Assign this to get your students talking

A great book for an undergraduate class in interpersonal communication or new technologies is The Breakup 2.0 by Ilana Gershon. The book is accessible in many ways. First, the use of theory is kept to a minimum. This is one of the few new media books that isn’t looking to develop new theory. Even so, there is enough theory here to show students that, yes, there is nothing so practical as a good theory. Gershon emphasizes one theory per chapter — media ideologies, remediation, second-order information, and considerations of public v. private identity.

But the real reason this book is accessible is the mountain of personal stories included. All of the anecdotes your students have either heard from friends or (heaven forbid) experienced firsthand are included here, and then a few more. I can only imagine how many people Gershon must have talk to get the incredible range of stories. Most of them are from college students, and are sure to elicit some personal sharing among your own students.

The relevance of the book also, unfortunately, gives the book a limited shelf life. Discussions of the technology are quite specific, and some aspects of technology have changed even since the publication date of 2010. So, while it is a quick read, best also to read it quick.

Gershon, Ilana. 2010. The breakup 2.0: Disconnecting over new media. Cornell University Press: Ithaca.

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