Hello and welcome back.
This is episode three in our advanced spoken English series.
As you know these lessons are designed to help you take your English to the next level.
The topic of this lesson is social media.
You will hear a conversation; it's about six minutes long.
After the conversation ends we will go through the script of the conversation and I will
teach you useful vocabulary words and expressions, so let's begin.
Let’s talk about social media.
Do you use social media?
I use YouTube.
I use Facebook too but not as much.
I’ve tried Twitter in the past, but I never got the hang of it.
I’m not really big on social media generally, aside from YouTube, which I use a lot, both
for watching videos and for publishing my own like this one.
You just mentioned YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Why are these sites called social media?
Well, the key word is social.
Because these sites are all about people sharing information.
I would say that that’s the defining feature of social media.
And the term social media is used in contrast to traditional media where the viewer or the
listener is only a passive recipient; information is presented to us and we passively consume
it, and if we want to share that, if we see something on television and we want to share
that with somebody, we have to either call them up or tell them in person.
But on a site like Facebook, if you see something interesting, you can immediately engage with
it on the platform itself – you comment on it, like it, share it, and if you share
it, that gets pushed out to all your friends.
Obviously, you can’t do that with your television or a newspaper.
So social media sites are driven by people sharing information.
Why do people use social media?
I think the social element is itself the primary motivation for people.
Because it’s a basic urge for human beings to seek attention from others.
And social media takes advantage of that very well.
When we share something, say even a selfie, these algorithms are designed to push that
out to all of our contacts and generate likes and positive comments.
When that happens, we get a temporary boost of self-esteem.
But then that fades quickly, so you have to post another selfie or share something else.
That keeps us coming back; it’s a form of instant gratification.
I don’t know that that’s a good thing.
But that’s what makes social media so addictive in my opinion.
It sounds like you’re saying social media is a bad thing.
No, not necessarily.
There are advantages.
For one, it allows us to stay in touch with people in our social circle.
We can let people know about the good things that are happening in our lives.
In a world where we’re so strapped for time that we hardly ever get to meet up with friends
or relatives, social media allows us to stay in touch with them.
And it’s not uncommon to run into old friends on Facebook from way back and reconnect with
And then look at what YouTube has accomplished.
For many people, it has completely replaced the television.
And more than that, I think it’s just astounding how much learning material is available free
of charge on the site, and it’s nothing short of revolutionary – you can learn anything
you want on demand, free of cost watching videos.
And of course, I make videos myself, so it helps people like me (I guess the term for
that is creators), it helps independent creators connect with their potential audience.
That would have been almost impossible before the advent of social media.
Do you think social media is good for children?
No, I don’t, and I say that with apologies to my young viewers.
I think there’s a reason why social media sites have a minimum age requirement to have
an account on their site.
Because there are inherent risks involved for children in using platforms where they
can come into contact with strangers.
When we were growing up, our parents used to tell us not to talk to strangers, but that
rule is not easy to enforce when your child can be interacting with random people on an
Beyond that, I think the bigger problem is that children can be exposed to unfiltered
material on social media.
See, if my child was watching television, as the parent I would know that the content
that they’re exposed to is going to be curated to some extent.
But on social media, people can say what they want, post what they want, share what they
want, and children (including teenagers) often lack the judgment to know that something is
inappropriate; that certain types of behavior or language or ways of saying things are not
acceptable in society.
So, I don’t think children ought to be using social media, honestly.
Does social media also have negative effects on society as a whole?
See, I don’t want to be seen as bashing social media here.
But, it certainly has negative effects on society that we cannot ignore.
One is that it’s often a tremendous waste of time.
The fact that social media apps are so easily accessible on mobile devices means that whenever
people are bored, they can just open up Facebook or YouTube and get their dose of instant gratification,
and they don’t have to make the effort to socialize with human beings in real life,
or pick up a book and learn something.
And then like I said before, some of the content that goes viral on social media is just not
of the positive kind; a lot of stuff that I see is offensive and obnoxious, or even
things that are plainly false.
It’s really easy to spread false information, fake news via social media.
And the lack of accountability I think also tends to bring out the worst in people sometimes.
But for all its flaws, I believe the advantages that I mentioned before certainly do outweigh
So, the important thing is to view social media as something that can add value to our
lives and to seek out positive experiences while being wary of the negatives.
OK, thank you very much.
OK here we are with the script of the conversation that you just heard now we're going to go
through the script and learn some useful vocabulary but before we do that you will find a link
in the description to this document you can download the document from that link when
you do you will find the complete transcript of the conversation and if you scroll down
you will see a list of all the vocabulary items that we discuss here along with their
meanings there are a total of 30 items alright let's go back to the top and let's start discussing
the vocabulary the first item is over here I said I've tried Twitter in the past but
I never got the hang of it to get the hang of something means to learn how to do something
or to get used to something so I'm saying here that I tried Twitter but I never got
used to it I never got comfortable with it so I never got the hang of it and then I'm
not really big on social media generally not big on he's an idiom and it means that you're
not very interested in something like if I say I'm not big on classical music that means
I'm not really interested in classical music so I'm saying here that I'm not greatly interested
I'm not really into social media OK and then there was a question here why are these sites
called social media YouTube and Facebook and so on and I said well the key word is social
the keyword means the important word in a phrase or in a term so in the term social
media I'm saying the important word is social and that's because these sites are all about
people sharing information the phrase all about it's a common expression and it's used
to indicate the focus or the most important aspect of something so social media sites
are all about people sharing information meaning that that is the focus of these websites I
would say that that's the defining feature of social media defining feature means the
most important feature that feature which gives something its definition so the defining
feature of social media is people sharing information and the term social media is used
in contrast to that is in opposition to traditional media where the listener or the viewer is
only a passive recipient the word recipient means a person who receives and passive is
the opposite of active so a passive recipient is a person who sits there and receives information
without doing anything actively and if you think about it that's how it is when we watch
television we sit there we get all that information but we don't actively engage with it and if
you see something on TV and you want to share that with somebody you have to either call
them up or tell them in person the phrase in person means being physically present face-to-face
okay not via email or not through some other indirect method now on a site like Facebook
however if you see something interesting you can immediately like it share it and so on
and then that will get pushed out to all of your friends all your friends will see it
but you can't do that with a TV or with a newspaper so social media sites are driven
by people sharing information driven by means operated by you can think about it as showing
the source of power to make something happen now if I say electric cars are driven by electricity
that means the source of electric cars is electricity so the source of power for social
media is when people share things the next question was why do people use social media
and I said it's the social element itself because it's a basic urge for human beings
to seek attention from others an urge is a strong desire especially a desire that you
cannot control so to seek attention seek attention means to act in a way that makes other people
notice us to do that is a basic urge that we all share as human beings and social media
takes advantage of that urge that we have because when we share something that might
get lots of likes and positive comments when that happens we get a temporary boost of self-esteem
self-esteem means self-respect or self-confidence so lots of people are liking or sharing your
selfie you feel good about it that's a temporary boost of self-esteem but that doesn't last
it fades quickly so you have to keep sharing things that keeps us coming back and that's
a form of instant gratification this is a popular expression that you will see in many
contexts instant gratification means immediate satisfaction but it's the kind of satisfaction
that you get from say eating something sweet or playing video games because that satisfaction
does not last it goes away quickly which is why it's not satisfying for a long period
of time so instant means immediate and gratification means satisfaction instant gratification is
immediate satisfaction okay the next item is not necessarily so the interviewer said
it sounds like you're saying social media is a bad thing I said no not necessarily meaning
that's not what I'm saying this is just a fancy expression that you can use if you take
not necessarily because there are advantages for one for one is an expression that is used
to introduce one reason for example it's like this is just one reason and I'm talking here
about an advantage the advantages it allows us to stay in touch with people in our social
circle in a world where we're so strapped for time strapped for means short of something
or not having enough of something if I say I'm strapped for cash that means I don't have
enough cash or as in this example I said we're strapped for time meaning we don't have enough
time we're so strapped for time that we hardly ever hardly ever means almost never very rarely
we hardly ever get to meet up with friends or relatives social media allows us to stay
in touch with them and it's not uncommon to run into old friends on Facebook run into
means to meet somebody unexpectedly so I'm saying that it's common to meet old friends
on Facebook from like your high school and that's what this expression means from way
back from way back means from a long time ago it's not uncommon to run into old friends
on Facebook from way back and reconnect with them and then I talked about how YouTube has
accomplished a great deal for education I said I think it's just astounding how much
learning material is available free of charge astounding means very surprising and it's
often used with victory or success somebody could have had an astounding victory or astounding
success and that's what I'm talking about here with reference to YouTube I think it's
astounding how much learning material is available free of charge and it's nothing short of revolutionary
nothing short of means almost equal so I'm saying that what YouTube has done for education
is almost equal to a revolution in the field of education you can learn almost anything
you want just watching videos on YouTube and then I said that I watch videos myself so
it helps independent creators like me connect with their potential audience that would have
been almost impossible before the advent of social media the word advent means the time
when something begins it's commonly used with technology before the advent of the internet
or before the advent of cell phones so I'm saying here that before social media came
into existence independent creators would have found it difficult to connect with their
potential audience the next question was do you think social media is good for children
and my answer was no I don't think so and one of the reasons is that there are inherent
risks involved for children in using platforms where they can come into contact with strangers
come into contact with means strangers can contact children children can contact strangers
and that's unsafe another problem perhaps the bigger problem is that children can be
exposed to unfiltered material on social media if your child was watching TV you would know
that some I would be controlling you know what kinds of TV shows or movies were shown
on a channel and that's what the word to curate means to curate means to select something
carefully okay for publication for example music or movies or TV shows a person who curates
content is called a curator by the way a person who manages a museum is also called a curator
now on social media nobody curates the content people can say or post whatever they want
and children often lack the judgment to know that something is inappropriate the word judgment
and I should point out that this spelling j-u-d-g-m-e-n-t is American with an E that's
British spelling that's used in the United Kingdom so anyway children often lack the
judgment to know that something is inappropriate here the word judgment refers to the ability
to make good decisions so I'm saying that when children watch or hear things on social
media they don't have the judgment they don't have the world experience to be able to tell
that certain behaviors or certain types of language are not appropriate that they're
not acceptable in society so that's why I say children often lack the judgment and that's
why I don't think children ought to be using social media the next question was what about
society as a whole and not just children the social media have negative effects on society
and I said I don't want to be seen as bashing social media here to bash means to criticize
harshly so I'm saying I'm not trying to criticize social media harshly and say only bad things
about it but there are negative effects and we cannot ignore them the fact that we all
have cell phones that we have YouTube and Facebook on those cell phones means that people
can just open up one of these social media apps and get their dose of instant gratification
do you remember what instant gratification means it means immediate satisfaction to get
their dose of means to get something that you need as if you're just medicine so people
can just open up a social media app and browse and get some instant gratification and then
move on so because of that they don't have to socialize and that word you will see over
here to socialize means to spend time with other people in a fun way now hanging out
with friends or going and meeting your relatives people don't have to do that nowadays because
of social media apps they don't have to pick up a book and learn something and also there's
another disadvantage to social media a lot of the stuff that goes viral is not positive
some of it is offensive some of it is just obnoxious this word is pronounced obnoxious
and it means very unpleasant we often talk about obnoxious content or an obnoxious person
or a person's obnoxious behavior in all of these uses it means unpleasant so there's
a lot of stuff that's obnoxious or even plainly false plainly false means just simply false
fake news it's really easy to spread fake news on social media and there's a lack of
accountability accountability means responsibility for one's actions or behavior so if I'm accountable
to my boss that means I have to answer to my boss I have to explain my actions to my
boss if I do something wrong my boss might ask me to explain why I did that and he or
she would be accountable to his or her boss but on social media there's there's no accountability
and that lack of accountability tends to bring out the worst in people sometimes that means
to make people show their worst qualities okay it brings out the worst from inside of
people but for all its flaws the word flaw means a fault or a weakness or a disadvantage
so what this means is for all its flaws is a fixed expression and it means even though
something has disadvantages even though social media has flaws the advantages certainly outweigh
the disadvantages so we have to view social media as something that can add value to our
life something that can good things to our lives but we should also be wearing of the
negatives wary of means being careful or cautious in order to avoid danger so we have to be
wary of the negatives but we can always enjoy the positives that social media has to offer
alright that's the end of this lesson remember to go and download this document and I want
to encourage you to go and listen to this conversation once again rewind the video the
video go to the beginning and as you listen a lot of these words that you just heard will
jump out at you and that's a really good way to reinforce vocabulary repetition is the
best way to learn vocabulary alright I hope you enjoyed this lesson I will see you in
another lesson soon and as always happy learning