Social Media Analysis

This analysis assignment (minimum 800 words, posted on your website) challenges you to capture what makes a particular social media text effective or interesting in some way. Our thinking on “social media text” could go in a number of directions: you could focus on a specific social media account, a specific post or collection of posts, a specific hashtag/meme/challenge, etc.; you could focus on a specific social media platform or look across platforms; you could compare multiple texts. You are welcome to focus on anything related to social media you find interesting. (If you’re not interested at all in social media, let me know and we can figure out a different way to approach this assignment.)

In a sense, we are working toward what Writer/Designer calls a “rhetorical analysis.” We’re interested in thinking about what makes this text effective, interesting, engaging, moving, or provocative in some way; we’re interested in thinking about what audience(s) the text appeals to and why; we’re interested in thinking about how the text responds to or engages with a broader context.

Toward that end, your analysis will likely respond to some or all of the following prompts:

  • What about the text is interesting and important? What does it accomplish in the world? What sort of effect does it have on its audience?
  • What specific details or aspects of the text help it accomplish its purpose or otherwise have this effect? How are these details significant?
  • Who produced this text and why? Did they have a specific purpose? How would you describe them in terms of their commitments and investments, their attitudes and values, or their character and personality?
  • What audience(s) might be interested in this text and why? How might it appeal to different people in different ways?
  • How does this text fit in a broader context? What other texts, ideas, or conversations does it engage or resonate with?
  • How does the text incorporate different modes, media, and design choices? How do these shape our understanding of the text and contribute to its purpose?

Again, your main goal is to capture what makes this text interesting. You may or may not find it helpful to address these specific prompts or to draw on the terms and concepts from Writer/Designer. Either way, your analysis will be more successful if you can work toward offering a larger argument or insight about the text rather than just responding to a set of prompts or working through a list of terms individually.

Although your analysis will mainly be comprised of words, you should aim to draw on the functionality of your website by embedding images, videos, and/or social media posts as relevant.