Social Media and Activism Essay


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?

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.


The purpose of this assignment is to:

  • Read and respond to a college-level text.
  • Compose college-level writing.
  • Produce an academic summary of an article.
  • Respond to a topic with an original argument.


This assignment will help students meet the following Student Learning Objectives, as stated on the course syllabus:

  • Use active/critical-reading strategies to produce accurate, concise summaries of college level/academic texts.
  • 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.
  • Utilize the various phases in the writing process—prewriting, writing revision, and proofreading—to produce clear, articulate, well-supported, well-organized essays.
  • Avoid plagiarism by properly citing quoted, summarized, and paraphrased material using MLA format.



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.
  • 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
    • 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.


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