Self Presentation, Sociality and Presentation

Your major assignment for this course will be to write a 4–5-page essay (typed, double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, not including references). Ultimately, quality of content is more important than exact page or word length; this is an estimate based on a balance of thoroughness and succinctness.

This essay is an opportunity to explore one of the major themes more in depth. Your topic should connect to one of the major themes of the class listed below. These major areas have many different subcategories that are organized/categorized using “keywords.” Keywords or search terms will help you decide what you would like to specifically focus on.

Major Area Keyword/subcategory Specific focus examples

  1. Self/Self Presentation • Self-branding
    • Self-presentation in connection to influencers
    • Selfies
    • Networked individualism Self-presentation strategies of physicians on social media
  2. Sociality • Imagined audiences
    • Online communities
    • Social support Parasocial relationships with reality tv stars
  3. Platforms • Folk theories/user perception of algorithms
    • Content moderation
    • Digital labor Algorithmic gossip of beauty bloggers
    (You are not limited to the keywords and specific focus examples.)

Format of Paper

Your paper should follow this structure:

Introduction (1 paragraph) (10 points)

Preview your paper in this section and provide a thesis (i.e., a statement of what you will do in your paper and why). Briefly explain why you chose this topic or why you find it worthy of further exploration. Your thesis statement must be in bold.

Literature Review (2-3 paragraphs) (25 points)

The literature review discusses and synthesizes the sources in conversation with each other. You must discuss and cite 2 academic sources and 1 course reading. You may use additional sources if you would like. The literature review should accomplish these goals:
• Summarize and synthesize the main points of each source and discuss them as a coherent whole.
• Analyze and interpret: Don’t just paraphrase other researchers – add your own interpretations where possible and discuss the significance of findings. The literature review should use direct quotes sparingly.
• Critically Evaluate: Mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
• Write in well-structured paragraphs: Use transition words and topic sentence to draw connections, comparisons, and contrasts.

Analysis (3-4 paragraphs) (25)

Analysis is much more than a simple declaration of whether you “liked” the articles or not, so avoid this common mistake. In the analysis section, you present your analysis of the topic, including an argument and evidence in support of YOUR position or argument

Your argument should be supported with evidence. This will come from your sources and your personal experiences. Refrain from using evidence, especially quotations, without explicitly and concretely explaining what the evidence shows in your own words. Jumping from quote to quote does not demonstrate your knowledge of the material or help the reader recognize the development of your thesis statement. A good paper will link the evidence to the overall argument by explaining how the two correspond to one another and how that relationship extends our understanding of the communication phenomenon. In other words, each example and quote should be explained, and each paragraph should relate to the topic.

Conclusion: (10 points)

This should simply reiterate your main points and conclusions. It should be no more than a few sentences long. The conclusion is NOT the place to introduce new information, facts, perspectives, sources, etc. — if you think of things now, insert them in the proper place above. This closing statement should not be a broad generalization or sweeping statement, but a precise summary of your main thesis and argument.

References (10 points)

Be sure to cite all the sources you used in the actual paper. The last page of your essay (not included in page count) is the reference page. The reference page should follow APA format.

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