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Project Web Essay: Online Culture and Identities

Prompt:

In this section of the class, we will read several essays about how identity—and the ways in which we present ourselves—can be influenced by online cultures. Online cultures and social media can have a positive impact on our lives and identities, but it can also have a destructive or negative influence, and sometimes it’s a little of both. 

·       Write about a way that an online culture is connected in a significant and influential way to how people form or express identity, and make a complex claim about that connection using  examples and analysis to illustrate that claim. 

Sample Topics Inspiration:Note: You are not limited to these.  These are simply examples of the types of topics that would fit this question.

  • How an online culture/subculture has shaped/changed/influenced your own identity and outlook on the world. Is this subculture you identify with different from the one you were raised in?  If so, how have these differences been significant to you?  How has the online culture impacted people who participate in it as a whole?
  • The influence online music and music subcultures on the development of identity, for example, what it means to identify as a punk, underground hip hop fan, a goth, a scene kid, a metalhead, a raver, etc in a YouTube, iTunes, and Spotify world?  How might this be different from music subcultures of the past?
  • The impact of online fandoms and “geek culture” on your identity and interact with the world
  • The significance of online communities on LGBTQ people and identities.

·       The influence of Facebook on how friends and families communicate, and how that changes the way we see and interact with each other.

·       How social media sites like Tumblr, Reddit, 4chan, and other sites create communities and influence the identities, self-expression, or social experiences of their users

Your essay should do these things: 

·       First, it should have a clear main point (thesis statement) that makes a claim about the connection between online culture and identity.

·       Second, it should show an awareness of the conversation that is already going on about these issues. You should do this by fully describe the specific connection between online culture and identity that you choose to discuss and also summarize some of the ideas that you have found in the class readings or in your own experience or research.

·       Third, it should build a clear, coherent argument in response to the prompt and the sources that you choose. 

Sources: Outside sources are admired but not required for this essay. IF you find or incorporate articles into your essay that connect to the issues you are discussing, you must correctly quote and cite them. Please see the MLA section of your Handbook and the Incorporating Sources Handout for guidance. We will also discuss how to cite sources and avoiding plagiarism in class.  

Length: 1200 words minimum. 1200 words is approximately 4 pages. IF you do outside research, you must also cite any outside sources you include in your essay, including readings we do in class. We will discuss MLA format in class at a later date, so you will not be graded on MLA correctness, but please give it your best shot anyway when you cite your sources for this paper. You can find an MLA guide starting on page 109 of The Little Seagull Handbook. 

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