The Virtual World
Part I Pre-Reading Task
Listen to the recording1 two or three times and then think over the following questions:
1. Is the hero a student or an employee?
2. What was he doing when the boss came in?
3. How did he act in front of his boss?
4. Can you guess what the texts in this unit are going to be about?
The following words in the recording may be new to you:
Maia Szalavitz, formerly2 a television producer, now spends her time as a writer. In this essay she explores digital reality and its consequences. Along the way, she compares the digital world to the "real" world, acknowledging the attractions of the electronic dimension.
A VIRTUAL LIFE
After too long on the Net, even a phone call can be a shock. My boyfriend's Liverpool accent suddenly becomes impossible to interpret after his easily understood words on screen; a secretary's clipped tone seems more rejecting than I'd imagined it would be. Time itself becomes fluid — hours become minutes, or seconds stretch into days. Weekends, once a highlight of my week, are now just two ordinary days.
For the last three years, since I stopped working as a television producer, I have done much of my work as a telecommuter. I submit articles and edit them via email and communicate with colleagues on Internet mailing