You will write a magazine-style article that addresses the role of social media in politics. Our readings offer some disagreement on this issue. They also point to both national and international political scenes. This is a tough assignment. You probably have some experience with social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), but you may not have thought a lot about the technology or its social implications. You also probably have some knowledge of current political events and major political matters of the last few years (e.g., Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, the last Presidential election, etc.), but you have probably not studied these matters in depth. In this article, your audience are other college students, who probably have similar levels of knowledge to yourself. Social media does seem to change the way we engage in politics. Whether or not it is a significant difference appears to be a matter of debate. This is a matter that might be of interest to those who have a stake in politics (which should be all of us). Your job is to find a way to connect to this issue, make it important to you, and then attempt to make it important and interesting to your audience.
1. Readings and discussion: as you work your way through the readings and participate in discussion you should try to keep in mind how the points being raised connect with your own experiences with social media. Where do the arguments the others make strongly conflict with your experience? Where do the resonate? Most importantly, where do the authors’ perspectives shed new light on your experiences?
2. Your social media experience and politics: depending on your own use of social media, you’ve likely had some experience with political action online. Perhaps you’ve had some experience with local political issues being raised via social media (e.g. circulating a petition, organizing meetings, spreading the word, etc.).
3. Writing an article: As you write your essay you should consider how the authors appeal to their audience through a style that is not dry and academic but still manages to make a complex argument and deal with difficult issues in a thoughtful way.
You will be evaluated by the following criteria, roughly in order of decreasing importance:
• Discussion of the role of social media in politics
• Engagement with at least one of the readings from this module
• Ability to address a general audience
• Engagement with the style and form of the article
• Thoughtful response to workshop feedback
• Spelling, grammar, other stylistic concerns.
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