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This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 sample answer essay from the real past IELTS test/exam on the topic of social media and face-to-face interaction.

Topics like this come up a lot, just a few weeks ago there was a question on social media and there is another one on spoken communication that I wrote a PDF about (that you can access through my online courses).

Read below to see how I handled it and remember to keep checking out the recent writing topics here!

Dave

Before reading, do some listening practice by taking notes on vocabulary/ideas with the audio of my essay:

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Essay: Face to Face Interaction (Real Past IELTS Tests/Exams)

The use of social media is replacing face-to-face interaction among many people in society.

Do you think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

Real Past IELTS Test/Exam

Many people today believe that social media has largely supplanted traditional face-to-face interpersonal relationships, leading to worsening communication skills. I fully agree with this point of view though I concede the advantages of social media for entrepreneurs.

Social media has been a boon for anyone interested in starting their own business. In the past, if someone wanted to start a business the avenues were more limited and likely presupposed some inherited capital. Social media, beginning with Facebook and now being brought to fruition with apps like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, opens up possibilities for content creators to communicate with their audience around the world. This applies to larger than life success stories like Justin Bieber, who went viral and rose from relative obscurity to global stardom, as well as more modest examples like the various Instagram artists and models who interact and generate income and publicity from their loyal fan bases.

Despite the aforementioned advantages, social media has degraded the general quality of communication. Those most affected are young users. In school, children and teenagers must develop their interpersonal skills by telling jokes, engaging in playful banter, and arguing about personal and political topics. Over time, some people distinguish themselves as great storytellers or compelling speakers while others at least improve their communication skills. In contrast, young people today are more likely to communicate by texting and interacting through fleeting comments as they impatiently scroll through their various feeds. They do not get quality feedback on their output and so develop haphazardly, not knowing whether or not their jokes and points ever really connect.

In conclusion, social media has hurt communication, overshadowing all its economic utility. Parents ought to limit phone use for children and themselves in order to fight the rising influence of technology that humanity is not evolved enough to deal with responsibly.

Word count: 298

Analysis

1. Many people today believe that social media has largely supplanted traditional face-to-face interpersonal relationships, leading to worsening communication skills. 2. I fully agree with this point of view though I concede the advantages of social media for entrepreneurs.

  1. Paraphrase the overall topic for the essay. Show off a bit if you are confident, if not keep it simple and fast!
  2. State your opinion clearly. I included my main ideas here but you don’t have to.

1. Social media has been a boon for anyone interested in starting their own business. 2. In the past, if someone wanted to start a business the avenues were more limited and likely presupposed some inherited capital. 3. Social media, beginning with Facebook and now being brought to fruition with apps like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, opens up possibilities for content creators to communicate with their audience around the world. 4. This applies to larger than life success stories like Justin Bieber, who went viral and rose from relative obscurity to global stardom, as well as more modest examples like the various Instagram artists and models who interact and generate income and publicity from their loyal fan bases.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear, single main idea at the end.
  2. Begin to develop it. I start by comparing now to the past to strengthen my point.
  3. Here I write specifially about the apps people use and how they can help people start a business.
  4. I add in some more specific examples and finish developing my main idea fully. This is a really long sentence – only write sentences this long if you can do it clearly and your grammar is really strong.

1. Despite the aforementioned advantages, social media has degraded the general quality of communication. 2. Those most affected are young users. 3. In school, children and teenagers must develop their interpersonal skills by telling jokes, engaging in playful banter, and arguing about personal and political topics. 4. Over time, some people distinguish themselves as great storytellers or compelling speakers while others at least improve their communication skills. 5. In contrast, young people today are more likely to communicate by texting and interacting through fleeting comments as they impatiently scroll through their various feeds. 6. They do not get quality feedback on their output and so develop haphazardly, not knowing whether or not their jokes and points ever really connect.

  1. A new topic sentence with a new main idea related to communication. Read more about topic sentences here.
  2. Start to develop and focus your main idea. Use a variety of short and long sentences to give the reader a breath.
  3. Develop your idea as specifically as possible – avoid being general!
  4. You can describe the result or how this changes over time as I do here.
  5. Again, keep it specific – this will help your cohesion and coherence, task achievement and vocabulary scores!
  6. Finish developing your point – don’t worry about summarising, it’s not important.

1. In conclusion, social media has hurt communication, overshadowing all its economic utility. 2. Parents ought to limit phone use for children and themselves in order to fight the rising influence of technology that humanity is not evolved enough to deal with responsibly.

  1. Repeat your opinion.
  2. Add in an extra detail/final thought for full points for task achievement.

Vocabulary

What do the words in below mean?

Many people today believe that social media has largely supplanted traditional face-to-face interpersonal relationships, leading to worsening communication skills. I fully agree with this point of view though I concede the advantages of social media for entrepreneurs.

Social media has been a boon for anyone interested in starting their own business. In the past, if someone wanted to start a business the avenues were more limited and likely presupposed some inherited capital. Social media, beginning with Facebook and now being brought to fruition with apps like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, opens up possibilities for content creators to communicate with their audience around the world. This applies to larger than life success stories like Justin Bieber, who went viral and rose from relative obscurity to global stardom, as well as more modest examples like the various Instagram artists and models who interact and generate income and publicity from their loyal fan bases.

Despite the aforementioned advantages, social media has degraded the general quality of communication. Those most affected are young users. In school, children and teenagers must develop their interpersonal skills by telling jokes, engaging in playful banter, and arguing about personal and political topics. Over time, some people distinguish themselves as great storytellers or compelling speakers while others at least improve their communication skills. In contrast, young people today are more likely to communicate by texting and interacting through fleeting comments as they impatiently scroll through their various feeds. They do not get quality feedback on their output and so develop haphazardly, not knowing whether or not their jokes and points ever really connect.

In conclusion, social media has hurt communication, overshadowing all its economic utility. Parents ought to limit phone use for children and themselves in order to fight the rising influence of technology that humanity is not evolved enough to deal with responsibly.

Answers

largely mostly

supplanted taken the place of

traditional face-to-face interpersonal relationships talking and interacting normally with people

worsening becoming bad

concede admit

entrepreneurs people who start their own businesses

boon lift

avenues pathways

limited not many ways

presupposed had to have/prerequisite

inherited capital money you get from your parents/relatives

brought to fruition become the finished product

opens up possibilities allows for lots of different methods

content creators people who make videos, music, podcasts, etc.

applies is true for

larger than life success stories famous stories of wildy successful people

viral all over the internet

relative obscurity not widely known

global stardom superstar

modest examples humble stories

generate create/make

publicity attention

loyal fan bases devoted fans

aforementioned just talked about

degraded getting worse

general quality overall level

engaging in playful banter chatting/joking with each other

distinguish set yourself apart

storytellers people who tell stories

compelling speakers moving speakers

at least at the minimum

fleeting comments unimportant interactions

impatiently scroll quickly go through

feeds online updates on Facebook, Instagram

quality feedback constructive criticism

output what you say/write

develop haphazardly mutate/no structured growth

connect resonate with

overshadowing stronger than

economic utility ability to make money

rising influence becoming more important

not evolved enough underdeveloped

deal with responsibly handle maturely

Pronunciation

ˈlɑːʤli 
səˈplɑːntɪd 
trəˈdɪʃənl feɪs-tuː-feɪs ˌɪntəˈpɜːsən(ə)l rɪˈleɪʃənʃɪps
ˈwɜːsnɪŋ 
kənˈsiːd 
ˌɒntrəprəˈnɜːz
buːn
ˈævɪnjuːz 
ˈlɪmɪtɪd 
ˌpriːsəˈpəʊzd 
ɪnˈhɛrɪtɪd ˈkæpɪtl
brɔːt tuː fru(ː)ˈɪʃən 
ˈəʊpənz ʌp ˌpɒsəˈbɪlɪtiz 
ˈkɒntɛnt kri(ː)ˈeɪtəz 
əˈplaɪz 
ˈlɑːʤə ðæn laɪf səkˈsɛs ˈstɔːriz 
ˈvaɪərəl 
ˈrɛlətɪv əbˈskjʊərɪti 
ˈgləʊbəl ˈstɑːdəm
ˈmɒdɪst ɪgˈzɑːmplz 
ˈʤɛnəreɪt 
pʌbˈlɪsɪti 
ˈlɔɪəl fæn ˈbeɪsiːz
əˌfɔːˈmɛnʃənd 
dɪˈgreɪdɪd 
ˈʤɛnərəl ˈkwɒlɪti 
ɪnˈgeɪʤɪŋ ɪn ˈpleɪfʊl ˈbæntə
dɪsˈtɪŋgwɪʃ 
ˈstɔːrɪˌtɛləz 
kəmˈpɛlɪŋ ˈspiːkəz 
æt liːst 
ˈfliːtɪŋ ˈkɒmɛnts 
ɪmˈpeɪʃəntli skrəʊl 
fiːdz
ˈkwɒlɪti ˈfiːdbæk 
ˈaʊtpʊt 
dɪˈvɛləp ˈhæpˈhæzədli
kəˈnɛkt
ˌəʊvəˈʃædəʊɪŋ 
ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪk ju(ː)ˈtɪlɪti
ˈraɪzɪŋ ˈɪnflʊəns 
nɒt ɪˈvɒlvd ɪˈnʌf 
diːl wɪð rɪsˈpɒnsəbli

Listen and repeat:

Vocabulary Practice

Many people today believe that social media has ____________ ____________, leading to ____________ communication skills. I fully agree with this point of view though I ____________ the advantages of social media for ____________.

Social media has been a ____________ for anyone interested in starting their own business. In the past, if someone wanted to start a business the ____________ were more ____________ and likely ____________ some ____________. Social media, beginning with Facebook and now being ____________ with apps like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, ____________ for ____________ to communicate with their audience around the world. This ____________ to ____________ like Justin Bieber, who went ____________ and rose from ____________ to ____________, as well as more ____________ like the various Instagram artists and models who interact with and ____________ income and ____________ from their ____________.

Despite the ____________ advantages, social media has ____________ the ____________ of communication. Those most affected are young users. In school, children and teenagers must develop their interpersonal skills by telling jokes, ____________, and arguing about personal and political topics. Over time, some people ____________ themselves as great ____________ or ____________ while others ____________ improve their communication skills. In contrast, young people today are more likely to communicate by texting and interacting through ____________ as they ____________ through their various ____________. They do not get ____________ on their ____________ and so ____________, not knowing whether or not their jokes and points ever really ____________.

In conclusion, social media has hurt communication, ____________ all its ____________. Parents ought to limit phone use for children and themselves in order to fight the ____________ of technology that humanity is ____________ to ____________.

Listen and check:

Listening Practice

Listen to the former Facebook executive below on how social media is ripping society apart:

Reading Practice

Read about another former Facebook employee and his thoughts on how Facebook exploits human vulnerabilities:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/09/facebook-sean-parker-vulnerability-brain-psychology

Speaking Practice

These questions are from Speaking Part 3 (from the real speaking exam), try using all the new ideas and vocabulary you just learned to answer them:

Public Speaking (NEW BOOKLET )

  1. Why is public speaking important?
  2. What qualities make someone a good public speaker?
  3. What kind of people are usually asked to do public speaking?
  4. Has the way that people speak in public changed much?
  5. Why are people so scared of public speaking?

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