news about their
projects, as well as various events in their personal lives. If you want to check out
the latest shares of Lady Gaga, Britney Spears or even Charlie Sheen, or whatever
other famous people you admire, logging on to Facebook is a must. On the other
hand, the two famous social networks are also great to use when you want to check
out some new information or you just want to see what your friends have been
doing lately. On Facebook you can also chat and send messages to your friends,
making the social network a very important communication tool. Anyway, beside
the social networks I have just mentioned, there are many others which people love
to access. For instance, business oriented social networks are also extremely
popular today. And Linkedin should definitely be mentioned.

     Business social networks are used by professionals from various domains to
find information in the fields in which they work, to get invitations to some new
events or simply to connect with and get to know some other people who work in
the same field. Business social networks are also used by people who are willing to
find a new job. Your profile can be viewed by managers from companies which
have the same domain of activity as the company you are working for, and you can
actually get a job offer without necessarily looking for one. Connecting and
communicating with other people, as well as being constantly informed about what
is new, are some of the most obvious reasons why people use social networks.
However, there can be many other purposes why people can find social networks
as extremely beneficial, including promoting different events or products and
improving a company’s image.

     Besides, there are different professional social networks. For instance,
networks connected with education, school and teachers. “Innovative Teachers
Network” is for those teachers who are interested in possibilities of education
quality improvement by means of modern technologies’ application.
unites not only teachers but students and their parents.

     You are never too old to get involved in social networking! There are plenty
of social networks to choose from, including niche social networks that focus on a
specific theme like TakePart, a network for social activism, and 43 Things, a social
network dedicated to goal setting.

      1.6. Advantages and disadvantages of social networking
     We all know how important communication has become since the Internet
invaded our lives, moreover, since then, social networks have developed
drastically. More and more people are using the Web and all kinds of social
networks platforms in order to keep in touch with their family, friends and
acquaintances, or just simply be up to date with worldwide information.
Obviously, the most used of the many social networks is Vkontakte. You do not
have a Vkontakte account? You do not exist! Yes, social networks are very popular
today, it is true that there are many advantages, but there can be some
disadvantages as well.

      Starting with the benefits of social networks, it enables us to be always in
contact with our long lost friends or meet a lot of new people according to common
interests. It is a great way of socializing and experiencing cultural exchanges.
Checking Vkontakte or Odnoklassniki account has become a part of the daily
routine for most of us. We sit in front of the computer and read the latest posts of
our friends, or favourite celebrities. Facebook has also become a powerful
communication tool, since you can even send email and instant text messages. The
great thing about these social networks is that they are good for both personal and
business use. Companies can use these platforms to promote their latest products or
just post the latest information in terms of job offers or training possibilities.

      As good as all these might sound, these social networks have also got
downside to it. Although used as a primary communication tool, these social
networks have serious negative consequences on a social level. The actual act of
face-to-face socializing and physical interacting with other people is getting rarer.
People would rather sit in the comfort of their own home than actually meet new
people or go out. This type of attitude can lead to isolation and problems regarding
the inadaptability in a social circle. Moreover, introducing your personal data on
such a platform may lead to hackers misusing the information to gain benefits of
their own.

             Be that as it may, social networks are an important part
             of our lives and let’s face the reality: we cannot live with
             them, we cannot live without them.

                1.7. Threats of Online Social Networks

                            Threats for people

                            in               Spear Phishing
                      Applications/            and Spam
                                                              Collection and
                                                               of personal

                                                                       Evil twin

                 Threats for companies and organizations

   • reputation management

  • corporate espionage

   • information leakage

    Ways to Safe Use of Online Social Networks

• set appropriate privacy defaults

• be careful with third-party applications/ widgets

• limit personal information, "The more info you share, the
  more vulnerable you are"

• only accept your friends' requests, connections from people
  you know directly

• only post information your mother is comfortable seeing

     2. The most popular Social Networking Services in Russia

   2.1. is Russia’s Largest Social Networking Site (“In touch” or “keeping contact” in Russian) is the biggest social
network in Russia (one out of three Internet users visits it every day – 30%). It
looks pretty much like Facebook, although with less functionality.

                Front page of the Russian social network Vkontakte

    Just like Facebook, Vkontakte users can create profiles with their content,
connect with friends, create and join groups. Groups have more or less the same
functionality as FB groups, i.e. publish links, posts, videos and photos on the wall.

    Just as FB group pages, Vkontakte group pages can be programmed, rebuilt
and optimized. With a good knowledge of Vkontakte internal programming
language one can develop subpages and navigation menus, add banners and links
to external websites etc. All in all, Vkontakte group can look rather proper.
Vkontakte also has similar to Facebook advertisement program with similar
targeting options.

                            2.2. Odnoklassniki (means “classmates” in Russian) is a popular social
media platform where people search for their classmates, colleagues and
university friends. One out of five Internet users visits it every day – 21%. The
search is organized by Name, Location, University / school name, Year of
graduation, Place and year or army service etc.

     Every person signing up creates a profile and can connect with friends,
publish photos, update status and join groups. Neither profiles nor group pages
are public (i.e. are not open for search engines). There is no such thing as a fan
page. There is no possibility to search for groups.

         Front page of the Russian social network

                                  2.3. Facebook
     Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February
2004. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a
personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including
automatic notifications when they update their profile. Additionally, users may join
common-interest user groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other
characteristics, and categorize their friends into lists such as "People From Work"
or "Close Friends". The name of the service stems from the colloquial name for the
book given to students at the start of the academic year by some university
administrations in the United States to help students get to know each other.
Facebook allows any users who declare themselves to be at least 13 years old to
become registered users of the site.
Facebook has affected the social life and activity of people in various ways. With
its availability on many mobile devices, Facebook allows users to continuously
stay in touch with friends, relatives and other acquaintances wherever they are in
the world, as long as there is access to the Internet. It has been known to reunite
lost family members and friends because of the widespread reach of its network.
One such reunion was between John Watson and the daughter he had been seeking
for 20 years. They met after Watson found her Facebook profile. Another father-
daughter reunion was between Tony Macnauton and Frances Simpson, who had
not seen each other for nearly 48 years.

     Some people argue that Facebook is beneficial to their social life because they
can continuously stay in contact with their friends and relatives, while others say
that it can cause increased antisocial tendencies because people are not directly
communicating with each other. Some studies have named Facebook as a source of
problems in relationships. Several news stories have suggested that using Facebook
can lead to higher instances of divorce and infidelity, but the claims have been
questioned by other commentators.

             Front page of the Russian social network

                          3. My social virtual portrait

                                        My name is Victoria Tchirkina. I’m 18
                                   years old. To tell the truth, I’m a many-sided
                                   person. I’m keen on mastering my English all
                                   the time. Besides, I’m interested in creating
                                   handmade exclusive things especially knitting.
                                   I have a lot of friends, as I’m a sociable easy-
                                   going person. And it’s very difficult for me to
                                   do without the Internet and its social networks.
                                   I need to communicate with somebody almost
                                   every day. The Internet is my irreplaceable
                                   helper and it has become an essential part of
                                   my life as well as my mobile. There is a plenty
                                   of useful and interesting information in my
                                   profiles, such as my favourite films, books, my
                                   photos, videos, audios, various notes. But only
                                   my friends are allowed to see it. I’m very
                                   careful in adding people to my friends’ list. It
                                   really irritates me when unfamiliar users want
                                   me to become their friend. It’s out of my rules
                                   as I take care of my safety. I’m sure that it’s
                                   easier to know me better in real life. My
                                   behavior is the same in these two worlds. But I
appreciate natural face-to face communication most of all! Some statistics related
to social networks and my web pages below will complete my social virtual

                                   Vkontakte                  Odnoklassniki
I have been using this site         935 days                    567 days
           I have                 457 friends                   73 friends
           I have                  805 photos                  163 photos
           I have                   39 videos                   no videos
     I have changed           more than 50 statuses            20 statuses
          I joined                 68 groups                     1 group
        I have sent             10087 messages                118 messages
        I have got               9127 messages                108 messages
         I can see            65-90 people online        4-12 people online every
                                   every day                       day


             Search     People        Games    Music
My friends

               My page in Vkontakte

My page in Odnoklassniki

        4. Experiment “Three Days Without Social Networks”
     Is it possible to live without social networks for three days? It seems to be a
fascinating experiment! I have planned it as a part of my research in order to find
out how a person deprived of the virtual communication feels and if his life gets
more successful. I have offered my friends to take part in this experiment. They
have accepted the conditions of the experiment and agreed to live three days
without social networking services. Finally, all of the participants have been asked
to share their impressions by answering these questions.

   1. What are your impressions?
   2. How have the days without social networks influenced your usual lifestyle?
      At school? At home?
   3. Was it difficult to keep in touch with other people?
   4. What have you gained and what have you lost?

Experiment’s conditions:
   You don’t use social networking sites in order to keep in touch with others
      for three days. Such ‘virtual areas’ as Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook
      and Skype are forbidden.
   You are not allowed to ask your friends to visit social sites instead of you.
   You use alternative means of communication including face-to-face
      communication, telephone calls, SMS messages.

Now let me share the results of my experiment.

Natasha, 17 years old

Day 1. I don’t use social networks, I wonder how I can communicate with my
friends now. OK, I can write them SMS, e-mails or simply keep in touch with them
directly. It’s good that I don’t have to use only Vkontakte, where I like to listen to
my favourite music and watch videos. Now I can surf the whole Internet.
Day 2. I understand that I’ve become calmer as I don’t see any spam,
advertisement or vulgar jokes. It always annoys me. And I try to communicate with
my friends by phone or face-to-face and I also try not to write them my messages,
but hear their voices and talk to them directly.
Day 3. Now I understand that I can live without social networks. I spend too much
time there and now I see that I can do a lot instead of this. Today there are a lot of
ways of communication, not only Vkontakte. And I can say that it wasn’t very
difficult to participate in this experiment.

Victoria, 18 years old

Day 1. I’m taking part in my own experiment. The aim is to live without social
networks. Will it be difficult for me? During the 1 st day I don’t care about visiting
Vlontakte or Odnoklassniki. I have much more free time. It can be spent on doing
something useful instead of sitting in front of the computer. I have to turn my
computer on to look for some information only for my Literature homework.
Day 2. It becomes difficult a bit to live without my accounts on social networks.
How can I communicate with my friends now? Without any doubt, I use my
mobile more often than usual. I write sms messages to make appointments. I make
phone calls to decide where my friends and I can go out and chat. On the other
hand, I’m happy with the fact that now I have enough time to visit somebody or
produce handmade exclusive things. Besides, I’m free enough to spend time with
my little sister. For example, we can go for a walk or watch cartoons together. She
is usually endlessly happy to be with me!
Day 3. I’m missing my VK page. How can I survive without it? I’m boring a bit.
But a good film seems to be a real solution to the problem. I download a new
American film “Homework” and watch it with great pleasure! I’m very satisfied
with these three days without social networks. At first I couldn’t imagine my life
out of Vkontakte, but it turned out to be not so impossible. Thanks to this
experiment I learnt how to organize my free time efficiently. I used to visit my
social pages every day only for 10-15 minutes just to check new messages. And
now I can do the same once in three days or may be even more.

Yulya, 17 years old

Is it possible to live 3 days without social networks? Asking this question I
honestly say that I can do without my accounts in the Net. It gives me a lot of
opportunities. I spend more time with my family and friends, do everything I'm
planning. Not sitting in the social networks I have more free time than I usually
have. As I have already said I managed to live 3 days and even more without social
networks, but sometimes I began to think about my pages in the Net and how I
could communicate with friends. By the way, I use social networks not only for
relaxing,but it became a necessity for me. There I have a possibility to study and
prepare for the state exams and lessons. Summing up, social network is a necessity
for our society.

Lyubov, 17 years old

Day1: I consider myself as a person independent from the Internet. So, during that
experiment I didn’t feel any changes, but I found more time for reading my books
and communicating with relatives and friends by face-to-face.
Day 2: The days without social networks didn’t influence my usual lifestyle. It
wasn’t difficult to keep in touch with other people because I’m a sociable girl.
What is more I had more time for my hobbies: knitting, embroidering, beading,
running, reading, swimming and so on...
Day 3: As a result, I think I don’t feel a vital necessity in social networks. As for
me, it is possible to live without social networks for three days and even more. But
I have lost some possibilities for example, communicating with relatives who live
far away, listening to music, sending quick massages and photos.
When I use alternative means of communication including face-to-face
communication, telephone calls, I can feel pleasure and optimism!

Artyom, 18 years old

In spite of the fact I usually spend a lot of time sitting in social networks, I can
easily live without it for some days. Everything I need is an interesting activity. I
sit in social networks as I don’t know what to do, I haven’t got any other activities.
I often listen to music, watch films and photographs. I also chat with my friends
and classmates. When I’m keen on something, I don’t think about the Internet at
all. But when I go home, I always work on the computer and spend time there
without any aim. As for me, to live 3 days without the Net if I have some
interesting activity isn’t a catastrophe, it’s a real relaxation. And I’m glad to have
an opportunity to distract from the Internet and not to sit in front of the computer.

Helen, 17 years old

Every person uses the Internet now. Some people use it for searching information,
others for communicating with relatives or friends. Some of us can’t imagine our
life without social networks. As for me, I usually enter the Internet in order to keep
in touch with friends, to watch interesting films or to find useful information to
prepare for my exams. Can I live without social networks for 3 days? I think that I
am able to do this. I used to spend most of my free time sitting on the computer.
But now I try to visit social networks more rarely as I understand its negative

Natalia, 14 years old

To tell the truth, the Internet plays an important role in my life. I can’t do without it
when I’m at home. In other words, I can’t avoid visiting the Net. There I’m able to
know all my friends’ news, text messages, see their photos. I have many friends
from different cities. And when my Skype is off, it’s impossible to keep in touch
with them. I also listen to my favourite music and share it with my friends.
Besides, I’m keen on watching films online. It’s easier for me to do it not leaving
my home and going to the cinema.
Can I live without social networks? I think I can’t. It will be a real tragedy if I
spend a day without entering the Internet and especially Vkontakte. Unfortunately,
I’m really addicted! The Internet has become an essential part of my life.
Irina, 24 years old

The idea of partaking in the experiment attracts me great. Still I’m not sure to resist
the temptation of visiting the social networking web sites during 3 days as it’s the
key connections with my friends and the outer space in tote. The only thing to do is
to log off the Internet access.
Day 1. This is going to be a tough job. I hope I can go the distance. I don’t enter
the room where my PC is located. All my spare time is for my family only. Still I
need to resist my solid grounds for visiting the accounts on social networks. My
telephone is keeping silence. My husband is on top of the world. We go to bed at
10 p.m. All night I had insomnia.
Day 2. I get nervous. I feel myself quite alone. I feel I’m a net-addict needing a
dose. My baby doesn’t let me hang on the phone and Vkontakte or Odnoklassniki
is the way out of the situation as I can answer my messages as soon as I have time
to turn around. I want to download a new song, a cartoon for my baby, to look
through my friends’ holiday picture spread. Still I’m clinging like grim death.
Day 3. It's hard work. I enjoy it though. My flat is clean. The dinner is ready. My
long-awaited book is read. My friends are getting anxious about my being 3 days
offline call me 5 times today. It makes me pleased as I’ve not heard their voices for
2 weeks by now. The experiment is over, I can log in and chat with my friends a
little bit… .What under the sun is the matter? Am I healed of the illness of the
modern youth? Oh, My! Thanks God!

                         What is a Social Network?
                                                                   Tribute to fashion
                   8%                                              Vital necessity



                                                                   Waste of time

                                                                   Modern means of

                        The Results of My Experiment

WE REALIZED that all of us are different (a part can do without social networking
contacts easily, others cannot)

WE MANAGED to cope with procrastination

WE SUCCEEDED in direct face-to-face communication

WE LEARNT how to spend free time with great profit instead of sitting in
front of the computer

WE FAILED in wasting our time

WE LOST the opportunity to keep in touch with friends from faraway places

WE BECAME less stronger at typing

WE WENT poorer in online communication skills

     As a result of my research work, I have confirmed my hypothesis. I have
found out that social networks have actually stopped being the tribute to fashion,
but recently become people’s vital necessity. My research methods such as
observation, reading mass media, searching for information in the Internet,
interviewing people and carrying out an experiment “An Imaginary Day without
Social Networks” showed that modern people depend a lot on social networks and
hardly ever do without it. Without any doubt, Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki,
Facebook and other sites have become the essential part of our life.
    What is our attitude to social networking sites? Are they to blame for
disadvantages? Sometimes, certainly, they are. Especially for being threats for
people, organizations and the entire countries. Abusing communication through
networks leads to social isolation and inadaptability. But despite this fact we
continue surfing on the waves of the Internet searching for virtual contacts every
day. We use such options as keeping in touch with people who live at a long
distance, sending, receiving and sharing quick information. Besides, today social
networks have become the best way to express our individually.
     We often blame social networks for misusing personal information and
hackers’ attacks. But the fact is we are under threat not only in the networks, but in
the real world as well. One of the drawbacks is people’s isolation, inability to live
in society. But networks users have hundreds of friends in the web space, which is
much more than we usually have in real life. So, could we say that a person who
lives in ‘the virtual’ society is afraid of people and unable to communicate? Briefly
saying, nowadays we can’t imagine our lives without social networks!
     Moreover, I have noticed one very important reason why networks mustn’t be
excluded from modern life. Social networks are supporting the eternal mankind’s
Long time ago classmates could spend about 20 years without seeing each other.
They hardly ever knew where their former school friends lived, if they had a
family, where they worked and if they had successful careers. Now things have
changed greatly: we know everything about everybody due to the social networks.
Relatives, especially those who lived far from each other, used to lose contacts
easily and didn’t even use to know if the members of the family were still alive.
Some people never saw their grandchildren, nieces and nephews, uncles and aunts.
Now things have become different as we have a chance to keep in touch every
evening thanks to Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki and Skype. Consequently, our reality
got brighter and kinder for we feel the presence of close friends in our life.

      Where can my research work be used? First of all, it’s a very useful source of
information for those students and teachers who are interested in social networks
and want to know more about the benefits and drawbacks of this new sphere of
communication. Students of the 9th, 10th and 11th Forms can use the results of my
research work for the lessons, and further scientific essays.
     What did I personally gain while doing this research? First, I improved my
skills in collecting, selecting and classifying information, in making observations
and conclusions, carrying out experiments and interviewing people. I had an
opportunity to brush up such topics as “The world of science and technology”,
“Social networks”, “Communication”, “Family and Friends” and I have really
improved my English. However, the main thing I have realized is that the world
and technology is constantly changing, but people will always appreciate

   1. Афанасьева О.В. Английский язык, Учебник для 8 класса шк. с углубл.
      изучением англ.яз. – М.: Просвещение, 2008
   2. Всероссийский центр изучения общественного мнения (ВЦИОМ)
      МОСКВА, 25 мая 2010 г. Пресс-выпуск №1501
   3. International Journal of Computer Science and Network Security, VOL.9
      No.11, November 2009
   4. A Guide to Social Networks By Elise Moreau, Guide
   5. Social Networks An International Journal of Structural Analysis. Editors: P.
      Doreian, M. Everett
   6. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
   7. Handbook of Social Media Marketing: Five Principles of Online and Social
      Network Interactivity by Jeen-Su Lim and John Heinrichs (May 30, 2011)


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