Model IELTS Task 2 Essay: Face-to-face Meetings vs Social Media

Jan 26, 2021 | IELTS Test, IELTS Vocabulary, IELTS Writing

Face-to-face meetings are definitely out of vogue this year. However, this topic is very current, and you might easily get it on test day. Read on for the kind of vocabulary and ideas that will serve you well.

The instructions ask you if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Since there is no clear two-part division (e.g. discuss the advantages and disadvantages), it follows a five-paragraph model. 

Introduction: with the position

1st Body Paragraph: the negative side of social media

2nd Body Paragraph: a concession to when social media is useful

3rd Paragraph: another disadvantage of social media

Conclusion: repeating our position and main ideas

Click here to see an overview template for Task 2 questions

We have also written more information on how to answer different Task 2 question types here.

The Question

Many people have stopped meeting each other face-to-face and only communicate online via social media.

Do the advantages of this development outweigh the disadvantages?

The Answer

On the whole, the disadvantages of only communicating online, via social media, outweigh the advantages. While digital technology has connected the world – particularly the developing world – in the last decade by putting instant communication into the palms of our hands, the fact remains that humans need human contact. No matter how much time we spend on our devices, social media doesn’t address that fundamental requirement. 

This is evidenced by studies that have conclusively shown that increased social media usage often creates increased anxiety in the people who use them most. These effects appear to be particularly pronounced on certain platforms, which have been blamed for deteriorating psychological wellbeing among many of those who use them most frequently. Some users have now chosen to give up social media entirely. 

Of course, digital communication has been a lifeline for millions during the pandemic, who have relied on video conferencing platforms to stay connected with family, friends and colleagues in an otherwise lonely time. That doesn’t, however, mean digital communication is better than speaking in person – only that it served as an adequate substitution when the situation necessitated. 

Perhaps the biggest disadvantages of communicating digitally rather than face to face, though, are the unknowns; we’re yet to see the long-term effects on mental health for the youngest generation of social media users. They’re the ones who signed up at the earliest age.

In conclusion, facilitating communication in person, not online, should be our priority as a society. Although digital communication has its advantages, they’re far outweighed by the health risks of a life spent consumed by social media. 

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