On page 139 of The Influencing Machine, Brooke Gladstone begins a discussion of the role social networks play in our consumption and understanding of news and in our personal lives and mental health. She questions whether we truly have friends online or whether the internet is actually costing us meaningful connections with people. She also examines how the internet might be shortening our attention spans and our ability to understand and digest information.
To build on these ideas, in this essay, your main goal will be to enter this conversation by telling the story of your experience with social networking and making a claim about the role of social networking in our lives. Is it possible to maintain relationships with others via the internet? Is it possible to have relationships with people we only know online? How do we judge people “ both friends and professionals “ based on their online presence and identity? In terms of the information we receive, how do social networks influence our consumption and understanding of news? How do news sources and organizations mold themselves to fit the online, democratic world of social media? Gladstone says that social media sites function as filters of information, but within those, how do we filter further to find what is worthwhile and trustworthy? Finally, how do we ourselves contribute to social networks, whether through creating original content or sharing articles?
Using your own experience with social networking as the foundation for this essay, you should make a specific claim about the use and value of social networks in our lives. You should focus on both the personal and professional sides of this issue (i.e. how you interact with your friends online and how you find and evaluate news sources). In other words, you should look at issues of varying significance. You should include research to support and develop your ideas in a meaningful way. You should assume you are writing to a wide audience here who is familiar with social networks.
This essay should be 4-5 pages in length and employ three credible sources: The Influencing Machine and two others. When you conduct your research, really think in terms of what is relevant and timely to this discussion. The essay should use your narrative to make a clear point about the role and value of social networking in our society.
The essay will be evaluated based on the College Writing Program Grading Criteria rubric and the following criteria:
&?ÃŸsp;Does the essay have a clear thesis statement that focuses on the role and value of social media?
&?ÃŸsp;Does the essay consider both personal and professional use of the internet and specifically social networking sites?
&?ÃŸsp;Does the author use their social networking story as a continual narrative to hold the essay and ideas together?
&?ÃŸsp;Are there three credible (not necessarily scholarly) resources at work? (Gladstone plus two others)
&?ÃŸsp;Is the essay free of grammatical, typographical, and formatting errors?
&?ÃŸsp;Remember that the grade breakdown for essays is as follows:
o Rough Draft: 10%
o Peer Review: 10%
o Final Draft: 80%
o Both the rough draft and peer review will receive a grade of A (exceptionally prepared), C (somewhat prepared), or F (not prepared)
Nuts and Bolts
&?ÃŸsp;You should bring in four printed, stapled copies of your rough draft on Tuesday, September 16. One will be for me; the rest will be for your peer group.
&?ÃŸsp;You should read your peers’ drafts by Friday, September 19. Consider this homework.
&?ÃŸsp;In addition to reading drafts, you may make comments on them. You should complete a peer review worksheet for each draft you read. These are available on Blackboard under œCourse Documents. You may choose to type your comments in the Word document or write them on a copy; either way, be sure you have a hard copy in workshop.
&?ÃŸsp;Please bring your essay materials to class on Tuesday, September 23 so that we can continue to work in class.