Your goals in writing the campaign analysis essay are to enhance your critical thinking abilities, to develop a more concrete understanding of how an argument is formed and supported (on social media and in academic writing), to gain a more comprehensive understanding of your chosen industry and/or organizations’ industry and audience, and to practice close reading and analysis of challenging texts.
Choose one of your three organization or individuals and examine their social media campaigns from the past three to four months. This paper will answer the following question: Is their social media presence effective? Why or why not?
You will want to be specific in your analysis, which means you cannot speak to every action the organization or individual took on social media over the past months. Instead, you’ll likely need to summarize to provide context and background and then focus on what is most important and/or interesting to you in determining whether or not the campaign is successful.
In order to do this effectively, you will need to take into consideration the rhetorical situation (writer, audience, and purpose). Specifically and explicitly, in your paper, to argue about whether the campaign is successful, you will need to explain/explore the following:
- Who is the speaker/writer? From what perspective or place is the organization or individual writing? (For instance, is the company well known or a start-up? Is the individual working against any pre-conceived ideas or recent scandals?)
- What is the campaign’s purpose on social media? (To sell, perhaps? To raise awareness? To gain “clicks”? To brand or expand the organization’s presence? Some other purpose all together?).
- Who is the intended audience? (How do you know this? What do you know about them?)
Additionally, to help you narrow your focus, you might consider the following brainstorming/focusing questions:
- What is the overall argument the campaign is making? What smaller arguments are made in individual posts? How are they made? Is the social media presence consistent over time?
- In what ways do you see the organization or individual attempting to reach (or interact with) their specific intended audience? Are they successful in doing so?
- What types of rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos, logos) does the campaign use?
- What do we know about the industry and/or culture in which the organization or individual is operating? How does this play into their social media presence?
- Does the organization or individual rely on multi-modal or image-driven texts vs. written texts?
- What social media venues are used? Is this sufficient? Is it overkill?
- Do you notice patterns (a cohesive marketing campaign) or does outreach seem more random?
- Which posts stand out to you (for any reason)? Why? Are some posts especially well done? What makes them so? Does anything strike you as ineffective, confusing, contrary, or potentially problematic about the campaign as a whole or about individual posts?
- How would you describe the language and tone used? What effect do these choices have on their intended audience?
- In what ways could the campaign be more effective?
A broad view very seldom yields interesting, significant analysis. Instead, you should choose very specific elements of the campaign on which to focus your paper. Answering these questions will be a starting point to focusing, and then ultimately writing, this paper. After answering them, you should begin to collect your evidence—quotes and sections of the campaign that support your overarching argument. From there, we will work in class to focus, organize, and order our work—meaning, your paper will not explicitly answer each question above. The content and argument of your campaign will likely dictate your focus. Ultimately, regardless of how you choose to focus your essay, your essay must be focused.
I would expect to see the paper organized in a way similar to the outline below:
Introduction – Lead us into the paper in an interesting and engaging way, while avoiding overarching, broad, bland statements. In either the introduction or very soon after, your reader will need to understand the rhetorical situation of the campaign or campaigns you are examining. Towards the end of the introductory paragraph, readers usually expect to encounter the thesis statement. Remember thatyour thesis statement should meet all of the following requirements:
- It answers the question of the prompt
- It is debatable
- It is complex (and not obvious)
- It is specific and focused
- It answers how and/or why
- It uses 100% clear, strong language
Support – Your campaign analysis must include textual support (the actual words of the text that support your argument) as you consider the questions above, along with your own analysis of the ways in which the text is or is not effective. You must support your claim with textual evidence by showing us the written, visual, or multimodal texts used by the organization or individual you are examining. You should work to limit paragraphs to one main idea (but you should not limit yourself to, as many of you are used to from high school writing, only three supporting paragraphs).
Conclusion – Ultimately, in addition to a summary of your argument, the conclusion should answer the question “so what?” and consider the larger implications of your argument.
Your classmates and I are the audience for this essay.
- Your paper should have a title.
- Please use page numbers.
- Cite your information using MLA parenthetical citations. (See Purdue OWL guide.)
- Your paper should be 4-5 pages in length, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, with one-inch margins on all sides.
An “A” paper follows the prompt, but also shows insight and attention to detail. The thesis statement is novel, sophisticated, and 100% clear. The paper should make a clear, specific, unique argument, and support it appropriately through both textual support and your own analysis. It is important to be concise in all parts of your analysis. You’re being asked to cover a lot of ground in a short number of words, so time spent revising for clarity and conciseness is crucial. As always, your essay should be logically organized, grammatically correct, and use proper punctuation.
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