Essay on Social Media for School Students and Children

500+ words essay on social media.

Social media is a tool that is becoming quite popular these days because of its user-friendly features. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more are giving people a chance to connect with each other across distances. In other words, the whole world is at our fingertips all thanks to social media. The youth is especially one of the most dominant users of social media. All this makes you wonder that something so powerful and with such a massive reach cannot be all good. Like how there are always two sides to a coin, the same goes for social media. Subsequently, different people have different opinions on this debatable topic. So, in this essay on Social Media, we will see the advantages and disadvantages of social media.

Essay on Social Media

Advantages of Social Media

When we look at the positive aspect of social media, we find numerous advantages. The most important being a great device for education . All the information one requires is just a click away. Students can educate themselves on various topics using social media.

Moreover, live lectures are now possible because of social media. You can attend a lecture happening in America while sitting in India.

Furthermore, as more and more people are distancing themselves from newspapers, they are depending on social media for news. You are always updated on the latest happenings of the world through it. A person becomes more socially aware of the issues of the world.

In addition, it strengthens bonds with your loved ones. Distance is not a barrier anymore because of social media. For instance, you can easily communicate with your friends and relatives overseas.

Most importantly, it also provides a great platform for young budding artists to showcase their talent for free. You can get great opportunities for employment through social media too.

Another advantage definitely benefits companies who wish to promote their brands. Social media has become a hub for advertising and offers you great opportunities for connecting with the customer.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Disadvantages of Social Media

Despite having such unique advantages, social media is considered to be one of the most harmful elements of society. If the use of social media is not monitored, it can lead to grave consequences.

a discursive essay about social media

Thus, the sharing on social media especially by children must be monitored at all times. Next up is the addition of social media which is quite common amongst the youth.

This addiction hampers with the academic performance of a student as they waste their time on social media instead of studying. Social media also creates communal rifts. Fake news is spread with the use of it, which poisons the mind of peace-loving citizens.

In short, surely social media has both advantages and disadvantages. But, it all depends on the user at the end. The youth must particularly create a balance between their academic performances, physical activities, and social media. Excess use of anything is harmful and the same thing applies to social media. Therefore, we must strive to live a satisfying life with the right balance.

a discursive essay about social media

FAQs on Social Media

Q.1 Is social media beneficial? If yes, then how?

A.1 Social media is quite beneficial. Social Media offers information, news, educational material, a platform for talented youth and brands.

Q.2 What is a disadvantage of Social Media?

A.2 Social media invades your privacy. It makes you addicted and causes health problems. It also results in cyberbullying and scams as well as communal hatred.

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Feb 15, 2023

6 Example Essays on Social Media | Advantages, Effects, and Outlines

Got an essay assignment about the effects of social media we got you covered check out our examples and outlines below.

Social media has become one of our society's most prominent ways of communication and information sharing in a very short time. It has changed how we communicate and has given us a platform to express our views and opinions and connect with others. It keeps us informed about the world around us. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have brought individuals from all over the world together, breaking down geographical borders and fostering a genuinely global community.

However, social media comes with its difficulties. With the rise of misinformation, cyberbullying, and privacy problems, it's critical to utilize these platforms properly and be aware of the risks. Students in the academic world are frequently assigned essays about the impact of social media on numerous elements of our lives, such as relationships, politics, and culture. These essays necessitate a thorough comprehension of the subject matter, critical thinking, and the ability to synthesize and convey information clearly and succinctly.

But where do you begin? It can be challenging to know where to start with so much information available. Jenni.ai comes in handy here. Jenni.ai is an AI application built exclusively for students to help them write essays more quickly and easily. Jenni.ai provides students with inspiration and assistance on how to approach their essays with its enormous database of sample essays on a variety of themes, including social media. Jenni.ai is the solution you've been looking for if you're experiencing writer's block or need assistance getting started.

So, whether you're a student looking to better your essay writing skills or want to remain up to date on the latest social media advancements, Jenni.ai is here to help. Jenni.ai is the ideal tool for helping you write your finest essay ever, thanks to its simple design, an extensive database of example essays, and cutting-edge AI technology. So, why delay? Sign up for a free trial of Jenni.ai today and begin exploring the worlds of social networking and essay writing!

Want to learn how to write an argumentative essay? Check out these inspiring examples!

We will provide various examples of social media essays so you may get a feel for the genre.

6 Examples of Social Media Essays

Here are 6 examples of Social Media Essays:

The Impact of Social Media on Relationships and Communication

Introduction:.

The way we share information and build relationships has evolved as a direct result of the prevalence of social media in our daily lives. The influence of social media on interpersonal connections and conversation is a hot topic. Although social media has many positive effects, such as bringing people together regardless of physical proximity and making communication quicker and more accessible, it also has a dark side that can affect interpersonal connections and dialogue.

Positive Effects:

Connecting People Across Distances

One of social media's most significant benefits is its ability to connect individuals across long distances. People can use social media platforms to interact and stay in touch with friends and family far away. People can now maintain intimate relationships with those they care about, even when physically separated.

Improved Communication Speed and Efficiency

Additionally, the proliferation of social media sites has accelerated and simplified communication. Thanks to instant messaging, users can have short, timely conversations rather than lengthy ones via email. Furthermore, social media facilitates group communication, such as with classmates or employees, by providing a unified forum for such activities.

Negative Effects:

Decreased Face-to-Face Communication

The decline in in-person interaction is one of social media's most pernicious consequences on interpersonal connections and dialogue. People's reliance on digital communication over in-person contact has increased along with the popularity of social media. Face-to-face interaction has suffered as a result, which has adverse effects on interpersonal relationships and the development of social skills.

Decreased Emotional Intimacy

Another adverse effect of social media on relationships and communication is decreased emotional intimacy. Digital communication lacks the nonverbal cues and facial expressions critical in building emotional connections with others. This can make it more difficult for people to develop close and meaningful relationships, leading to increased loneliness and isolation.

Increased Conflict and Miscommunication

Finally, social media can also lead to increased conflict and miscommunication. The anonymity and distance provided by digital communication can lead to misunderstandings and hurtful comments that might not have been made face-to-face. Additionally, social media can provide a platform for cyberbullying , which can have severe consequences for the victim's mental health and well-being.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the impact of social media on relationships and communication is a complex issue with both positive and negative effects. While social media platforms offer many benefits, such as connecting people across distances and enabling faster and more accessible communication, they also have a dark side that can negatively affect relationships and communication. It is up to individuals to use social media responsibly and to prioritize in-person communication in their relationships and interactions with others.

The Role of Social Media in the Spread of Misinformation and Fake News

Social media has revolutionized the way information is shared and disseminated. However, the ease and speed at which data can be spread on social media also make it a powerful tool for spreading misinformation and fake news. Misinformation and fake news can seriously affect public opinion, influence political decisions, and even cause harm to individuals and communities.

The Pervasiveness of Misinformation and Fake News on Social Media

Misinformation and fake news are prevalent on social media platforms, where they can spread quickly and reach a large audience. This is partly due to the way social media algorithms work, which prioritizes content likely to generate engagement, such as sensational or controversial stories. As a result, false information can spread rapidly and be widely shared before it is fact-checked or debunked.

The Influence of Social Media on Public Opinion

Social media can significantly impact public opinion, as people are likelier to believe the information they see shared by their friends and followers. This can lead to a self-reinforcing cycle, where misinformation and fake news are spread and reinforced, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

The Challenge of Correcting Misinformation and Fake News

Correcting misinformation and fake news on social media can be a challenging task. This is partly due to the speed at which false information can spread and the difficulty of reaching the same audience exposed to the wrong information in the first place. Additionally, some individuals may be resistant to accepting correction, primarily if the incorrect information supports their beliefs or biases.

In conclusion, the function of social media in disseminating misinformation and fake news is complex and urgent. While social media has revolutionized the sharing of information, it has also made it simpler for false information to propagate and be widely believed. Individuals must be accountable for the information they share and consume, and social media firms must take measures to prevent the spread of disinformation and fake news on their platforms.

The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health and Well-Being

Social media has become an integral part of modern life, with billions of people around the world using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay connected with others and access information. However, while social media has many benefits, it can also negatively affect mental health and well-being.

Comparison and Low Self-Esteem

One of the key ways that social media can affect mental health is by promoting feelings of comparison and low self-esteem. People often present a curated version of their lives on social media, highlighting their successes and hiding their struggles. This can lead others to compare themselves unfavorably, leading to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

Cyberbullying and Online Harassment

Another way that social media can negatively impact mental health is through cyberbullying and online harassment. Social media provides a platform for anonymous individuals to harass and abuse others, leading to feelings of anxiety, fear, and depression.

Social Isolation

Despite its name, social media can also contribute to feelings of isolation. At the same time, people may have many online friends but need more meaningful in-person connections and support. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression.

Addiction and Overuse

Finally, social media can be addictive, leading to overuse and negatively impacting mental health and well-being. People may spend hours each day scrolling through their feeds, neglecting other important areas of their lives, such as work, family, and self-care.

In sum, social media has positive and negative consequences on one's psychological and emotional well-being. Realizing this, and taking measures like reducing one's social media use, reaching out to loved ones for help, and prioritizing one's well-being, are crucial. In addition, it's vital that social media giants take ownership of their platforms and actively encourage excellent mental health and well-being.

The Use of Social Media in Political Activism and Social Movements

Social media has recently become increasingly crucial in political action and social movements. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have given people new ways to express themselves, organize protests, and raise awareness about social and political issues.

Raising Awareness and Mobilizing Action

One of the most important uses of social media in political activity and social movements has been to raise awareness about important issues and mobilize action. Hashtags such as #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, for example, have brought attention to sexual harassment and racial injustice, respectively. Similarly, social media has been used to organize protests and other political actions, allowing people to band together and express themselves on a bigger scale.

Connecting with like-minded individuals

A second method in that social media has been utilized in political activity and social movements is to unite like-minded individuals. Through social media, individuals can join online groups, share knowledge and resources, and work with others to accomplish shared objectives. This has been especially significant for geographically scattered individuals or those without access to traditional means of political organizing.

Challenges and Limitations

As a vehicle for political action and social movements, social media has faced many obstacles and restrictions despite its many advantages. For instance, the propagation of misinformation and fake news on social media can impede attempts to disseminate accurate and reliable information. In addition, social media corporations have been condemned for censorship and insufficient protection of user rights.

In conclusion, social media has emerged as a potent instrument for political activism and social movements, giving voice to previously unheard communities and galvanizing support for change. Social media presents many opportunities for communication and collaboration. Still, users and institutions must be conscious of the risks and limitations of these tools to promote their responsible and productive usage.

The Potential Privacy Concerns Raised by Social Media Use and Data Collection Practices

With billions of users each day on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, social media has ingrained itself into every aspect of our lives. While these platforms offer a straightforward method to communicate with others and exchange information, they also raise significant concerns over data collecting and privacy. This article will examine the possible privacy issues posed by social media use and data-gathering techniques.

Data Collection and Sharing

The gathering and sharing of personal data are significant privacy issues brought up by social media use. Social networking sites gather user data, including details about their relationships, hobbies, and routines. This information is made available to third-party businesses for various uses, such as marketing and advertising. This can lead to serious concerns about who has access to and uses our personal information.

Lack of Control Over Personal Information

The absence of user control over personal information is a significant privacy issue brought up by social media usage. Social media makes it challenging to limit who has access to and how data is utilized once it has been posted. Sensitive information may end up being extensively disseminated and may be used maliciously as a result.

Personalized Marketing

Social media companies utilize the information they gather about users to target them with adverts relevant to their interests and usage patterns. Although this could be useful, it might also cause consumers to worry about their privacy since they might feel that their personal information is being used without their permission. Furthermore, there are issues with the integrity of the data being used to target users and the possibility of prejudice based on individual traits.

Government Surveillance

Using social media might spark worries about government surveillance. There are significant concerns regarding privacy and free expression when governments in some nations utilize social media platforms to follow and monitor residents.

In conclusion, social media use raises significant concerns regarding data collecting and privacy. While these platforms make it easy to interact with people and exchange information, they also gather a lot of personal information, which raises questions about who may access it and how it will be used. Users should be aware of these privacy issues and take precautions to safeguard their personal information, such as exercising caution when choosing what details to disclose on social media and keeping their information sharing with other firms to a minimum.

The Ethical and Privacy Concerns Surrounding Social Media Use And Data Collection

Our use of social media to communicate with loved ones, acquire information, and even conduct business has become a crucial part of our everyday lives. The extensive use of social media does, however, raise some ethical and privacy issues that must be resolved. The influence of social media use and data collecting on user rights, the accountability of social media businesses, and the need for improved regulation are all topics that will be covered in this article.

Effect on Individual Privacy:

Social networking sites gather tons of personal data from their users, including delicate information like search history, location data, and even health data. Each user's detailed profile may be created with this data and sold to advertising or used for other reasons. Concerns regarding the privacy of personal information might arise because social media businesses can use this data to target users with customized adverts.

Additionally, individuals might need to know how much their personal information is being gathered and exploited. Data breaches or the unauthorized sharing of personal information with other parties may result in instances where sensitive information is exposed. Users should be aware of the privacy rules of social media firms and take precautions to secure their data.

Responsibility of Social Media Companies:

Social media firms should ensure that they responsibly and ethically gather and use user information. This entails establishing strong security measures to safeguard sensitive information and ensuring users are informed of what information is being collected and how it is used.

Many social media businesses, nevertheless, have come under fire for not upholding these obligations. For instance, the Cambridge Analytica incident highlighted how Facebook users' personal information was exploited for political objectives without their knowledge. This demonstrates the necessity of social media corporations being held responsible for their deeds and ensuring that they are safeguarding the security and privacy of their users.

Better Regulation Is Needed

There is a need for tighter regulation in this field, given the effect, social media has on individual privacy as well as the obligations of social media firms. The creation of laws and regulations that ensure social media companies are gathering and using user information ethically and responsibly, as well as making sure users are aware of their rights and have the ability to control the information that is being collected about them, are all part of this.

Additionally, legislation should ensure that social media businesses are held responsible for their behavior, for example, by levying fines for data breaches or the unauthorized use of personal data. This will provide social media businesses with a significant incentive to prioritize their users' privacy and security and ensure they are upholding their obligations.

In conclusion, social media has fundamentally changed how we engage and communicate with one another, but this increased convenience also raises several ethical and privacy issues. Essential concerns that need to be addressed include the effect of social media on individual privacy, the accountability of social media businesses, and the requirement for greater regulation to safeguard user rights. We can make everyone's online experience safer and more secure by looking more closely at these issues.

In conclusion, social media is a complex and multifaceted topic that has recently captured the world's attention. With its ever-growing influence on our lives, it's no surprise that it has become a popular subject for students to explore in their writing. Whether you are writing an argumentative essay on the impact of social media on privacy, a persuasive essay on the role of social media in politics, or a descriptive essay on the changes social media has brought to the way we communicate, there are countless angles to approach this subject.

However, writing a comprehensive and well-researched essay on social media can be daunting. It requires a thorough understanding of the topic and the ability to articulate your ideas clearly and concisely. This is where Jenni.ai comes in. Our AI-powered tool is designed to help students like you save time and energy and focus on what truly matters - your education. With Jenni.ai , you'll have access to a wealth of examples and receive personalized writing suggestions and feedback.

Whether you're a student who's just starting your writing journey or looking to perfect your craft, Jenni.ai has everything you need to succeed. Our tool provides you with the necessary resources to write with confidence and clarity, no matter your experience level. You'll be able to experiment with different styles, explore new ideas , and refine your writing skills.

So why waste your time and energy struggling to write an essay on your own when you can have Jenni.ai by your side? Sign up for our free trial today and experience the difference for yourself! With Jenni.ai, you'll have the resources you need to write confidently, clearly, and creatively. Get started today and see just how easy and efficient writing can be!

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Social Media Essay: Benefits and Drawbacks of Social Networking Sites

The advent of various social media channels has revolutionized the internet landscape by introducing us to global networking. Today, an individual can connect with another in a completely different part of this world just in a matter of seconds. We will take you through various notions and opinions associated with social media and how they impact our everyday lives. Also, there are some incredible tips to give you a better insight into how to write a social media essay.

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Sep 03 2020 ● 8 min read

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Table of Contents

What is social media essay, how do you write a social media essay, structure of social media essay, various tones of a social media essay, incorporate an attractive topic.

As you know, an social media essay is a piece of writing that is used to introduce an essential topic to the world with its underlying advantages and disadvantages. These aspects are driven solely by facts and should not contain the opinions of the writers. It is drafted to give others a better understanding of the subject in hand.

No matter which subject it pertains to, an essay ends with a conclusion where the writers are permitted to give their opinion after weighing the advantages and disadvantages.

Similarly, a social media essay is written to appreciate the positive aspects and highlight the negative impacts of social media in this time and day. The conclusions include the analysis of the two elements by the writers in their own lives and give an open-ended point of view. Depending upon the essay writer or paper writing service , the decision can be decisive, too, but that is not encouraged.

Today, the use of social networks, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, or LinkedIn, has increased exponentially. An average millennial spends 2 hours and 58 minutes per day on social media platforms like Facebook. While some say that the platform is super-informative, others argue that all the information gathered on this platform is trivial and doesn't justify long hours invested in the use of social media.

The above arguments make using social media by individuals with a debatable issue, and this is why a lot of students are required to write an essay on social media. So, here are some incredible tips to help you out in writing an essay on social media even if you don't have marketing skills .

A classic essay consists of 3 parts – the introduction, main body, and the conclusion.

  • The Introduction

As you introduce the main topic, always begin with how it is relevant to the current scenario. You can do this by providing some background information. The information can be made richer by adding some reliable stats and data . Once you have established the topic, you need to give a strong thesis statement of the hypothesis on which your essay is based.

The thesis statement in your essay should be precise and debatable. If not, the arguments that you are going to put forward in the essay would make no sense.

The main body of your text should consist of logical arguments in relevance to your hypothesis. Make sure you put forward one statement in one paragraph and start a new one with another section. This will make your essay look more organized.

Also, when developing ideas, only include the ones you can write clearly about. If not, avoid them. Make sure that the essay develops coherently.

To conclude the essay about social media, bring back your hypothesis, and state how the aspects you discussed earlier support or nullify it. Make it a point to summarize all ideas, but do not start adding more ideas when you are about to conclude. You can now give an, ideally, open end to your essay.

A great conclusion is the one that provokes thought and will make your readers question the use of social media in their everyday lives.

Also, remember that essays do not have to include pros and cons always. They can either be full of pros or cons or both, depending upon your hypothesis. Just ensure they are relevant.

You might believe that an essay is an essay, and two of them would be similar, but that's a misconception. Different essays have varying tones depending on how the author is treating the thesis statement through the main body of the text. Here are a few examples of essays on social media in different tones.

  • Sample of a Persuasive Essay

If you are asked to write an academic paper about the effects of social media on the mental health of teenagers and young adults, you should make it persuasive. For this, just writing about the topic is not enough. It would help if you had an impactful thesis, followed by powerful arguments to support or question your theory.

The perils associated with social media addiction are forcing parents and "grown-ups" to throw their benefits in bad light today. In the race to become best in academics and non-academic activities, people are losing their grip on how social networks bring people together. They empower individuals with knowledge about various cultures and languages, which might not have been possible otherwise.

Social media sites can be addictive, and students might waste their formative years scrolling through the trivial feed and gain nothing but superficial knowledge. But that is just because neither parents nor the school is encouraging positive social media behavior. If these institutions start offering tips to students to limit and utilize their time on social media , one would be amazed to see their achievements.

Is social media a catalyst for the downfall of student life? Well, social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and more are teeming with inspirational achievers and content creators who go the extra mile to share their stories and inspire students. If the children are taught to see their access to social media as an opportunity to grow rather than a competition for likes and followers, they are bound to work harder and achieve goals that seemed insurmountable earlier.

  • Sample of Negative Essay about social media

If you have been asked to highlight the negative aspects of social media, your teacher does not mean that you have to cross all limits to present the use of social media in a bad light. Instead, what they are asking for is some logical and believable arguments that tell us why social media is harmful to society.

Social media is destroying family links by creating a virtual shell for each individual, which dissociates them with their own parents and siblings. The kids are adversely affected by increased access to social media if parents are always indulged in their devices and ignore them. Eventually, even kids start using tools to connect to other people, ignoring their family members.

Since kids and teenagers are the most impressionable age groups, they start believing that everything that glitters on social media platforms is gold, and they become materialistic. Their lives start revolving around likes, comments, and followers/subscribers. No matter whether their minds are prepared for such exposure or not, social media exposes them to the best and the worst about this world, which might turn them into rebels. They start valuing their online friends more than their offline lives and go to unimaginable extents to keep them entertained.

So, parents and elders need to pay attention to their children and limit their social media use so that they can learn to form real relationships and values.

  • Weighing the pros and cons

Another way in which you can present your social media essay is by comparing the positive and negative aspects associated with it. In such essays, the conclusion is better left open for the readers to decide their own take on social media.

One cannot argue that social media has taken the world by storm by allowing like-minded individuals to connect and share their experiences with the world. You can use these platforms to make new friends and discover the ones who have lost touch. You can talk to everyone on your friend list and share your content on these channels to become a part of the creators' community. There is no dearth for talent on social media and its admirers.

On the other hand, if you use social media sites for long stretches of time in one go, you run the risk of addiction. Gradually, a social media addict starts to build a cocoon for themselves, which they find hard to step out of. This leads to a disconnect between you and the family you already have and love. One might feel too confined yet comfortable in their space that they have no urge left to step out, pushing them towards social seclusion, or worse – depression.

When you flip the coin again, you will discover that social media has become an incredible platform for small businesses to grow and earn good profits . The grass-root companies do not have to invest much for advertising and promotion or even own an establishment. All they have to do is to create a grassroots marketing strategy for themselves, and their brand will start selling in no time!

In the end, social media is a game-changer on the World Wide Web. It allows people to connect with the virtual world with the risk of disconnecting with the real world. Then again, businesses are doing well on these platforms. There are indeed two sides to social media, one positive and another negative, and it is up to you which one you lean towards more.

  • Argumentative social media essay

A challenging but equally exciting type of essay on social media you should know about is an argumentative essay. It is often written when you are tasked with altering the point of view of the reader, which is of a completely opposite belief. Here is a sample for your better understanding.

Social networks have an uncertain future with the string impression they leave on users, especially the younger generations. Parents panic with the first mention of social media sites by their children and learning about their presence on these platforms because they are afraid of cyberbullying. They do not want their children to get cat-fished by some stranger on Reddit when they are not around.

Moreover, social media platforms are the reason why several individuals are losing their confidential data every day to corporate houses. These businesses are using the information to bug users with ads about stuff they do not want to buy.

If such instances carry on, the day is not far when the government will start to keep checks on the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other channels. Massive surveillance will be imposed on these sites to prevent malicious minds from harming innocent teenagers physically or by hacking into their systems. So, before you get a chance to ask " have I been hacked ", know that someone is taking care of it.

Having an attractive topic for your social media essay does not mean using poetic words in it. You should have an issue relevant to the current scenario. In the process of selecting a fascinating topic, do not forget to keep it within the extents of your knowledge. If it becomes too complicated for you to write about, you will be stuck when coming up with arguments and ideas.

The perfect topic would be the one which offers good potential for research and is interesting for the readers too. Even if you present profound arguments about such topics, they should be in a logical, comprehensible, and readable format for people to understand easily.

Writing a social media essay is no cakewalk, whether you are a high-school student or university student. All you need to do is, structuralize it properly, be clear with the ideas and arguments you are planning to present, pick the tone of your essay, and began writing. Do not forget to top your essay up with a catchy topic so that your entire hard work doesn't fall flat.

Published on Sep 03 2020

Gintaras is an experienced marketing professional who is always eager to explore the most up-to-date issues in data marketing. Having worked as an SEO manager at several companies, he's a valuable addition to the Whatagraph writers' pool.

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How to Write a Discursive Essay

November 17, 2023

A discursive essay is a type of academic writing that presents both sides of an argument or issue. Unlike an argumentative essay where you take a clear stance and defend it, a discursive essay allows you to explore different perspectives and provide an objective analysis. It requires careful research, critical thinking, and the ability to present logical arguments in a structured manner.

In a discursive essay, you are expected to examine the topic thoroughly, present evidence and examples to support your points, and address counterarguments to demonstrate a balanced understanding of the issue. The purpose is not to persuade the reader to take a particular side, but rather to present a comprehensive view of the topic. By mastering the art of writing a discursive essay, you can effectively convey complex ideas and contribute to meaningful discussions on various subjects.

What’s different about writing a discursive essay

Writing a discursive essay differs from other types of essays in several ways. Here are some key differences to consider when approaching this particular form of academic writing:

  • Explores multiple perspectives: Unlike an argumentative essay, a discursive essay examines different viewpoints on a given topic. It requires you to gather information, analyze various arguments, and present a balanced view.
  • Structured presentation: A discursive essay follows a clear structure that helps organize your thoughts and arguments. It typically consists of an introduction, several body paragraphs discussing different arguments, and a conclusion.
  • Impartiality and objectivity: While other essays may require you to take a stance or defend a particular position, a discursive essay aims for objectivity. You should present arguments and evidence without bias and demonstrate a fair understanding of each viewpoint.
  • Importance of research: Good research is essential for a discursive essay. You should gather information from reliable sources, consider various perspectives, and present evidence to support your ideas.
  • Addressing counterarguments: In a discursive essay, it is crucial to acknowledge and address counterarguments. By doing so, you show a comprehensive understanding of the topic and strengthen your own argument.
  • Use of transitions: To maintain coherence and provide a smooth flow of ideas, appropriate transitions should be used to link paragraphs and signal shifts between arguments.

By recognizing these key differences and adapting your writing style accordingly, you can effectively write a discursive essay that engages the reader and presents a well-rounded discussion of the topic.

Step-by-Step Discursive Essay Writing Guide

Selecting a topic.

Selecting a topic for a discursive essay is a crucial first step in the writing process. Here are some considerations to help you choose an appropriate and engaging topic:

  • Relevance: Select a topic that is relevant and holds significance in the current context. It should be something that sparks interest and discussion among readers.
  • Controversy: Look for topics that have multiple perspectives and controversial viewpoints. This will allow you to explore different arguments and present a balanced analysis.
  • Research opportunities: Choose a topic that offers ample research opportunities. This ensures that you have access to reliable sources and enough material to support your arguments.
  • Personal interest: It is easier to write about a topic that you are genuinely interested in. Consider your own passion and areas of expertise when selecting a subject for your essay.
  • Scope and depth: Ensure that the chosen topic is neither too broad nor too narrow. It should provide enough scope for thorough analysis and discussion within the word limit of your essay.

Remember, the topic sets the foundation for your discursive essay. Take time to consider these factors and select a topic that aligns with your interests, research capabilities, and the potential to present a well-rounded discussion.

Possible Discursive Essay Topics:

  • The impact of social media on society.
  • Should euthanasia be legalized?
  • Pros and cons of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
  • The influence of technology on human interactions.
  • Is homeschooling more beneficial than traditional schooling?
  • The effects of climate change on the environment.
  • Should animal testing be banned?
  • The advantages and disadvantages of globalization.
  • The ethics of capital punishment.
  • The legalization of marijuana: pros and cons.

Write the Thesis Statement

The thesis statement in a discursive essay serves as the central argument or main claim that sets the tone for the entire essay. It typically appears in the introductory paragraph and guides the reader’s understanding of the essay’s purpose and direction. Here are some key points to consider when crafting an effective thesis statement for a discursive essay:

  • Clear stance: The thesis statement should clearly express your position or viewpoint on the topic. It should present a concise statement that reflects your overall argument or analysis.
  • Controversy: The thesis statement should highlight the controversy or debate surrounding the topic. It should indicate that there are multiple perspectives to be explored and that you will discuss them in a balanced manner.
  • Specificity: The thesis statement should not be too vague or general. It should address a specific aspect of the topic that you will focus on in your essay.
  • Clarity: The thesis statement should be clear and easy to understand. It should provide a clear sense of direction for the reader, indicating the main points that will be discussed in the essay.
  • Strong and compelling: The thesis statement should be strong and compelling, capturing the attention of the reader. It should be a statement that provokes thoughtful analysis and discussion.

By considering these factors, you can develop a thesis statement that effectively sets the tone for your discursive essay and captures the essence of your argument or analysis.

Conducting Research

Conducting thorough research is a critical step in writing a discursive essay. Here are some essential tips to help you effectively gather information and sources:

  • Define your research question: Clearly define the question or issue you want to explore in your essay. This will guide your research and help you stay focused.
  • Use a variety of sources: Gather information from a diverse range of sources, such as books, scholarly articles, reputable websites, and academic journals. This will ensure a well-rounded and comprehensive understanding of the topic.
  • Evaluate the credibility of sources: Assess the reliability and credibility of each source before including it in your essay. Consider factors such as author credentials, publication date, peer-reviewed status, and the reputation of the source.
  • Take organized notes: As you read and review your sources, take organized notes to keep track of key points, quotes, and references. This will make it easier to cite sources accurately later.
  • Analyze and synthesize information: Analyze the information you have gathered and synthesize it into coherent arguments. Identify common themes, patterns, and conflicting viewpoints that will form the basis of your essay.
  • Address counterarguments: Remember to consider and address counterarguments in your research. Engaging with opposing viewpoints will strengthen your arguments and demonstrate a well-rounded understanding of the topic.

By following these research strategies, you can gather reliable and varied sources to support your discursive essay, ensuring a balanced and well-informed discussion of the topic.

Writing the Introduction

The introduction sets the tone and direction for a discursive essay, providing context and background information on the topic. Here are some key elements to include when writing the introduction to a discursive essay:

  • Grab the reader’s attention: Use a hook or attention-grabbing statement to draw the reader in and generate interest in the topic.
  • Introduce the topic: Clearly state the topic and provide some background information to contextualize the issue.
  • Define key terms: Define any key terms related to the topic that may be unfamiliar to the reader.
  • Present the thesis statement: Clearly state your main argument or claim, which sets the tone for the rest of the essay.
  • Outline the structure: Briefly outline the main points or arguments that will be addressed in the essay.
  • Write in a discursive style: Use a discursive style of writing in the introduction that presents multiple viewpoints on the topic.

By including these elements, you can craft an effective introduction to your discursive essay that engages the reader, establishes the context for the topic, and clearly presents your thesis statement. Remember to present a balanced analysis of multiple viewpoints, maintaining the discursive style of the essay.

Presenting Arguments and Counterarguments

Presenting arguments and counterarguments is a crucial aspect of writing a discursive essay. Here are some strategies to effectively structure and present your arguments and counterarguments:

  • Identify key arguments: Begin by identifying the main arguments or perspectives related to the topic. These arguments will form the basis of your essay and provide a framework for your analysis.
  • Develop supporting evidence: Gather relevant evidence, examples, statistics, or expert opinions to support each argument. This evidence should be well-researched and credible to strengthen your claims.
  • Present arguments in a logical order: Organize your arguments in a logical and coherent manner. You can choose to present each argument separately, dedicating individual paragraphs to each one or use a point-counterpoint approach where you counter each argument with a counterargument.
  • Address counterarguments: Acknowledge and include counterarguments in your essay to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the topic. Refute counterarguments by presenting contrasting evidence or providing a persuasive rebuttal.
  • Provide balanced analysis: While presenting arguments and counterarguments, ensure a balanced analysis that gives due weight to each viewpoint. Avoid bias and strive for objectivity by presenting evidence from various perspectives.
  • Use transition words and phrases: Utilize appropriate transition words and phrases to guide the reader through the presentation of arguments and counterarguments. Examples include “on the one hand,” “however,” “in contrast,” “nevertheless,” etc.

By following these strategies, you can effectively present arguments and counterarguments in your discursive essay, demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of the topic and engaging the reader in a thoughtful analysis.

Writing the Body Paragraphs

When writing the body paragraphs of a discursive essay, it’s important to present a balanced and well-structured analysis of the topic. Here are some key strategies to consider:

  • Organize your paragraphs: Each body paragraph should focus on a single argument or idea. Start with a clear topic sentence that introduces the main point of the paragraph.
  • Provide evidence and examples: Support your arguments with evidence, facts, statistics, or examples from credible sources. This will enhance the validity and persuasiveness of your arguments.
  • Use logical reasoning: Present clear and coherent reasoning to connect your evidence with your main argument. Use logic and critical thinking to explain the relevance and significance of your evidence.
  • Consider opposing viewpoints: Acknowledge potential counterarguments and address them within your body paragraphs. Refute counterarguments using logical and evidence-based reasoning.
  • Use paragraphs for different viewpoints: If you’re discussing multiple perspectives or arguments within the same essay, dedicate separate paragraphs to each viewpoint. Clearly indicate transitions between paragraphs to maintain a coherent flow.
  • Include topic sentences and transitions: Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence that clearly states the main idea. Use transitional words and phrases to guide the reader smoothly from one paragraph to the next.

Remember, in a discursive essay, the body paragraphs should explore various arguments and perspectives related to the topic, providing a balanced analysis and supporting evidence. By following these strategies, you can construct well-organized and compelling body paragraphs for your discursive essay.

Incorporating Evidence and Examples

Effectively incorporating evidence and examples is crucial in a discursive essay to support your arguments and strengthen your analysis. Here are some strategies to consider when integrating evidence:

  • Choose credible sources: Gather evidence from reputable and reliable sources such as scholarly articles, books, authoritative websites, or academic journals. This ensures the validity and credibility of the evidence.
  • Use a variety of evidence: Draw from a range of sources to provide a well-rounded perspective on the topic. This can include facts, statistics, expert opinions, case studies, or historical examples.
  • Provide context: When presenting evidence, provide context to help the reader understand its significance. Explain the relevance of the evidence to your argument and how it supports your main points.
  • Analyze and interpret evidence: Avoid simply regurgitating evidence. Instead, analyze and interpret it, explaining how it supports your argument and contributes to your overall analysis.
  • Quote and paraphrase effectively: When using direct quotes, ensure they are relevant and support your argument. Use accurate paraphrasing to summarize and restate ideas from your sources.
  • Cite your sources correctly: Properly cite your sources using a citation style appropriate for your academic field, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago. This gives credit to the original authors and avoids plagiarism.

By incorporating evidence and examples effectively, you can provide a solid foundation for your arguments in a discursive essay, enhancing your credibility and persuasiveness.

Addressing Counterarguments

Addressing counterarguments is an essential component of a discursive essay as it demonstrates critical thinking and strengthens your overall argument. Here are some strategies to effectively address counterarguments:

  • Identify counterarguments: Identify the main counterarguments or opposing viewpoints related to your topic. This shows that you have considered different perspectives on the issue.
  • Understand the counterarguments: Thoroughly analyze and understand the counterarguments before addressing them. This will help you develop a strong response based on evidence and reasoning.
  • Refute the counterarguments: Present a persuasive rebuttal to counterarguments by providing evidence or logical reasoning that challenges or disproves them.
  • Anticipate objections: Address potential objections or criticisms that readers might have. Proactively refute these objections by providing additional evidence or presenting alternative perspectives.
  • Acknowledge validity: Recognize the validity of certain counterarguments or aspects of opposing viewpoints. This demonstrates fairness and strengthens your overall argument by showing that you have carefully considered all sides.
  • Use transitional phrases: Use transitional phrases such as “however,” “although,” or “on the other hand,” to seamlessly introduce counterarguments and your responses.

By effectively addressing counterarguments, you can strengthen your own argument and demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the topic. Engaging with opposing viewpoints in a fair and persuasive manner enhances the overall credibility and impact of your discursive essay.

Concluding the Discursive Essay

Concluding your discursive essay is an opportunity to summarize your main points and leave a lasting impression on the reader. Here are some strategies to effectively conclude your essay:

  • Restate your thesis statement: Begin your conclusion by restating your thesis statement in a concise and clear manner. This reminds the reader of your main argument and reinforces its significance.
  • Summarize your main points: Provide a brief summary of the main points you discussed in the body paragraphs. This helps to reinforce the key arguments and evidence presented throughout the essay.
  • Emphasize the significance of your argument: Highlight the importance and relevance of your argument in relation to the broader context or real-world implications. This helps to leave a lasting impact on the reader.
  • Address counterarguments: Briefly acknowledge the counterarguments you addressed in the essay and reiterate why your main argument is stronger or more compelling.
  • Offer a final thought or call to action: Conclude your essay by offering a final thought, reflection, or call to action that encourages the reader to further consider the topic or take action.
  • Provide closure: End your conclusion by providing a sense of closure to the essay. This can be achieved by offering a conclusive statement or returning to an anecdote or example mentioned earlier in the essay.

By following these strategies, you can effectively conclude your discursive essay, leaving a strong and memorable impression on the reader while summarizing the key points and reinforcing the significance of your argument.

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a discursive essay about social media

How to Write a Discursive Essay: Awesome Guide and Template

a discursive essay about social media

Interesting fact: Did you know that the term "discursive" is derived from the Latin word "discursus," which means to run about or to traverse? This reflects the nature of a discursive essay, as it involves exploring various perspectives, moving through different points of view, and presenting a comprehensive discussion on a given topic.

In this article, you will find out about a discursive essay definition, learn the difference between a discourse and an argumentative essay, gain practical how-to tips, and check out a discursive essay example.  

What Is a Discursive Essay

A discursive essay definition is a type of formal writing that presents a balanced analysis of a particular topic. Unlike an argumentative essay, which takes a firm stance on a single perspective and seeks to persuade the reader to adopt that viewpoint, a discursive essay explores multiple sides of an issue. 

The goal of a discursive essay is to provide a comprehensive overview of the subject, presenting different arguments, counterarguments, and perspectives in a structured and organized manner.

This type of essay encourages critical thinking and reasoned discourse. It typically includes an introduction that outlines the topic and sets the stage for the discussion, followed by a series of body paragraphs that delve into various aspects of the issue. The essay may also address counterarguments and opposing viewpoints. 

Finally, a discursive essay concludes by summarizing the key points and often leaves room for the reader to form their own informed opinion on the matter. This form of writing is commonly assigned in academic settings, allowing students to demonstrate their ability to analyze complex topics and present a well-reasoned exploration of diverse viewpoints. In case you find this type of composition too difficult, just say, ‘ write my paper ,’ and professional writers will take care of it. 

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Difference Between a Discursive Essay and an Argumentative

The main difference between discursive essays and argumentative lies in their overall purpose and approach to presenting information.

  • Discursive: The primary purpose of a discursive essay is to explore and discuss various perspectives on a given topic. How to write a discursive essay is about providing a comprehensive overview of the subject matter by presenting different arguments, opinions, and viewpoints without necessarily advocating for a specific stance.
  • Argumentative: In contrast, an argumentative essay is designed to persuade the reader to adopt a particular viewpoint or take a specific action. It presents a clear and focused argument in favor of the writer's position, often addressing and refuting opposing views.

Tone and Language:

  • Discursive: The tone of a discursive essay is generally more balanced and objective. It allows for a more open exploration of ideas, and the language used is often neutral and formal.
  • Argumentative: An argumentative essay tends to have a more assertive tone. The language is focused on presenting a compelling case from the writer's perspective, and there may be a sense of conviction in the presentation of evidence and reasoning.
  • Discursive Essay: A discursive essay typically follows a more flexible structure. It may present multiple points of view in separate sections, allowing for a free-flowing exploration of the topic.
  • Argumentative Essay: When learning how to write an argumentative essay, students usually follow a more rigid structure, with a clear introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs that present evidence and arguments, and a conclusion that reinforces the writer's stance.

Conclusion:

  • Discursive Essay: The conclusion of a discursive essay often summarizes the main points discussed and may leave room for the reader to form their own opinion on the matter.
  • Argumentative Essay: The conclusion of an argumentative essay reinforces the writer's position and may include a call to action or a clear statement of the desired outcome.

While both types of essays involve critical thinking and analysis, the key distinction lies in their ultimate goals and how they approach the presentation of information. 

Types of Discursive Essay

Before writing a discursive essay, keep in mind that they can be categorized into different types based on their specific purposes and structures. Here are some common types of discursive essays:

purpose of discursive essay

Opinion Essays:

  • Purpose: Expressing and supporting personal opinions on a given topic.
  • Structure: The essay presents the writer's viewpoint and provides supporting evidence, examples, and arguments. It may also address counterarguments to strengthen the overall discussion.

Problem-Solution Essays:

  • Purpose: Identifying a specific problem and proposing effective solutions.
  • Structure: The essay introduces the problem, discusses its causes and effects, and presents possible solutions. It often concludes with a recommendation or call to action.

Compare and Contrast Essays:

  • Purpose: Analyzing similarities and differences between two or more perspectives, ideas, or approaches.
  • Structure: The essay outlines the key points of each perspective, highlighting similarities and differences. A balanced analysis is provided to give the reader a comprehensive understanding.

Cause and Effect Essays:

  • Purpose: Exploring the causes and effects of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Structure: The essay identifies the primary causes and examines their effects or vice versa. It may delve into the chain of events and their implications.

Argumentative Essays:

  • Purpose: Presenting a strong argument in favor of a specific viewpoint.
  • Structure: The essay establishes a clear thesis statement, provides evidence and reasoning to support the argument, and addresses opposing views. It aims to persuade the reader to adopt the writer's perspective.

Pro-Con Essays:

  • Purpose: Evaluating the pros and cons of a given issue.
  • Structure: The essay presents the positive aspects (pros) and negative aspects (cons) of the topic. It aims to provide a balanced assessment and may conclude with a recommendation or a summary of the most compelling points.

Exploratory Essays:

  • Purpose: Investigating and discussing a topic without necessarily advocating for a specific position.
  • Structure: The essay explores various aspects of the topic, presenting different perspectives and allowing the reader to form their own conclusions. It often reflects a process of inquiry and discovery.

These types of discursive essays offer different approaches to presenting information, and the choice of type depends on the specific goals of the essay and the preferences of the writer.

How to Write a Discursive Essay

Unlike other forms of essay writing, a discursive essay demands a unique set of skills, inviting writers to navigate through diverse perspectives, present contrasting viewpoints, and weave a tapestry of balanced arguments. 

You can order custom essay right now to save time to get ready to delve into the art of crafting a compelling discursive essay, unraveling the intricacies of structure, language, and critical analysis. Whether you're a seasoned essayist or a novice in the realm of formal writing, this exploration promises to equip you with the tools needed to articulate your thoughts effectively and engage your audience in thoughtful discourse. 

discursive essay aspects

Discursive Essay Format

The format of a discursive essay plays a crucial role in ensuring a clear, well-organized, and persuasive presentation of multiple perspectives on a given topic. Here is a typical discursive essay structure:

1. Introduction:

  • Hook: Begin with a captivating hook or attention-grabbing statement to engage the reader's interest.
  • Contextualization: Provide a brief overview of the topic and its relevance, setting the stage for the discussion.
  • Thesis Statement: Clearly state the main argument or the purpose of the essay. In a discursive essay, the thesis often reflects the idea that the essay will explore multiple viewpoints without necessarily taking a firm stance.

2. Body Paragraphs:

  • Topic Sentences: Start each body paragraph with a clear topic sentence that introduces the main point or argument.
  • Presentation of Arguments: Devote individual paragraphs to different aspects of the topic, presenting various arguments, perspectives, or evidence. Ensure a logical flow between paragraphs.
  • Address Counterarguments: Acknowledge and address opposing viewpoints to strengthen the overall credibility of your essay.
  • Supporting Evidence: Provide examples, statistics, quotations, or other forms of evidence to bolster each argument.

3. Transitions:

  • Logical Transitions: Use transitional phrases and words to ensure a smooth and logical flow between paragraphs and ideas. This helps readers follow your line of reasoning.

4. Conclusion:

  • Restate Thesis: Summarize the main argument or purpose of the essay without introducing new information.
  • Brief Recap: Provide a concise recap of the key points discussed in the body paragraphs.
  • Closing Thoughts: Offer some closing thoughts or reflections on the significance of the topic. You may also leave room for the reader to consider their own stance.

5. Language and Style:

  • Formal Tone: Maintain a formal and objective tone throughout the essay.
  • Clarity and Coherence: Ensure that your ideas are presented clearly and that there is coherence in your argumentation.
  • Varied Sentence Structure: Use a variety of sentence structures to enhance readability and engagement.

6. References (if applicable):

  • Citations: If you use external sources, cite them appropriately according to the citation style required (e.g., APA, MLA).

Remember, flexibility exists within this format, and the specifics may vary based on the assignment requirements or personal writing preferences. Tailor the structure to suit the demands of your discourse and the expectations of your audience.

Introduction

A discursive essay introduction serves as the gateway to a thought-provoking exploration of diverse perspectives on a given topic. Here's how to structure an effective discursive essay introduction:

  • Begin with a compelling hook that captures the reader's attention. This could be a striking statistic, a thought-provoking quote, a relevant anecdote, or a rhetorical question. 
  • Offer a brief context or background information about the topic. This helps orient the reader and sets the stage for the discussion to follow. 
  • Clearly state the purpose of the essay. This often involves indicating that the essay will explore various perspectives on the topic without necessarily advocating for a specific stance. 
  • Provide a brief overview of the different aspects or arguments that will be explored in the essay. 
  • Conclude the introduction with a clear and concise thesis statement. 

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Writing a discursive essay involves crafting the body of your discursive essay. The number of paragraphs in the body should correspond to the arguments presented, with an additional paragraph dedicated to the opposing viewpoint if you choose to disclose both sides of the argument. If you opt for this approach, alternate the order of the body paragraphs—supporting arguments followed by counterarguments.

Each body paragraph in your discursive essay should focus on a distinct idea. Begin the paragraph with the main idea, provide a concise summary of the argument, and incorporate supporting evidence from reputable sources.

In the concluding paragraph of the body, present potential opposing arguments and counter them. Approach this section as if engaging in a debate, strategically dismantling opposing viewpoints.

While composing the body of a discursive essay, maintain a cohesive narrative. Although individual paragraphs address different arguments, refrain from titling each paragraph—aim for a seamless flow throughout the essay. Express your personal opinions exclusively in the conclusion.

Key guidelines for writing the body of a discursive essay:

  • Remain Unbiased: Prioritize objectivity. Evaluate all facets of the issue, leaving personal sentiments aside.
  • Build Your Argumentation: If you have multiple arguments supporting your viewpoint, present them in separate, well-structured paragraphs. Provide supporting evidence to enhance clarity and credibility.
  • Use an Alternate Writing Style: Present opposing viewpoints in an alternating manner. This means that if the first paragraph supports the main argument, the second should present an opposing perspective. This method enhances clarity and research depth and ensures neutrality.
  • Include Topic Sentences and Evidence: Commence each paragraph with a topic sentence summarizing the argument. This aids reader comprehension. Substantiate your claims with evidence, reinforcing the credibility of your discourse.

By adhering to these principles, you can construct a coherent and well-supported body for your discursive essay.

Conclusion 

Writing an effective conclusion is crucial to leaving a lasting impression on your reader. Here are some tips to guide you in crafting a compelling and impactful conclusion:

  • Begin your conclusion by summarizing the key points discussed in the body of the essay. 
  • Remind the reader of your thesis statement, emphasizing the primary purpose of your discursive essay. 
  • Address the broader significance or implications of the topic. 
  • Explain why the issue is relevant and underscore the importance of considering multiple perspectives in understanding its complexity.
  • Reiterate the balanced nature of your essay. Emphasize that you have explored various viewpoints and arguments without necessarily taking a firm stance.
  • Reinforce the idea that your goal was to present a comprehensive analysis.
  • If applicable, suggest possible recommendations or solutions based on the insights gained from the essay.
  • Encourage the reader to reflect on the topic independently. 
  • Pose open-ended questions or invite them to consider the implications of the arguments presented. 
  • Resist the temptation to introduce new information or arguments in the conclusion.
  • Keep the tone of your conclusion professional and thoughtful. 
  • Conclude your essay with a strong, memorable closing statement.
  • Carefully review your conclusion to ensure clarity and coherence. Edit for grammar, punctuation, and overall writing quality to present a polished final product.

By incorporating these tips into your discursive essay conclusion, you can effectively summarize your arguments, leave a lasting impression, and prompt thoughtful reflection from your readers. Consider using our term paper writing service if you have to deal with a larger assignment that requires more time and effort.

Yays and Nays of Writing Discourse Essays

In learning how to write a discursive essay, certain do's and don'ts serve as guiding principles throughout the writing process. By adhering to these guidelines, writers can navigate the complexities of presenting arguments, counterarguments, and nuanced analyses, ensuring the essay resonates with clarity and persuasiveness.

  • Conduct thorough research on the topic to ensure a well-informed discussion.
  • Present multiple perspectives on the issue, exploring various arguments and viewpoints.
  • Maintain a balanced and neutral tone. Present arguments objectively without expressing personal bias.
  • Structure your essay logically with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Use paragraphs to organize your ideas effectively.
  • Topic Sentences:
  • Include clear topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph to guide the reader through your arguments.
  • Support your arguments with credible evidence from reputable sources to enhance the credibility of your essay.
  • Use transitional words and phrases to ensure a smooth flow between paragraphs and ideas.
  • Engage in critical analysis. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different arguments and viewpoints.
  • Recap key points in the conclusion, summarizing the main arguments and perspectives discussed in the essay.
  • Carefully proofread your essay to correct any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors.
  • Don't express personal opinions in the body of the essay. Save personal commentary for the conclusion.
  • Don't introduce new information or arguments in the conclusion. This section should summarize and reflect on existing content.
  • Don't use overly emotional or subjective language. Maintain a professional and objective tone throughout.
  • Don't rely on personal opinions without sufficient research. Ensure that your arguments are supported by credible evidence.
  • Don't have an ambiguous or unclear thesis statement. Clearly state the purpose of your essay in the introduction.
  • Don't ignore counterarguments. Acknowledge and address opposing viewpoints to strengthen your overall argument.
  • Don't use overly complex language if it doesn't add to the clarity of your arguments. Strive for clarity and simplicity in your writing.
  • Don't present ideas in a disorganized manner. Ensure that there is a logical flow between paragraphs and ideas.
  • Don't excessively repeat the same points. Present a variety of arguments and perspectives to keep the essay engaging.
  • Don't ignore the guidelines provided for the essay assignment. Follow any specific instructions or requirements given by your instructor or institution.

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Discursive Essay Examples

Discursive essay topics.

Writing a discursive essay on a compelling topic holds immense importance as it allows individuals to engage in a nuanced exploration of diverse perspectives. A well-chosen subject encourages critical thinking and deepens one's understanding of complex issues, fostering intellectual growth. 

The process of exploring a good topic enhances research skills as writers delve into varied viewpoints and gather evidence to support their arguments. Moreover, such essays contribute to the broader academic discourse, encouraging readers to contemplate different facets of a subject and form informed opinions.

  • The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Employment.
  • Should Social Media Platforms Regulate Content for Misinformation?
  • Exploring the Ethics of Cloning in Contemporary Science.
  • Universal Basic Income: A Solution for Economic Inequality?
  • The Role of Technology in Shaping Modern Education.
  • Nuclear Energy: Sustainable Solution or Environmental Risk?
  • The Effects of Video Games on Adolescent Behavior.
  • Cybersecurity Threats in the Digital Age: Balancing Privacy and Security.
  • Debunking Common Myths Surrounding Climate Change.
  • The Pros and Cons of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
  • Online Education vs. Traditional Classroom Learning.
  • The Impact of Social Media Influencers on Consumer Behavior.
  • The Ethics of Animal Testing in Medical Research.
  • Universal Healthcare: Addressing Gaps in Healthcare Systems.
  • The Role of Government in Regulating Cryptocurrencies.
  • The Influence of Advertising on Body Image and Self-Esteem.
  • Renewable Energy Sources: A Viable Alternative to Fossil Fuels?
  • The Implications of Space Exploration on Earth's Resources.
  • Is Censorship Justified in the Arts and Entertainment Industry?
  • Examining the Impact of Globalization on Cultural Identity.
  • The Morality of Capital Punishment in the 21st Century.
  • Should Genetic Engineering be Used for Human Enhancement?
  • Social Media and Its Influence on Political Discourse.
  • Balancing Environmental Conservation with Economic Development.
  • The Role of Gender in the Workplace: Achieving Equality.
  • Exploring the Impact of Fast Fashion on the Environment.
  • The Benefits and Risks of Autonomous Vehicles.
  • The Influence of Media on Perceptions of Beauty.
  • Legalization of Marijuana: Addressing Medical and Social Implications.
  • The Impact of Antibiotic Resistance on Global Health.
  • The Pros and Cons of a Cashless Society.
  • Exploring the Relationship Between Technology and Mental Health.
  • The Role of Government Surveillance in Ensuring National Security.
  • Addressing the Digital Divide: Ensuring Access to Technology for All.
  • The Impact of Social Media on Political Activism.
  • The Ethics of Animal Rights and Welfare.
  • Nuclear Disarmament: Necessity or Utopian Ideal?
  • The Effects of Income Inequality on Societal Well-being.
  • The Role of Education in Combating Systemic Racism.
  • The Influence of Pop Culture on Society's Values and Norms.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Its Impact on Creative Industries.
  • The Pros and Cons of Mandatory Vaccination Policies.
  • The Role of Women in Leadership Positions: Breaking the Glass Ceiling.
  • Internet Privacy: Balancing Personal Security and Data Collection.
  • The Impact of Social Media on Youth Mental Health.
  • The Morality of Animal Agriculture and Factory Farming.
  • The Rise of Online Learning Platforms: Transforming Education.
  • Addressing the Digital Gender Gap in STEM Fields.
  • The Impact of Global Tourism on Local Cultures and Environments.
  • Exploring the Implications of 3D Printing Technology in Various Industries.

By the way, we have another great collection of narrative essay topics to get your creative juices flowing.

Wrapping Up

Throughout this guide, you have acquired valuable insights into the art of crafting compelling arguments and presenting diverse perspectives. By delving into the nuances of topic selection, structuring, and incorporating evidence, you could hone your critical thinking skills and sharpen your ability to engage in informed discourse. 

This guide serves as a roadmap, offering not just a set of rules but a toolkit to empower students in their academic journey. As you embark on future writing endeavors, armed with the knowledge gained here, you can confidently navigate the challenges of constructing well-reasoned, balanced discursive essays that contribute meaningfully to academic discourse and foster a deeper understanding of complex issues. If you want to continue your academic learning journey right now, we suggest that you read about the IEEE format next.

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Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker

is a seasoned educational writer focusing on scholarship guidance, research papers, and various forms of academic essays including reflective and narrative essays. His expertise also extends to detailed case studies. A scholar with a background in English Literature and Education, Daniel’s work on EssayPro blog aims to support students in achieving academic excellence and securing scholarships. His hobbies include reading classic literature and participating in academic forums.

a discursive essay about social media

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How to Write a Discursive Essay: Tips, Examples, and Structure

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How to Write a Discursive Essay: Tips, Examples, and Structure

Mastering the Art of Writing a Discursive Essay

Table of contents.

Introduction

Understanding Discursive Essays

Discursive essay writing tips, discursive essay structure, examples of discursive essays, picking the right discursive essay topics, discursive essay format, crafting a strong discursive essay outline, writing an effective discursive essay introduction, nailing the discursive essay conclusion.

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to write a discursive essay effectively. If you’re unfamiliar with this type of essay or want to improve your skills, you’ve come to the right place! This guide will cover How to Write a Discursive Essay , examples, and strategies to help you craft a compelling discursive essay.

Are you ready to master this art of writing ? This article will explain a discursive essay and explore various aspects such as writing tips, structure, examples, and format. So, let’s dive right in and unveil the key elements of an impressive discursive essay.

a discursive essay about social media

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of writing a discursive essay , let’s take a moment to understand its nature and purpose. A discursive essay presents a balanced argument on a particular topic by exploring different perspectives. It requires the writer to consider different viewpoints, present evidence, and critically analyze the subject matter.

Writing a discursive essay can be challenging, but you can excel in this art form with the right approach. Here are some valuable tips that will help you write a discursive essay effectively:

  • Choose an Engaging Topic: Select a topic that is interesting and relevant to your audience. This will make the essay more engaging and enjoyable to read.
  • Thorough Research: Gather extensive information from reliable sources to support your arguments and counterarguments.
  • Plan and Outline: Take the time to plan and create an outline before diving into the writing process. This will help you organize your thoughts and arguments effectively.
  • Clear Introduction: Start with a concise introduction that provides context and grabs the reader’s attention. Clearly state your thesis or main argument.
  • Well-structured Paragraphs: Divide your essay into paragraphs that focus on specific points. Each paragraph should present a new idea or support a previous one.
  • Logical Flow: Maintain a logical flow using transitional words and phrases that connect your ideas and paragraphs smoothly.
  • Balance Your Arguments: Ensure a balance in presenting the pros and cons of each perspective. This will demonstrate your fairness and critical thinking skills.
  • Support with Evidence: Provide evidence, facts, and examples to support your claims and make your arguments more persuasive.
  • Use Clear Language: Avoid jargon and overly complex language. Opt for clear, concise, and precise language that is easy for readers to comprehend.
  • Proofread and Edit: Always revise, proofread, and edit your essay to ensure clarity, coherence, and proper grammar usage.

Following these tips, you’ll be well-equipped to write an impressive discursive essay that effectively presents your arguments and engages your readers.

A well-structured discursive essay enhances readability and ensures that your arguments are coherent. Here’s a suggested structure that you can follow:

  • Hook the reader with an attention-grabbing statement or anecdote.
  • Introduce the topic and provide background information.
  • Present your thesis statement or main argument.
  • Start each paragraph with a topic sentence introducing a new argument or perspective.
  • Provide evidence, examples, and supporting details to justify your claims.
  • Address counterarguments and present rebuttals, showing your ability to consider different viewpoints.
  • Use transitional words to maintain a smooth flow between paragraphs.
  • Summarize the main points discussed in the essay.
  • Restate your thesis statement while considering the arguments presented.
  • End with a thought-provoking statement or call to action.

By adhering to this structure, your discursive essay will be well-organized and easy for readers to follow.

To gain a better understanding of how discursive essays are written, let’s explore a couple of examples:

Example 1: The Impact of Social Media

Introduction: The growing influence of social media in society.

Main Body: Discussing the positive and negative aspects of social media on communication, mental health, privacy, and relationships.

Conclusion: Weighing the overall impact of social media and proposing ways to harness its strengths and mitigate its drawbacks.

Example 2: The Pros and Cons of School Uniforms

Introduction: Introducing the debate on school uniforms.

Main Body: Exploring the arguments supporting school uniforms (such as fostering discipline and equality) and arguments against them (such as limiting self-expression).

Conclusion: Evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of school uniforms and suggesting potential compromises.

These examples illustrate how discursive essays analyze various perspectives on a topic while maintaining a balanced approach.

Choosing an engaging and relevant topic is crucial to capturing your readers’ attention. Here are some popular discursive essay topics to consider:

  • Is social media beneficial or detrimental to society?
  • Should the death penalty be abolished worldwide?
  • Are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) safe for consumption?
  • Should recreational marijuana use be legalized?
  • Are video games responsible for the rise in violence among youth?

When selecting a topic, ensure it is captivating, allows for multiple viewpoints, and is backed by sufficient research material.

While there is flexibility in formatting a discursive essay, adhering to a standard format enhances clarity and readability. Consider following this general format:

  • Font type and size: Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri with a 12-point font size.
  • Line spacing: Double-spaced throughout the essay.
  • Page margins: 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • Title page: Include the essay title, your name, course name, instructor’s name, and submission date (if applicable).
  • Header: Insert a header with your last name and page number (top-right corner).

A consistent format will make your essay more professional and easier to navigate.

a discursive essay about social media

Before writing your discursive essay, creating an outline that organizes your thoughts and arguments effectively is essential. Here’s a sample outline to help you get started:

I. Introduction

B. Background information

C. Thesis statement

II. Main Body

A. Argument 1

1. Supporting evidence

2. Examples

B. Argument 2

C. Argument 3

1 . Supporting evidence

2 . Examples

III. Counterarguments and Rebuttals

A. Counterargument 1

1 . Rebuttal evidence

B. Counterargument 2

C . Counterargument 3

IV. Conclusion

A. Summary of main points

B . Restating the thesis statement

C. Call to action or thought-provoking statement

By structuring your ideas in an outline, you’ll have a clear roadmap for your essay, ensuring that your arguments flow logically.

The introduction of your discursive essay plays a vital role in capturing your reader’s attention and setting the tone for the essay. Here’s how you can make your introduction compelling:

Start With an Engaging Hook: Begin with a captivating opening sentence, such as a surprising statistic, an intriguing question, or a compelling anecdote related to your topic.

Provide Necessary Background Information: Briefly explain the topic and its relevance to the reader.

Present Your Thesis Statement: Clearly state your main argument or thesis, which will guide your essay’s direction and focus.

You’ll establish a strong foundation for your discursive essay by crafting an engaging and informative introduction.

The conclusion of your discursive essay should effectively summarize your main points and leave a lasting impression on your readers. Here’s how you can achieve this:

Summarize the Main Points: Briefly recap the key arguments and perspectives discussed in the essay.

Restate Your Thesis Statement: Reiterate your main argument while considering the various perspectives.

Call to Action or Thought-Provoking Statement: End your essay with a compelling statement or encourage readers to explore the topic further, sparking discussion and reflection.

By crafting a powerful conclusion, you’ll leave a lasting impact on your readers, ensuring they walk away with a clear understanding of your essay’s message.

Congratulations! You’ve now comprehensively understood how to write a discursive essay effectively. Remember to choose an engaging topic, conduct thorough research, create a clear structure, and present balanced arguments while considering different perspectives. Following these guidelines and incorporating our tips, you’ll be well-equipped to craft a compelling discursive essay.

So, start writing your discursive essay following our comprehensive guide. Unlock your writing potential and captivate your readers with an impressive discursive essay that showcases your analytical skills and ability to present compelling arguments. Happy writing!

a discursive essay about social media

Frequently Asked Questions About “How to Write a Discursive Essay Effectively”

What is a discursive essay, and how does it differ from other types of essays.

A discursive essay explores a particular topic by presenting different perspectives and arguments. It differs from other essays, emphasizing balanced, unbiased discussion rather than a single, strong stance.

How should I choose a topic for my discursive essay?

Select a topic that allows for multiple viewpoints and has room for discussion. Controversial issues or topics with various opinions work well, providing ample material for exploration.

What is the typical structure of a discursive essay?

A discursive essay typically has an introduction, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introduction sets the stage, the body paragraphs present different viewpoints, and the conclusion summarizes the key points and your stance.

Is it necessary to choose a side in a discursive essay?

While you don’t have to take a definite side, you should present a balanced view. However, some essay prompts may ask you to argue for or against a particular position.

How do I start the introduction of a discursive essay?

Begin with a hook to capture the reader’s attention, provide background information, and clearly state the issue you will discuss. End the introduction with a thesis statement that outlines your approach.

Should I use formal language in a discursive essay?

Yes, maintain a formal and objective tone. Avoid using first-person pronouns and aim for clarity and precision in your language.

How many viewpoints should I include in the body paragraphs?

Include at least two or three well-developed viewpoints. Ensure that each paragraph focuses on a specific aspect or argument related to the topic.

How do I transition between paragraphs in a discursive essay?

Use transitional phrases to move smoothly from one idea to the next. This helps maintain a logical flow and coherence in your essay.

Can I include personal opinions in a discursive essay?

While you can present your opinions, remaining objective and supporting your views with evidence is crucial. The emphasis should be on presenting a well-rounded discussion rather than expressing personal bias.

How do I conclude a discursive essay effectively?

Summarize the main points discussed in the body paragraphs, restate your thesis nuancedly, and offer a closing thought or call to action. Avoid introducing new information in the conclusion.

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  • Social Media Essay

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Essay on Social Media

Social media is the communal interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities. It has become the basic need and quality of human beings to be social. The spectacular developments in communications and innovative and astonishing entertainment have given access to information and the ability to provide a voice for people who would never have been heard. The current generation is fortunate enough to witness some of the most amazing technological developments ever in history. It has become the rage of this age. 

What are Some of the Most Widely used Social Media Platforms?

Simply put, let us understand the factors that have contributed to the popularity and widespread use of social media platforms in recent years. Many observers believe that the number of "active users" has something to do with the situation. This factor has a significant impact on the growth of the organization, its attractiveness, and its participation.

These applications serve as the building blocks for a large number of other applications as well. Currently, Facebook is the most popular social networking site on the planet, with more than 2.7 billion active monthly members worldwide. Each social media platform owned by the same company, including Facebook (the company's most popular forum), WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram, has more than 1 billion monthly active users.

In addition, as the number of people who use social media continues to grow, it becomes increasingly clear how important social media has become in today's society.

Monograph on Social Media Use - An Introduction

People always want to connect themselves with society in some or another way. In earlier days, the modes of communication were limited. People socialized with others in their tracks. Earlier, socializing was narrowed to visiting each other’s places, having big gatherings, meetings in clubs, parks, and other public areas.

Now the time has changed. People have minimized their social life because of hectic life and increase in geographical distance and economic concerns. With the arrival of technology, social networking websites and applications have heralded a revolution in the world. It has indeed brought people from all over the globe closer by creating, sharing, or exchanging information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. These social networking sites are based on web-based technologies and create highly interactive platforms. It has gained momentum globally because of its better features, access, frequency, immediacy, usability, and permanence. It has been recognized so widely, and its usage has increased so incredibly today that it has moved from desktop computers to laptops to mobile phones. The platform is undoubtedly easily obtainable and accessible.

Today, every person is addicted to social media, and that too at a glaring speed. Some important social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc., have provided us with the prospect to connect with people and foster better relationships with friends and acquaintances with whom we cannot meet personally and share the happenings of our lives. Some tools like YouTube, Instagram, Whatsapp, etc., have provided the platform to share pictures and videos with friends and relatives living in distant places.

B2B social, reviews, and travel sites in social media have made it easy and exciting for people to shop and discuss with friends and others about what they are buying. Some sites offer collective buying offers to give consumers a fun-filled shopping experience. 

Social Media and Its Significance

Every person's daily routine involves some kind of social media interaction. Anyone, anywhere, at any time, can connect with you through social media as long as you have access to the internet.

While everyone was confined to their homes, unable to speak with anybody other than family and friends, it is critical to communicate with friends and family during Covid-19 to avoid being isolated. The outbreak resulted in social media being an essential tool for individuals to make entertaining videos and engage in social media challenges and activities, which helped keep people busy during these challenging circumstances.

As a result of the quick rise and extension of digital marketing, social media has played an essential part in this expansion. It's also a fantastic resource for finding information on a wide variety of topics. People may learn a great deal and stay up to date with the newest news worldwide by utilizing this. But there is always a drawback to every good that comes with it, no matter how beneficial. As a consequence, the following are some of the most significant advantages and disadvantages of social media in today's fast-paced society.

Benefits of Social Media

Social media sites are erasing differences in age and class. It has assumed a different dimension altogether through interactive sharing. It has now become a medium of mass reach at a minimum cost. Today, one can benefit from social sharing to build a reputation and bring in career opportunities. 

They target a broad audience, making it a valuable and effective tool for society. 

 It reaches people even in remote areas, and the information is spread like fire. 

Distance is no more a limitation because of social media. You are constantly updated with the latest news and happenings in the society and environment through social media websites.

Sites and blogs like Orkut, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and many more have become tools for people to connect across the globe. People can attend live talks or live sessions, or lectures happening anywhere in the world while staying at home. 

Teachers and professors can teach on different topics from remote places. 

You can now identify great possibilities for a job through multiple social media sites like LinkedIn, Google, Naukri, and job search. 

Social media enables companies to use these sites as a network to generate awareness about their product, promote their brand, and increase their sales. It saves the cost of marketing and advertising. 

These networking sites on social media provide a comprehensive platform for young aspiring artists to showcase their passion and skills.

Political leaders use the platform of social media for spreading social communication to mass. These days, the political candidates are also communicating with the voters through social media.

Nowadays, a person’s fame or popularity is determined by the number of links he has created with these social media sites. 

It is an excellent educational tool.

It has the potential to increase public awareness of a range of societal issues.

Due to the speed with which data is transmitted over the internet, consumers can stay current on the latest developments.

Social media can be used to disseminate information to the media.

Additionally, there are some social benefits, such as communicating with long-distance family and friends.

It has the potential to open up incredible career opportunities online.

We believe that social media has a lot of positive effects, but we also recognize that, like anything else, it has some negative ones. Keep reading to gather an idea on the same.

Disadvantages of Social Media

However, social media has caused addiction to users. Despite huge benefits, it has some unfavorable consequences.

Users of social media are becoming victims of fraudulent and online scams that seem to be genuine.

It opens up a possibility for hackers to commit fraud and launch virus attacks.

The productivity of people is getting hampered due to extreme usage and indulgence in these social media sites.

Harmful and disrespectful comments and reviews from employees about the company hamper its image tremendously. 

Students, too, are exceedingly active on social media sites these days, limiting them from outdoor activities. 

Students indulge in disputes because of these social media, and sometimes school has to resolve the conflicts.

Some sites are used to express personal anger or dispute, due to which a lot of chaos and confusion is created.

Investigate whether it is possible to cheat on tests.

As a result, students' grades and performance have suffered.

Users are more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats such as hacking, data theft, spamming, and other similar crimes due to a lack of privacy.

Social media has both benefits and drawbacks. Using it productively can be a tool of immense help, but over usage can become a silent enemy. Thus, we as users have to learn to balance and not control ourselves by this technology.

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FAQs on Social Media Essay

Q1. What do you Understand by Social Media?

Social media is the communal interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities.

Q2. How has Social Media benefited Society?

Social media has incredibly benefited society. It has erased the age and class barrier. Social media sites target a wide audience. People can connect with each other from any corner of the world. Distance is no more a limitation. Teachers and students are connecting through social media tools. People find jobs, shop and share reviews and discuss with others. It is a comprehensive platform for people to showcase their talents and passion.

Q3. What are the disadvantages of Social Media?

The disadvantages of social media are that youth is getting hooked to it inappropriately. People are falling into prey to fraudulent and illegal activities. Too much indulgence in social media is hampering the productivity of people. 

Q4. How has Social Media brought a Change in Human’s Lives?

In earlier days, humans did not have too many means of communication. This was the reason why they did not socialize much. Even if they did, their socialization was narrowed to meeting their own relatives or friends in a close circle. People could not explore much about what was happening around the globe. The job seekers were restricted to finding jobs through someone or a newspaper. Now, technology has brought a revolution in the lives of people. Distance is no more a constraint for communication. People can communicate with anyone from anywhere in the world. The entire information about what is happening across the globe is available at the touch of our fingertips. Job seekers have not only widened their horizon of finding jobs but also given interviews on social media platforms. Social media has made the lives of people much simpler, easier, and faster.

Q5. In what ways does social media influence our lives?

The emergence of social media has had a considerable influence on people's lives. Using social media in one's everyday life allows one to communicate, interact, and be sociable while also learning about current events, creating a variety of meals, educating oneself, traveling to any place, and taking advantage of many other perks.

Q6. Which social networking sites are the most well-known?

There are several social media platforms where you may utilize Youtube Messenger. These include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Whatsapp, and Pinterest.

Q7. Does social media have a role in our overall well-being?

Social media sites have the following roles in our overall well-being.

Social media addiction may cause physical and psychological harm to the person using it excessively, including eye strain, social disengagement, and disturbed sleep.

If you spend too much time fighting and disagreeing, this might harm your health in the long run.

In terms of emotional relationships, social media may be a great way to meet new people and keep in contact with individuals you already know. Building relationships with others is beneficial.

Social media is a veritable informational treasure trove when it comes to staying healthy. This has several benefits. Doubtful information might be just as damaging as not thoroughly investigating it.

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Social Media Techno-Discursive Design, Affective Communication and Contemporary Politics

  • Original Paper
  • Open access
  • Published: 18 April 2018
  • Volume 11 , pages 427–442, ( 2018 )

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a discursive essay about social media

  • Majid KhosraviNik 1  

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The paper examines the intersection of technological design of Social Media communication, the notion of post-politics-affective turn in contemporary (Western) societies and the rise of populism as a trend in political communication. Following on conceptualizations for a Social Media approach to a broadly defined critical discourse studies framework (KhosraviNik, in: Kalyango and Kopytowska (eds) Why discourse matters: negotiating identity in the mediatized world, Peter Lang, New York, 2014 , in: Flowerdew and Richardson, Routledge handbook of critical discourse studies, Routledge, London, 2017b ), the paper attempts to integrate discussions on affective nature of communication in participatory web ecology and consequences of algorithmic regimentation of meaning bearing resources (e.g., news and entertainment) on Social Media. Issues around quality and distribution of digital discursive practices and their relations to traditional perceptions of rational politics, within the internalised ethos of visibility-as-legitimacy, are critically elaborated and examined. While the rise of right wing populism (e.g., Trump presidency, Brexit vote) should primarily be explicated within qualities of the context on the ground, i.e., the deliberate and well-orchestrated misplacement of real grievances in society through discursive operation and manipulation (KhosraviNik in Insight Turk 19(3):53–68, 2017a ), it is equally important to critically elaborate the function and consequences of (digital) media practices as a main part of this socialization context. The overall argument here is that the hyper-normalization and triumph of neo-liberal rationality together with new media technological affordances, design and requirements have created a momentum for the growth of haphazard populist politics, i.e., the valorization of affective relevance over rational significance.

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The paper examines the links between technological design of Social Media communication, the notions of post-politics-affective turns in contemporary (Western) societies and the rise of populism as a trend in political communication. Populism has been discussed in terms of its discursive content, anti-establishmentarianism, and its affective rather than argumentative characteristics. In other words, it has been studied both as political/ideological content as well as a style of communication. Right wing populism has particularly been on the rise in the West in recent years (Richardson 2013 ; Wodak et al. 2013 ) evidenced by electoral gains in France and Germany, Brexit vote and the presidency of Donald Trump in the US. As far as the politics on the ground is concerned, the rise of populism is rooted in hyper-normalization of offshoots of neo-liberal life order (KhosraviNik 2017a ), e.g., extreme individualism, competitive (rather than deliberative) persuasion and foregrounding of relatability over rationality . In political communication, this translates to rise of personality politics, triumphant of affect over argumentation and reduction of democratic project to media(tised) performance. In fact, there is a strong suggestion that we are now in a post-politics, post-ideology era, i.e., grand narratives of politics have lost credibility and resonance.

In line with the promotional mantra of Social Media, i.e., the democratization of access, the current political discourses maintain an appeal to some form of (caricature) democratic practice along the lines of claims to empowerment of the ‘ordinary citizens’, re-connection with politics, grass-root mobilization, etc. Incidentally, these constitute the core characteristics of new digital media technologies as well which work with the logic of regimes of popularity building through engagement of prosumers (Ritzer and Jurgenson 2010 ). The appeal of affective political engagement and the rise of Social Media personality politics are, on the one hand, predicated on internalization of the equation: visibility/popularity is legitimacy (derived from accumulated symbolic power, i.e., power is legitimacy) and, on the other hand, works as a revolt against the perceived monolithic nature of traditional mass media/politics. Both these elements overlap with the populist vociferous claims of revolting against the media and political establishments. The design values and processes at work in Social Media technologies, their political economic model, their starting assumption of post-ideological status of contemporary societies and obsoleteness of critical structural politics are constitutively aligned with promoting an affective-driven, anti-establishment, anti-elite/expert, everyday/banal politics. In a similar vein, the extreme individualization and the corporate algorithmic manipulation of news and information pave the way for normalization of a populist perception of public communication and collective identity—in political as well as all other domains.

The algorithmic surveillance of Social Media is not an ideological machine in a traditional sense, i.e., it appears to be neutral, automatic and machine controlled. It aspires to claim that there is no human interference in fine grain regimentation of content catered for millions of individual prosumers. This works within the frame and contributes to the legitimacy of post-politics, post-ideology arguments, especially in Media and Technology research approaches. This paper attempts to understand the link between the contemporary politics, new media technologies and their impacts on social understanding of traditional politics as a realm of rationality and enlightenment. Hyper-normalization and triumph of neo-liberal rationality in late modern societies and new media affordances have created a momentum for the growth of haphazard populist politics in every sense. Social Media at the age of behavioral advertising are the epitome of preference of affective relevance over rational significance. Trump performance in the US is a prime example of this trend, not only for the content of his populist right wing views and the typical strategic misplacements of working class grievances (KhosraviNik 2017b ), but also because he has successfully reduced the entirety of political practice to a form of obsessive and whimsical Social Media practice.

The essence of politics in modern time, i.e., in post-enlightenment era, is (aspiring to) rationality and deliberative argumentation. The historical antecedent of such strong adherence to objective rationality in modern western philosophy could be traced to the reactions against the monopoly of church and religion in the Middle Ages who would habitually employ affective means to control masses (Papacharissi 2015 : 11). This is also linked to an established orientalist trope, which presupposes that western mentality is driven by rationality in thought hence argumentation versus the essential emotionality of Eastern subjects/thought. Many western thinkers have based their social, political and cultural conceptualization on an inherent priority of the rational over the affective. This is the presupposed assumption in construction of entire modern polity as well as all various aspects of political structure and relations of democratic understanding of legitimacy and power. This remains the constant driving aspirational impetus in the face of various forces, which do impact the processes adversely and sway it from the ideal functioning of democratic process including major obstacles posed by the political economic order and increasing normalization of market-based rationality. In the meantime, politics has always been understood as both argumentative content as well as style of communication. This is essentially because politics is about persuasion and persuasion naturally pertains to the questions of what (is being communicated) as well as how (it is being communicated) as previously argued in critical discourse studies inter alia (KhosraviNik 2010 , 2015a , b ). It is also a fact that certain styles of political communication are more attuned to specific political tendencies, e.g., the links between authoritarianism and populism. In the same vein, right wing populism discourses are characterized by a set of common and recurring discursive strategies, albeit in varying degrees of intensity and scale. Firstly, there is the call for a swift and radical shift from a globalization rationale towards a national and nativist politics. This discursive strategy criticizes the normalized economic politics in the west, i.e., economic liberalism, free movement of capital and labor, and deregulation of financial markets—even though, all these are usually reduced to an anti-immigration rhetoric in populist discourse (KhosraviNik 2017a ; Marsdal 2013 ).

Social Media technologies have affected norms of political communication in general and political activism in particular. Now, ordinary users can be part of production, consumption and distribution of content with few or no barriers in the form of traditional gate-keeping practices (KhosraviNik 2014 , 2017b ). With an oversimplified take on the democratization project, the perception of free access has come to be celebrated as a new frontier for democratic circulation of forms of media content; nevertheless, the potentials of the participatory web in civil, political and social mobilization cannot be categorically dismissed. It is a fact that various groups of ordinary to professional text producers, i.e., bloggers, followers, raters, sharers, likers, as well as traditional journalists, form nodes in an information environment with the potential to organize themselves for various progressive aims. This is not only about transferring content and values per se, but it is about being a site for formation and substantiation of these values, information and worldviews that is discourse (KhosraviNik 2017b ). New Media technologies and communicative affordances continue to impact social and political fabrics of societies in (sometimes radically) different ways. Specifically in the context of the Middle East, with (largely) restricted public spheres, the communicative affordances of Social Media have provided opportunities for new forms of citizen activism, construction of alternative identities and deliberations despite the contentious relations of political regimes with the new technology (KhosraviNik and Zia 2014 ; KhosraviNik and Sarkhoh 2017 ; KhosraviNik and Kelsey forthcoming). The new technologies have (arguably) empowered ordinary civilians to engage in political and cultural communications and to contribute to expression, formation and dissemination of discourses away from (usually closed) official channels (KhosraviNik and Zia 2014 ).

Despite the crucial differences in social fabrics and political practices in global contexts, the breeding ground, characteristics and discursive strategies of populist nationalist discourses have striking similarities. In essence, populist nationalist discourse pivots around a real or constructed problem in the social, economic and political status quo. It revolves around discursive construction of a homogenously perceived Self, e.g., Us (the British) versus a homogenously perceived other, e.g., Them (the immigrants, Muslims or by extension EU nationals). Such discourses often fill the gap created by the public’s disenchantment with official politics (Wodak and KhosraviNik 2013 ) while presenting themselves as the indigenous, socially relevant, and righteous alternative to worldviews of the (constructed) establishment. Populist rhetoric is overtly preoccupied with the notion of (re)gaining the (lost) power to actualize a romanticized perception of the past. Trump’s vote was partly due to a perception of difference, which, as mentioned before, harvested the outcome of a deliberately misplaced real grievance , orchestrated through a discursive operation and manipulation. The trend towards unquestionable capitalist rationale as the only norm and viable option of governance is also infused and relegated to all the other aspects of live worlds of citizens. This is where the style, dynamic and logics of competition, economic derive and extreme individualism are taken up in provisions of goods and services and even worse, it permeates into life domains which had not previously been viewed as a realm of neo-liberal subjugation, e.g., education, health care and life experience. This overwhelming individual marketing approach dismantles society as a collective and when it hits the domain of politics, it replaces facts with validation of favorable opinion. Footnote 1

The hyper-normalization of a neo-liberal life order has translated itself into approaches in political science and cultural studies which have started to do away with radical critic and turned into approaches which claim to pay attention to micro-level analysis of political communication, e.g., the rise of personal politics and individualistically oriented studies on behavior and affect theory. Despite the fact that there are also critical works within this paradigm, a lot of these approaches do not require or have the inclination to critically engage with the macro-structural issues. Macro-structural considerations would consider questions such as why people act the way they do, or why personality and media management of public faces are increasingly becoming more important than the policy and rational deliberation, why the electorates are weary of big politics discussions and young generations are disillusioned with politics, why large populations see politics as irrelevant to their lives and why sensitivities and public knowledge around democratic structure, values, rights are dwindling, why university students do not show significant interest in understanding the basics of democracy or the need for structural critique?

The de-politicization of communication as politics is also a dominant trend in increasing digital participatory platforms. Social Media presented a shift in communication dynamic, i.e., amalgamation of mass and interpersonal communication which has resonated suitably with the train of scholarly thought in affect studies and their conceptualization. For many proponents of such affective turn in social sciences, the ‘turn to affect becomes a decisive shift away from current conceptions of critical theory, away from research based on discourse and disembodied talk and texts, towards more vitalist, ‘post-human’ and processed-based perspectives’ (Wetherell 2012 : 3). The argument is that modern societies have started to show uneasiness against grand narratives, extreme objectivity in reporting human experience. Consequently, there is a shift in the foundational assumption that politics is concerned with argumentative content and rational discourse. Most of these trends have been afforded by mass communicative technologies in a range of their textual practices from for example BBC’s approach in reporting news to a range of entertainment programs. This is similar to notion of first-person media in reference to the rise of reality TV. Similar argument can be put forward in explaining the blogging explosion in early years of millennium and the subsequent changes in digital content production afterwards. It is also a valid point to note that while deliberation and rationality has been the canonical elements of political debate, democracies have been and continue to be ‘messy affairs that are driven by aspirations of rationality, caught up in the daily mise-en-scene of ethos, pathos and logos’ and that citizens’ ‘typical daily responses to political developments are a mix of emotion with fact-informed opinion’ (Papacharissi 2015 : 26). In any case, it is given now that the bulk of Social Media spaces are essentially affective communicative contexts with the centrality of sharing and connection. The research shows that there is very little argumentative content even when Social Media are appropriated for serious political causes (KhosraviNik and Zia 2014 ). This is not to say that Social Media communication does not contain, allude to or draw on any argumentative train of thought (topoi) but that there is little or no argumentative content resembling a productive deliberation. Critical discourse analysis/studies as an established critical approach focused on communication content as well as contexts of production and consumption (Wodak and Meyer 2016 ; KhosraviNik 2017b ) is predicated on the premise to attempt to explain how meaning bearing content and behavior are used to create consent or political views. As such, it is only prudent for the approach to integrate approaches in studying the affects/emotions in its argumentation analytical models (Reisigl and Wodak 2016 ; KhosraviNik and Unger 2016 ). Nevertheless, the affective turn in its strong conceptualization ‘involves more than adding emotions to the inventory of social research topics. It signifies a more extensive ontological and epistemological upheaval, marking a moment of paradigm change’ (Wetherell 2012 : 3) which in effect, with the exception of what can be categorized as critical affective social studies (e.g., Pedwell 2014 ; Ahmed 2014 ), defines itself in contrast to discourse-based studies albeit by viewing discourse within an essentially poststructuralist frame, i.e., not necessarily CDA per se. The extreme affective conceptualization shies away from notions such as critique, ideology and shades of social constructivism to the advantage of a de-politicalized, super-localized analysis. This is not to cast away the potential of affective analysis in attempting to understand how people are moved, and what attracts them and more importantly ‘how social formations grab people/how do the roller coaster of contempt, patriotism, hate and euphoria power public scenes’ (Wetherell 2012 : 2) which are the crucial aspects of contemporary societies and their behavior (see Wodak et al. 2013 ). Yet, in their backlash against social constructivism, there remains little room to conceptualize power in social formations as power is, in essence, about discourse (KhosraviNik 2014 ). As far as this view is concerned, any political matter, be it big P politics or small P political, i.e., personal is political, is about power. It is about resisting, engaging, challenging a social formation, a normalized identity; a discourse. Psychological analyses of emotions and affects within an extreme individualistic ontology would not lend themselves easily to conceptualization of the collective , unless they are merged with critical social theory.

The relevance and usefulness of affective analysis should be acknowledged, not because it is the most recent ‘turn’ in cultural studies and/or social sciences but in that it is attending to aspects of research theorization which relates to the way contemporary societies are behaving politically and more importantly the way Social Media communication has come to either impact the society in that direction or be a symptomatic realization of such change in itself. I approach this from a practical point of view and the way it can contribute in understanding of what is going on in the political debates, actions and democratization project as a whole, within a socially oriented, critical analysis of communication which is CDS to me (KhosraviNik 2017b ). However, the mere fact of change in theoretical approach for the sake of change is obviously not ground breaking in and by itself. In other words, defining affect as something which is merely just not discourse is hardly useful—that is, if the research is socially committed.

For a Social Media space, discourse, emotive and the action, i.e., discursive practice (actions of digital marks including) should all be considered together. In traditions of classic discourse approaches, language in and within itself gets priority whereby the rationality and argumentative powers are foregrounded as the main power to persuasion and resonance. This is why there is substantial development of models and tools for analyzing argumentation, fallacies and critical engagement with the degree and quality of rationality in the language use. In the context of digital media technologies, the argumentative content is less central compared to the affective content. Therefore, persuasiveness is more sought after at the triangle of discourse, digital action and the affective state of the individual users. At the interface of participatory web affordance and the user, users have the (perception of) chance of being able to act completely individualistic and are encouraged to prioritize their affective moods, e.g., rage, fear, etc. while in the past these affective qualities of individuals would be filtered, controlled and moderated by various systems of mass media gate-keeping. For example, newspapers would not trust and rely on a non-professional individual’s (perhaps one-sided and misguided) assertions and would tend to evaluate the argumentative value and content whereas, in Social Media, such an individual would see no barrier for not only expressing themselves but also gaining credibility through popularity of expressions of their argumentatively incoherent but affectively loaded and strong emotive proposition. Coherence is after all a cognitive disposition as far as the audience is concerned. This is exactly why notions of discourse are important. Discourse is what gives coherence to seemingly fragmented expressions. Discourse is the scaffolding for scattered subjective utterances. In this sense, Social Media platforms not only empower and validate individual’s emotive understanding of the affairs but also encourage a dynamic of communication that rewards such behavior with a form of perceived validation.

The post-ideological, post-politics ethos is a dominant trend in Social Media research and theorization. Notions like participation, democratization, and individualism are appropriated, perhaps not even deliberately, to discuss a utopian context of communication brought about by digital affordances. Influential sociological analysis of the impact of Social Media postulates that we have now entered a form of socialization called network society which ‘present a qualitative change in human experience’ (Castells 2009 : 509). Participatory culture is the term Jenkins puts forward to conceptualize the amalgamation of users, audiences, consumers and fans in creation of cultural content. Papacharissi argues that networked digital structures of expression of connection are overwhelmingly characterized by affects and uses the term ‘networked publics’ as ‘publics that are restructured by networked technologies and, therefore, simultaneously are (1) the space constructed through networks technologies and (2) the imagined collective that emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology and practice ( 2015 : 39).

The affective characteristics of Social Media communication are both a reflection of the change of interest in society in terms of the shift to value first-person media as well as being the effect of the way the Social Media technologies are structurally designed. The users’ engagement with Social Media technologies seem to occur in a multi-layered collapsed context (Boyd 2008 ). This affords endless opportunities for the users’ affective performance to appeal to audiences or textual consumers who may have not even been envisaged at the initial state of triggering communication. What follows from this is the tendency to emphasize the affective-subjective content of the communicative from one hand and the use of provocation as a way to make one’s performance more authentic and real—much similar to the way reality is constructed in reality TV. It is also not entirely wrong to consider affective communication as a form of political expression. ‘Affect conveys the intensity with which an opinion is felt, and when expressed, it can intensify the sense of empowerment experienced by the individual releasing the thought, emotion, or act to the public (Papacharissi 2015 : 113–114). Even though it is not necessarily deliberative, it can be potentially a powerful political act. Much similar to earlier works in feminism and gender identity, ‘affective gestures infuse the story telling of the self with emotive impressions that enhance performances of the self but may also entrap the self in a continuous loop of (mediated) affect’ (Papacharissi 2015 : 114). In essence, the contentious argument here is that political discourse should not be viewed, considered and evaluated only by the degrees the communication can contribute to deliberation and to the extent Social Media spaces can be deemed as part of public sphere in its classic understanding. But that affective expression is also political because it relates to power and empowerment of the individual. ‘Style is performance and performance is power’ while in the meantime, ‘claims to power are performed’ (Papacharissi 2015 : 114). It is sensible to view affective expressions as part of political discourse not (just) because these are affective publics but (also) as an outcry of marginalization process that the overwhelming global normalization of neo-liberalism has caused. Capitalism has always had strong scaffolding rationality whereby the values, norms and logics of market are presented and inculcated as not only reasonable but as the only way of envisaging the life world, e.g., the notions of economic development, competition and increasing corporatization of social life and commodification of products, service and life experiences. This macro logic has been hegemonic and invisibly enforced everywhere. This could explain the empowerment process of affective expressions and doing away with the usual overwhelming rationality. At the political level, such affective tendency is only craved in the context that there is strong but incoherent grievances in society in a way that the available normal pubic sphere does not provide suitable platforms for such expressions. This could also explain the anti-intellectual anti-science and in short anti-rationality revolt in recent elections in the UK and USA (KhosraviNik 2017a ). This takes us back again to qualities of the wider society or thick context (Couldry 2012 ) and in fact relates to traditional social issues of class and identity politics. It is apt to argue that any attempt in theorization of affective communication as political would inadvertently take us back to social context and critique in one way or another. De-politicalized, descriptive and super-localized approaches which advocate a post-politics context for the contemporary era are mainly derived (and contribute to) the understanding that within a normalized economically colonized political sphere nothing can/should/does change; hence, engagement with politics in that sense is a moot endeavor. The process of normalization of post-political context is both a top-down macro and bottom up micro process. The post-politics actively denies that the real politics is about policy, argumentation and overarching principles and happily reduces it to media appearance, likeability, psychological connection and relatability in the context that media industry vigorously continues to make advances in colonizing the entirety of official politics. One driving force and culmination of such post-ideological manipulation in practice are reflected and constituted in the logics and dynamic of interaction on Social Media and participatory web.

Social Media are being used for a plethora of everyday uses and with increasing penetration both in terms of the number of users and depth of engagements. There is obviously a substantial entertainment aspect to the use of digital media. While the big P politics and structural debates around it have not really benefited from these spaces, i.e., in terms of enhancing the quality of political debate and deliberation, the politics as everyday practice has been hugely impacted by Social Media (Zayani 2015 ). Entertainment industry had already been working with regimes of rating, popularity and competition as their canon of business practice before Social Media. As such, Social Media everyday politics and political engagement have also been influenced and in fact structured around similar frames. It is only ironic that the current president of the most powerful country in the world is a former TV personality obsessed with rating and winning by popularity metrics. One would not refer to the conducts of a given entertainment business as populist when it aspires to get higher rating through any means available including extreme displays of affective expressions and affective connections, etc. However, in politics that would be characterized as populist. The reason is simply the fact that politics has traditionally been defined as a realm of arguments, rationality and very calculated decision making rather than emotionality. So it is not too far-fetched to consider communication on Social Media as populist in essence and influenced by business model. Populism in politics is the realm of media savvy political performers who make colorful claims for grass-root mobilization. Incidentally, media performance, the claim to empowerment of ordinary citizens, re-connection with politics, grass-root mobilization all constitute the core claimed characteristics of new digital media technologies which work with the logic of regimes of popularity building through ‘likes’, ‘shares’ and ‘followers’, etc. Personality politics on Social Media not only feeds into a highly simplified equation of popularity as legitimacy but at the same time acts as a revolt against the perceived monolithic nature of traditional mass media and grand discourses/rationalities. In contrast to rigidity of mass media in terms of their monopoly over discursive power, the nature, location and dynamic of discursive power in Social Media or broadly speaking participatory web are fluid, changeable, and circular (KhosraviNik 2017b ; Unger et al. 2016 ) in a way that users are at the same time, producers, consumers and distributors of the content. Although the utopian hopes for enhancement of real public deliberation via the Social Media and democratization of public sphere have not materialized, these platforms can still play a significant role for niche politics and non-mainstream representations (Copsey 2003 ). The fact remains that given the nature of populism as a style of communication, the new digital participatory technology is an apt space for construction, promotion and dissemination of such politics. This is not to say that the new communication technologies of participatory web have caused the current shift to right wing populism. The shift has its own roots in practical democratic deficit, i.e., socio-political contexts of relevant societies. Nonetheless, the values and processes at work in Social Media spaces, the political economy of platforms, and their assumption of post-ideological era and obsoleteness of critical politics are in line for promoting an affective-driven, anti-establishment, and fringe politics. Such politics is not built upon argumentation, i.e., rational deliberation in Habermasian sense but it is largely based on affective communication which foregrounds what individuals feel, believes and likes over facts, arguments and logics.

In the meantime, the extreme individualization and the central logic of equating visibility/popularity with legitimacy in Social Media along with the corporate algorithmic manipulation of news feeds create a fertile ground for populist perception and enclaves of like-mindedness (though not similar in all platforms) because algorithms prioritize relevance over significance. This is primarily a commercial technique designed to increase sales revenues but nevertheless they also apply to any socio-political important issue in the form of news and semiotic content as well. This is not necessarily and directly the overarching aim that the Social Media platform owners pursue but a natural side effect of their operations. The leading core principle for Social Media operation is to increase media consumption. The more users consume, engage with, and contribute to the platform the more there is added value for the platform. On the one hand, the users’ use of media turns them into a member of audience for various kinds of advertisements directed at them and as such increases the value of the platform. On the other hand, any form of engagement, use, interaction, contribution, sharing content and information, linking, etc. is considered the trade currency, i.e., information to be used for commercial purposes, e.g., for more precision targeted advertising, distribution of advertising content, and various market research operations (KhosraviNik 2017b ). As such, the platforms constantly seek solutions to enhance use and contributions from users. This is the guiding force for various kinds of algorithmic rearrangement of the content visible to individual users. For example, Facebook news feed of every individual is catered around the ‘knowledge’ that the platform has already gathered on the user (through their entire digital consumptions on all gadgets and platforms) and the predictions it can make about their political views, interests, issues, vulnerabilities, belief systems, etc. As such, the platform works based on the principle of relevance rather than significance. That is, the platform shows the user what it predicts to be liked/enjoyed by the user rather than following a public service logic of delivering news to public in terms of reflecting the world out there to the whole public, i.e., media as the fourth estate. By taking into account the dominant affective mode of communication, like-minded users would predominantly see each other’s reactions, news, links, commentaries; a process which would lead to echo chambers and intensification of the belief systems. All forms of interactions on Social Media function as a form of promotion of that content. Whether it is ‘liking’ or ‘commenting’ or ‘sharing’ or ‘tagging’ they all help that content to become more important and get more exposure so it is natural if we avoid engaging with views that we do not like/approve. In other words, there is a technological design with a consequence of eco chambers. This is also due to dominance of economic logic on digital spaces; otherwise, the participatory web could alternatively be used as public sphere for deliberation or expression of suppressed identities. In line with affective impetus of popularity and legitimacy building, digital enclaves of like-mindedness are not about new ideas of (critical) perspective, they are about how well or effectively group members reiterate the same idea/belief. Hence, the result is intensification of opinions at best, which partly explains the fake new phenomenon. Algorithmic manipulations types ‘range from purposes as mundane as deciding the color of a button, to decisions as significant as which news article is shown to the public. These decisions are in increasingly central to social, political and civic processes’ (Tufekci 2015 : 205). They are gatekeepers but they are different from their offline, non-interactive and non-computational counterparts, e.g., in newspapers. In mass media, there is subjectivity and human factor and obviously possible manipulation. Ideology is there but it is not automatic and can be attributed to certain (powerful) groups of people (e.g., what van Dijk refers to as ‘symbolic elites’) who can be held accountable for decisions they make. This process is automatic and (arguably) a non-human operation in digital media. There is no human subjectivity at the local levels of operation but the entire operation is geared towards enhancement of consumption (of Social Media) and increasing the contribution of users to the platforms. This is apart from the paid-for adverting that is becoming increasing common on Social Media as well.

There is also the fact that Social Media technologies do not recognize society as a collective public out there unless through their own frame of publics of digital prosumers. While in mass media operations, everybody gets the same product (news, shows, films, etc.); Social Media shows different things to different users. There is no easy way to research the final product, i.e., representation of the world in Social Media as it is individually catered for. In similar vein, the research shows that the general public is not sufficiently aware of the quality and extent of such individually tailored representations on participatory web and in cases they do, there is little that they can imagine about it. Algorithmic manipulations are nothing short of new forms of gate-keeping operations with integral consequences in construction of representational realities, i.e., discourses among users. Algorithmic gate-keeping is the process by which ‘such nontransparent algorithmic computation tools dynamically filter, highlight, suppress, or otherwise play an editorial role—fully or partially—in determining: information flows through online platforms and similar media’ among other effects (Tufekci 2015 : 208).

The algorithmic surveillance of Social Media is not an ideological machine in traditional sense, i.e., it is mainly automatic and machine controlled whereby human factor does not normally interfere with the regimentation. Algorithms are able to act as stealthy, extremely potent gatekeepers unaccompanied by transparency and visibility (Tufekci 2015 : 209). Algorithmic data and interpretation can now understand information which might have not been openly disclosed, e.g., sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substance, parental separation, age, and gender and a lot other aspects (ibid: 210). Algorithms shape the perception of the world out there for users along the lines of what they assume is beneficial for the platform commercial goals.

The dynamic of discursive power, i.e., snowball effect of discourse foci, is unpredictable on Social Media communicative paradigm (KhosraviNik 2014 , 2017b ). The guiding strategy in Social Media design is to loop back users’ digital behaviors and reactions in a way that statistics and volume of interactions, e.g., ‘likes’, ‘comments’, ‘sharing’, etc. are used to populate certain topics, texts, sites, or news items. This is why Social Media phenomena expand exponentially and swiftly. Throughout this process, there is no in-built fact checking mechanism. In other words, certain news, which may have come to dominate the web, can easily be false or intentionally fabricated for certain political impact. Social Media are about visibility/popularity not facts. They do not have the design capacity with regard to veracity of the content. In fact, as far as the dominant rational of Social Media are concerned, there is no logical incentive or sensible room for integration of such concerns into the technological design. Yet there is an unprecedented accumulation of discursive power in such technological regimentation of content. The current design rules out factuality in favor of resonance with audiences; hence, there is a strong digital nudge for users/ordinary members of the public to automatically equate visibility/popularity of a piece of news to its creditability. This is the very essence of an epistemological shift brought about by the triumph and hyper-normalization of market logic of exchange value. The essence of Social Media is creditability gained by visibility/popularity in a context where popularity results in commercial gains regardless of the consequences. This is about extending commercial domain logic, i.e., higher demand is higher value to sphere of politics, which could amount to disastrous results. In other words, Social Media could actually function as spaces for democratic practice, but the dominance of commercial rationality has diminished this potential and, in many ways, destroyed this capacity. Obviously, these effects are different in different Social Media platforms, e.g., compare Facebook with Twitter but nevertheless, the central logic of corporatized participatory web is the same. Once again this is about colonization of what could be appropriated as new public sphere by corporate forces and a digital version of market economy, which is plaguing the ideal potential of the new media spaces. This is the same force, which is an increasing threat to traditional mass media as well.

The New Media technology literature is full of undertones of claims to post-ideological era, partly coming from media deterministic understanding and partly impacted by new psychological approaches. In many trends of thoughts notions like ideology, discourse and representations are cast aside as being irrelevant in the study of New Media technology. However, the claim to post-ideology is already a strictly ideological stance at its core. In most cases, this is about assuming the triumph of market economy and neo-liberalism over all aspects of social and personal life including media technologies. Post-ideology thesis in the meantime trivializes the democratic struggles and values in a way that the whole democratization project is deliberately and misleadingly reduced to forms of direct opinion gathering mechanism. This simplified understanding of democracy reduces it to merely a polling mechanism and disregards the requirements of systems of checks and balances, liberal civil laws, civil society apparatus, fourth estate media etc., which are part and parcel of the original democratic thought and enlightenment. In many ways, Social Media sensations are inherently populist phenomenon. This is not a problem in and by itself but the permeation of the principle of visibility-equals-legitimacy and the claim that Social Media are empowering the voiceless can have counterparts in structural politics of populism in which the populists predominately make anti-establishment claims, disregard for norms and values inherent in democracies and usually make pledges to overthrow the system in the benefit of ‘the real people’. The problem is not in the practice; it is about the philosophical essence that Social Media implicitly push forward. You could argue that democracy is about gaining popularity which is right but the point always missed is that democracy is not just about gaining popularity, it is about having a viable apparatus for rational argumentation and expression of all ideas, e.g., a healthy civic media system. It is about having systems of fact checking and accountability, division of powers, anchorage to central civil principles, etc. Social Media seem to have removed all requirements of democracy and dangerously reduced it to a participatory reality TV. In that sense, Social Media politics has created a fertile space of growth of populist politics or a form of haphazard populist ground in every sense. Trump performance in the US is a prime example of this trend both in terms of the content of his discourse as well as the centrality of Social Media practice in his operation.

Social Media are characterized as the realm of affects, connections and personal sharing. In turn, it is argued that it is now the age of affective (rather than deliberative) politics, i.e., the age of prioritizing feelings over facts. It is the age where rationality takes a back seat in favor of relationality. New digital media are not the cause of this turn. There are sociological and cultural reasons for populist tendencies in the west and indeed around the globe. There are wider ontological shifts in politics and the world imaginary, which have caused this turn. Social Media are both the product and at the same time perpetuator of such preference. That is why their guiding logic resonates with contemporary people. Social Media at the age of behavioral adverting are the epitome of preference of relevance over significance. Social Media are about your life, what you like, what you feel and they cater towards what you prefer by constantly monitoring your online behavior. This is of course done to maximize profit through targeted adverting and promotions. Social Media do not show you the world out there, they construct a world to your liking and as such they are breeding ground for echo chambers, and constructions of filter bubbles where all like-minded people get together and reinforce their own perception of the realities and priorities rather than engaging with other views. Having said all the above, this is wrong to assume that Social Media have had a causal effect on the shift to right wing populism. Politics is primarily about the society, its internal struggles and shifts in social contexts. Any analysis of role of media in politics is primarily instituted in society. Technologies of communication are also part of this social context as well-being means of political discourse and practice. In the same vein, the rise of right wing populism (i.e., the support from the underclass) is basically a protest against normalization of neo-liberal economy, economic globalization, pursuit of growth, disregarding issues around distribution of wealth and the constant normalization of such practices, which has constituted a democratic deficit in the west. Yet, the political impact of techno-discursive design of media in general and Social Media in particular should be considered in this equation, not the least in terms of their mutual impact. Algorithms are ideologically laden systems, which work with a normalized market logic in line with the increasing corporatization of digital platforms. Algorithms may not care about the politics per se but they do have a political impact in the way they regiment the content for users and general public. Computer systems are not automatic and free from ideology in their design. They are deliberately organized around a form of digital market economic perspective, e.g., a misconstrued interpretation of gift economy through the processes of playbour and digital labour (Fuchs 2014 ) but at the same time making claims to empowerment of ordinary people and democratizing of access to symbolic and representational resources and identity performances. In pursuing that they have interest in projecting a post-political facade. Research approaches in media and technology and waves of research influenced by affect theory with their psychological overtone seem to work on propagated assumptions that envisage the society devoid of the classic political struggles. What remains is that as far as the critical and socially oriented commitment of research is taken into account, e.g., in Social Media critical discourse studies, contextualization of research cannot do without notions of power, and discourse. It is very evident that affective aspect is a crucially relevant aspect of research on Social Media. In other words, new approaches in critical discourse analysis should meaningfully engage with these aspects and literature. However, it remains unclear how an epistemological and ontological neutralization of approaches in critical media studies would be a step forward in the field. On the other hand, it is one thing to acknowledge that the affective side of communication has always been part of human communication and one of the important features in persuasion and discourse studies, but it is another thing to aspire to explain the turn to post-rationality and pot-deliberation as step forward in western understanding of polity and democratic understanding.

See Donald Trump’s comments on what he calls ‘alternative facts’ https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/22/donald-trump-kellyanne-conway-inauguration-alternative-facts .

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KhosraviNik, M. Social Media Techno-Discursive Design, Affective Communication and Contemporary Politics. Fudan J. Hum. Soc. Sci. 11 , 427–442 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40647-018-0226-y

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How social media affects children at different ages – and how to protect them

a discursive essay about social media

Associate Professor in Psychology and Lead, Cyberpsychology Research Group, Nottingham Trent University

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A report from the UK’s communications regulator Ofcom confirms children are avid social media users.

Some 99% of children aged three to 17 used the internet in 2021. YouTube was the most popular platform, with 89% of children using it. Meanwhile, half of kids used TikTok, a popular site which allows users to watch and share short videos.

Most social media platforms require users to be aged 13 or older . Nonetheless, the report found that a majority of children under 13 had their own profile on at least one social media app or site. One-third of parents of children aged five to seven said their child had a profile, which rose to 60% among children aged eight to 11.

Overcoming these age restrictions is clearly not a difficult task. Children simply supply a fake age when setting up their account. Meanwhile, some children have multiple accounts on the same platform – one for their friends, and another for their parents.

The report also found that roughly 16% of three and four-year-olds watch videos on TikTok. This could be children being shown videos by a parent or somebody else, and does not mean they have their own account. But they are still being exposed to social media content at a very young age.

With these findings in mind, it’s timely to take a look at what we know about how social media use can affect children across different age groups.

The good and the bad

Engaging with social media can have both positive and negative effects on people, especially children. My colleagues and I have shown that social media use is important for emotional support, community building and self-expression among adolescents, but that it can negatively impact mental health and wellbeing as well.

In our work at the Cyberpsychology Research Group at Nottingham Trent University, we have talked to young adolescents, their parents and teachers about perceived challenges and online harms from social media use.

We found that the effects range from spending increasing amounts of time online, behaviour change due to anticipated judgement from peers, and sensory overload, to more serious cognitive and emotional consequences such as attention problems, stress and anxiety.

Read more: Protecting children in the metaverse: it's easy to blame big tech, but we all have a role to play

New research suggests that there appear to be differences across age groups with regards to the effects social media use can have on life satisfaction. In a large UK sample of over 17,000 young people aged ten to 21, researchers found the detrimental effects of high levels of social media use may be especially pronounced at ages 14-15 and 19 for boys, and 11-13 and 19 for girls.

Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen revealed in 2021 that internal Facebook research has repeatedly shown detrimental mental health impacts of Instagram use for young girls.

A young boy sitting on the floor using a tablet.

Separately, we know excessive screen time can be associated with symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression and addiction .

Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest no screen time for children under two, and a maximum of one hour per day for those aged two to five years, focused on high-quality content (for example, content which is educational).

While we don’t know exactly what kind of content young children are watching on social media, it’s unlikely to be high-quality, and could be harmful.

What can we do?

With the recently published online safety bill , the UK government aims to make the UK the safest place in the world to go online. Accordingly, we need to consider the potentially detrimental impacts internet use in general and excessive social media use specifically can have on young people, especially those who are vulnerable.

We need to see increased user protection (such as age verification measures) and harm prevention initiatives (such as school-based education about the benefits and potential harms of social media use).

We also need to see the involvement of community and government organisations in education and awareness campaigns, as well as a focus on increased corporate social responsibility , where the industry takes an active approach in designing products with the best interests of the user in mind.

Read more: Touchscreens can benefit toddlers – but it’s worth choosing your child’s apps wisely

While we discourage over-pathologising everyday behaviour – for example, we shouldn’t assume everyone who spends a few hours online has a problem with their internet use – problematic behaviour needs to be acknowledged and users need to be supported. This can prevent it leading to negative mental health consequences.

Support for young internet users needs to come from parents, teachers, governments and the social media industry. Parents can be encouraged to start an open dialogue with their children, which will build rapport and allow children to open up about their social media use.

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a discursive essay about social media

Louisiana high school grads explore good, bad aspects of social media through essays

S HREVEPORT, La. ( KTAL/KMSS ) – A group committed to providing financial assistance to college-bound students held an event on Saturday afternoon where students presented essays exploring the pros and cons of social media.

The African American Scholarship Committee has provided financial assistance through scholarships for graduating seniors in Shreveport, Bossier, and DeSoto Parish for 36 years. The committee was founded by Katie Latin who serves as director. Her son Ken Latin is the co-founder and chairman.

The graduates gathered at the Wallette Branch of the Shreve Memorial Library on June 1 to present essays to their peers, family members, committee members, and guests.

Scholarship recipients will enroll in an array of colleges and universities including Xavier University, ETBU, UL, Northwestern State University, ULM, and LSU to pursue degrees in fields ranging from health sciences to theological pursuits.

In previous years students explored how the COVID-19 pandemic affected their senior year of high school. This year’s 300-word offering asked the students to consider, “Does social media do more bad than good,” a subject that each of the 16 presenters should be considered subject matter experts in.

One by one students were called up to share their perspectives on the matter. The scholars made excellent arguments that highlighted social media benefits like the ability to broaden your horizons by learning history long omitted from public school curricula, the ability to stay connected to distant relatives, news gathering, heightened social awareness, and the potential to make money through promoting a personal brand or showcasing talent and skills.

Oppositely the teens were keenly aware and perhaps affected by the negative aspects of engaging on social media. They shared cautionary tales for older people in the audience who could be targeted by scammers, peer pressure, cyberbullying, body image issues, and the loss of privacy.

One student noted statistics like 50% of social media users have reported feeling lonely while 37% have admitted to having FOMO (fear of missing out).

Whether their stance was in favor of social media use, or presented the potential for physical harm or psychological damage all of the young presenters agreed that users should be vigilant and aware, because social media will be with us for a long time.

“How can you resist something that is becoming a necessity,” one essay contest participant pondered as she concluded her presentation.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KTALnews.com.

Louisiana high school grads explore good, bad aspects of social media through essays

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