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Essay 1: Argument/Exemplification
Social Media and Activism

Final Draft Due: Tuesday 2/19

Rough Draft for Peer Editing: Thursday 2/14
Introduction
Periods of social unrest can be difficult to understand and especially to live through; still, the
right to organize and protest is fundamental in American society. For generations, protest and
social activism have taken on many shapes and forms and have helped to create the world we
live in today. In recent years, social activism has taken on a new form. Much of social
organizing and protest seems to done online, often through social media networks such as
Facebook and Twitter. Social media can provide a powerful tool for organizations to spread their
messages and unite individuals toward a common purpose. However, it can also elicit
complacency and what is often referred to as “slactivism.”
With this assignment, we will continue to look at and participate in academic conversation
between scholars as they, and we, attempt to discuss and analyze the role of social media in
political and social activism and our search of justice.
Reading and Writing Skills
Over the course of this assignment, we will continue to work on developing key academic
reading and writing skills, which you will use throughout your career as a student and which
constitute the basis of most scholarly writing. We will be annotating and close reading texts,
dissecting parts of argument, analyzing and critiquing opposing points of view and finally
creating our own arguments by developing strong thesis statements, incorporating sources into
our argument and thoroughly explaining and analyzing evidence.
Academic scholars do not write in a vacuum—their arguments are typically in response to other
arguments about the same topic. With this assignment, you will get the chance to participate in
the academic conversation once again. We will begin by reading Malcolm Gladwell’s article
“Small Change,” which discusses strong and weak ties and their effect on activism. We will then
read criticism of his ideas, in the form of published articles by other scholars, so that we can see
this idea of “academic conversations” in practice. After considering all of those viewpoints, you
will enter the conversation about the role of social media in activism a social justice and write an
essay explaining your argument about the topic.
Focusing Questions
Now that you briefly understand what we are doing with this assignment and why we are doing
it, I will now introduce our guiding questions. Through our reading and writing over the next few
weeks, we will be considering and discussing the following: What role does social media play in
organizing political and social protest? How successful are social media organized campaigns?
Lenox
Your essay should clearly answer the following question: Is social media, overall, beneficial
or harmful to modern day activism?
Assignment Overview
The section below outlines the specific requirement of this assignment.
Purpose
The purpose of this assignment is to:
1. Read and respond to a college-level text.
2. Compose college-level writing.
3. Produce an academic summary of an article.
4. Respond to a topic with an original argument.
Goals
This assignment will help students meet the following Student Learning Objectives, as stated on
the course syllabus:
1. Use active/critical-reading strategies to produce accurate, concise summaries
of college level/academic texts.
2. Synthesize researched material from multiple texts to create and support an
argument in response to a prompt. Draw direct evidence from texts in support
of claims and analyze how that evidence supports the claim.
3. Utilize the various phases in the writing process—prewriting, writing
revision, and proofreading—to produce clear, articulate, well-supported,
well-organized essays.
4. Avoid plagiarism by properly citing quoted, summarized, and paraphrased
material using MLA format.
Texts





Gladwell, Malcolm. “Small Change.” The New Yorker. 4 Oct. 2010
Stone, Biz. “Exclusive: Biz Stone on Twitter and Activism.” The Atlantic. Oct 19, 2010.
Berlatsky, Noah. “Hashtag Activism Isn’t a Cop-Out.” The Atlantic. 7 Jan 2015.
Essig, Kate. “Activism or Slacktivism? How Social Media Hurts and Helps Student
Activism.” St. Louis Public Radio. 2 Jan. 2014.
Zeynep, Tufekci. “Online Social Change: Easy to Organize, Hard to Win.” Ted Talk.
Oct. 2014.
Task
Compose an essay, between 800-1000 words in length, which presents an argument about the
topic of social media activism. Again, your essay should clearly answer the following
question: Is social media, overall, beneficial or harmful to modern day activism?
More Specifically:
• Your essay must include cited evidence from at least three of your assignment texts.
Lenox

Your essay must also include your argument about the effect of social media use on
political and social activism. That means you need a thesis and topic sentences, which
state your claim and reasons why. You also need support for your argument in the form
of cited material and personal experience. You will be using PIE paragraph structure
o Your argument should include at least one counter-argument, or point your
opposition could raise, to which you respond with a refutation.
NOTE: Since you are citing the article, and possibly your own sources, don’t forget your
Works Cited page.
Requirements:
1. Rough Draft for Peer Review (30 points)
2. Final Draft (100 points)
Final Draft Rubric
INTRODUCTION
Background/History
Define the Problem
Thesis Statement
CONCLUSION
20
15
10
5
Well-developed
introductory
paragraph
contains
detailed
background
information, a
clear
explanation or
definition of the
problem, and a
thesis
statement.
Introductory
paragraph
contains
some
background
information
and states the
problem, but
does not
explain using
details.
States the
thesis of the
paper.
Introduction
states the
thesis but
does not
adequately
explain the
background
of the
problem. Th
e problem is
stated, but
lacks detail.
Thesis and/or
problem is
vague or
unclear.
Background
details are a
seemingly
random
collection of
information,
unclear, or
not related to
the topic.
Conclusion
summarizes the
main topics
without
repeating
previous
sentences;
writer’s
opinions and
suggestions for
change are
logical and well
thought out.
Conclusion
summarizes
main
topics. Som
e suggestions
for change
are evident.
Conclusion
summarizes
main topics,
but is
repetitive.
No
suggestions
for change
and/or
opinions are
included.
Conclusion
does not
adequately
summarize
the main
points. No
suggestions
for change or
opinions are
included.
Lenox
MAIN POINTS
Body Paragraphs
Refutation
Three or more
main points are
well developed
with supporting
details.
Refutation
paragraph
acknowledges
the opposing
view, and
summarizes
their main
points.
Three or
more main
points are
present but
may lack
detail and
development
in one or
two.
Refutation
paragraph
acknowledge
s the
opposing
view, but
doesn’t
summarize
points.
Three or
more main
points, but
all lack
development
. Refutation
paragraph
missing
and/or
vague.
Less than
three main
points, with
poor
development
of
ideas. Refuta
tion missing
or vague.
USE OF
SOURCES
Documentation
All source
material is used
and smoothly
integrated into
the text. All
sources are
accurately
documented
and in the
desired format
on the Works
Cited page.
All sources are
relevant and
reliable.
All source
material is
used. All
sources are
accurately
documented,
but a few are
not in the
desired
format on the
Works Cited
page.
Most sources
are relevant
and reliable.
All sources
are
accurately
documented,
but many are
not in the
desired
format on
the Works
Cited page.
Some
sources are
relevant and
reliable.
Lacks
sources
and/or
sources are
not
accurately
documented.
Incorrect
format is
used.
Sources are
neither
relevant nor
reliable.
MECHANICS
Sentence Clarity,
Punctuation &
Capitalization
Punctuation and Sentence
capitalization
structure is
are correct.
generally
correct.
Some
awkward
sentences do
appear.
There are
one or two
errors in
Work
contains
structural
weaknesses
and
grammatical
errors. There
are three or
four errors in
punctuation
and/or
Work
contains
multiple
incorrect
sentence
structures.
There are
four or more
errors in
punctuation
and/or
Lenox
punctuation
capitalizatio
and/or
n.
capitalization
.
capitalization
.

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