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The goal of this assignment is for you to consider whether social media has increased, decreased, or has no overall effect on stereotypic beliefs and prejudicial attitudes.
Instructions: Get on a social media site. Based on your interest, find posts that either reflect negative stereotypes and/or prejudiced attitudes or posts that take a social justice perspective on the topic (e.g., the site suggests ways to combat these attitudes and beliefs). After you find and read the posts, please answer the 6 discussion questions below.
Suggestions: On Facebook, some search suggestions include “racism,” “sexism,” or “homophobia,” “hate Obama” “politically correct” or “Muslim terrorist.” On Twitter, some search suggestions include “I’m not racist, but,” “ageism and Hillary Clinton,” “everyday sexism,” or “UNL Haters.”
1. What key word(s) did you use and why did you choose them? How easy or difficult was it to find posts using the key word(s)? Why do you think that happened?
2. Was it easy or difficult to tell what the poster’s beliefs or attitudes were? What cues did you use to determine what those attitudes and beliefs were?
3. Do you think the posters would say the same thing in the same way if they were having a face-to-face discussion on this topic? Does it matter? Why or why not?
4. Some posters use their name and/or photo and others used a “handle” or a pseudonym with no photo or a photo of something other than themselves. Do you think this affects the tone or content of their post? Why or why not?
5. What do the posters want you as the reader to come away believing about different social groups? How do you know?
6. Based on what you saw in the posts you reviewed, would you conclude that social media has increased, decreased, or has no overall effect on stereotypic beliefs and prejudicial attitudes? Explain your reasoning.