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As technology becomes more and more prominent in our society, teachers of composition can no longer ignore how technology affects our students’ ability to critically think about the world.  One of the major ways technology affects our students is through the use of social networks, particularly Facebook.  By pairing Chaim Perelman and L. Olbrechts-Tyteca’s concept of audience and presence with Michel Foucault’s image of the “docile body,” as composition instructors we can help our students view Facebook and online profiles in a new and enlightening way.  When students realize the power Facebook has over how they perceive their lives, and how they wish others to perceive their lives, students will begin to start critically thinking about how online profiles often serve to control and influence our lives rather than give us the opportunity to express our individuality.  Instead of automatically posting whatever comes to mind, students will begin to think twice before they click “submit” and wonder why they are posting this information and if this information truly represents who they truly are or who they want to appear to be to others.  Once students establish a critical eye for online profiles, the hope is that they will continue to think critically about other technological venues and take control back from technology.

Courtney Patrick