Social Media Project

Our first major project asks you to work with social media to address social, professional, or personal interests and issues. Your project will consist of two parts: an individual project using Storify and a group project that can go in a few different directions (some suggestions are offered below. In preparation for the project itself, you will be asked to complete a project proposal (also outlined further below).

We have a few goals we’re aiming for with the projects: we want to familiarize ourselves and practice working with a range of social media technologies and platforms; we want to consider how these technologies can be used to achieve particular goals in the world; we want to practice writing not only with words but with links and embedded content (images, videos, tweets, etc.); and we want to consider how digital writing works to create not only content but also spaces that allow for new conversations and connections to emerge.

Storify. Everyone will complete this part of the project individually. Your Storify should include at least 1200 words of your own writing and at least 10 pieces of embedded content. You are welcome to take up just about any topic in your story/essay, but I would particularly encourage you to consider topics or issues that have some sort of relevance in terms of social action or your professional or personal interests. The embedded content you incorporate should be carefully chosen. As we discussed in class, you should think of yourself as a curator of content, organizing the conversation and highlighting what you consider to be most relevant, important, and interesting. The writing that you bring to the table should go beyond background information by offering some sort of commentary, analysis, insight, or argument on the topic.

Group Project. Everyone will also be required to complete a group project that in some way addresses the goals noted above. You will work in groups of three (no more, no less), and your grade for this part will be determined both by the overall success of the group work and your own individual contributions to the project. I have offered some suggested approaches to the group work below, but you are welcome to take your work in another direction as you see fit. Your group should be doing something related to social media, and you should have a meaningful purpose motivating your work (“meaningful” can go in a number of directions as well).

Blogging. Your group could create a blog (a new site separate from your own class sites) that takes up a particular topic or issue and each contribute a substantial post or two. You would need to consider the purpose of the blog, its audience, and design and visual elements beyond the posts themselves.

Hashtag Proposal. This approach involves creating a new hashtag (or related hashtags) and imagining how it would be used. Your group would need to produce writing that identifies and explains the hashtag: what is the purpose of the hashtag(s)? What do you want to achieve? Why is this purpose important? Who would you hope would use the hashtag and why? Your group would also need to create content that incorporates the hashtag: tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram images, etc. This content could be hypothetical (you don’t actually post it out in the real world; you just share it with the class) or real (you do actually use the hashtag on social media). The latter approach sounds more interesting to me, but either approach will be acceptable (if you do really use the hashtag, your writing should also comment on what sort of effect it had, what sort of response you got).

Tumblr. This approach involves creating a Tumblr. site dedicated to a particular issue or interest and that includes at least twelve posts. If you choose this approach, you should produce the Tumblr. itself and then produce a substantial document reflecting on the purpose of the Tumblr. and why you included what you did.

Inspiration/Instigation/Provocation. This approach is similar to the hashtag proposal but does not necessarily involve a specific hashtag. Using any social media platform (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Yik Yak, etc.), your group would try to inspire some sort of conversation, action, response, etc. Your group would still need to have a clear sense of purpose, for what you want to achieve by using social media in a particular way, but the emphasis here would be on actually using social media and seeing what happens over time as people engage with what you post. In addition to these efforts on social media, your group would need to produce writing that identifies the purpose of your social media efforts, explains what you did, and reflects on what happens.

Project Proposal. Your proposal should address both the individual Storify aspect of the assignment and the group project. Each aspect of the proposal should be at least 300 words, and the group work proposal should be written collaboratively. You should aim to address the following prompts and questions for each aspect of the proposal as well. The proposal should be accessible on your site as a post, page, link, or uploaded file.

  • Describe what you want to do for each aspect of the assignment. What will your Storify be about? What sort of perspective do you want to offer on this topic, and what sort of content do you expect to draw from? What will you do in your group project? What technologies and platforms will you use, and what sort of content will you create?
  • What is the purpose of each aspect of the project? What do you hope to achieve through them? What sort of effect do you want to have on your audience?
  • Why are you working with these topics and technologies? What interests you about them? Why do you think they are important, relevant, or helpful? How will your work with these topics and technologies add to how they have already been addressed and used?