PAPER #1 FOR INEQUALITIES IN THE SOCIAL WORLD
FOR THIS PAPER YOU WILL COMPLETE EACH OF THE FOLLOWING STEPS WITH AN EMPHASIS ON STEP 7.
BE SURE TO RESPOND TO EACH OF THE STEPS LISTED BELOW. SOME STEPS MAY ONLY REQUIRE A VERY SHORT RESPONSE (EX: FOR STEP 3 YOU WILL ONLY NEED TO NAME THE SITES THAT YOU ARE COMPARING) WHILE OTHERS WILL REQUIRE A MORE COMPREHENSIVE RESPONSE. YOU SHOULD NUMBER EACH STEP FOLLOWED BY YOUR RESPONSE.
THE RESPONSE TO EACH STEP SHOULD BE TYPED, (no smaller than 12 font) AND DOUBLE-SPACED. CITE YOUR WORK (in APA format). AS IS STATED IN THE SYLLABUS, PAPERS THAT DO NOT HAVE A TITLE PAGE THAT INCLUDES: NAME, DATE, ASSIGNMENT TITLE, AND COURSE TITLE WILL RECEIVE AN AUTOMATIC 10% DEDUCTION. THESE PAPERS TEND TO BE 5 TO 7 PAGES IN LENGTH; HOWEVER, I AM MORE CONCERNED WITH CONTENT THAN WITH NUMBER OF PAGES.
As cell phones, Smartphones, laptops and iPads have increasingly becoming a part of adolescent identity and youth culture, understandings of race, class, gender and sexuality are likely being taught and reinforced in cyberspace as much as they are in the physical environments of our life. Web 2.0 changed the Internet by providing applications that allowed users to interact, collaborate and share information through blogging, user-generated content platforms and social networking sites. Therefore, it would seem fitting that we appreciate the potential for progress that digital technology and social media can create, at the same time we continue to be critical of the problematic images and messages that exist in these spaces.
Begin by locating the latest data on digital technology and social media. The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project is a great place to start (www.pewinternet.org). The Pew Center provides a wealth of statistics on everything from social media use and cell phone ownership patterns to on-line dating preferences and sexting behavior among teens. Provide an overview of these latest trends and behaviors for teens, emerging adults, and adults.
Consider national trends in terms of your own media use and consumption patterns. If Facebook is the platform of choice for your age group, is it also your favorite social media site? Are you part of the majority of Americans who have posted a photo or video on a website? Are you with the small but growing number of adults who now use their cell phone as the primary way to view things on the Internet?
Pick two social media sites to compare. These can be ones that you use often or ones that you discovered are commonly used by people in your age group. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, or Instagram might be good places to start.
Next, try to find things on these sites that are intentionally geared towards challenging prejudice, discrimination and oppression. Use the exact same keywords on each site. Here are some concepts to consider, but feel free to use anything presented in the book: anti-racist, feminism, tolerance, diversity, counter-hegemonic, social change, civil rights.
Create two columns on a word document. Put the keyword at the top of the sheet and the two sites you visited at the top of each column. List the first 10 things that came up when you put that keyword in.
Explore the content that came up from your keyword search more thoroughly. Click on some of the links, read through the comments people wrote, examine the images associated with these things. What did you learn? Did you find anything that surprised you? How well does the title of the link match the content that exists on that webpage? Use your sociological imagination to analyze what you found.
Compare and contrast the two websites. When you used the same concept, did both yield similar results? Different results? Did one seem to have more corresponding links than the other? Describe what you found.
Then, consider what you learned about race, gender, class or sexuality in contemporary society. Did you find the information to be mainly academic? Personal or anecdotal? Did the information challenge things like racism or support things like stereotypes? Was the tone of the information hopeful, cynical, aggressive, or optimistic? Does one, both, or neither social media site provide a positive view of race, ethnicity, and diversity? Consider the information provided in the book as you think about these issues. Use your sociological imagination to write a short essay about representations of race, class, gender and sexuality on social media websites.
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