Social Media Freaks Instructor Resources

Teaching Materials for Social Media Freaks

Available Resources

These instructor resources are designed to enhance the content of Social Media Freaks in order to help you plan your course and better engage students. If you have any suggestions on how to improve the book or the online resources, please contact Westview Press at westview.promotion@hbgusa.com.

Lecture Slides

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Chapter 1: Social Media, Art, and the Network Society


Chapter 2: The Social Structure of Social Media


Chapter 3: Leave Britney Alone: Sexuality Perspectives on Social Media


Chapter 4: Disabling a Meme: Disability Perspectives on Social Media


Chapter 5: GamerGate: Gender Perspectives on Social Media


Chapter 6: Occupy Wall Street: Class Perspectives on Social Media


Chapter 7: Black Lives Matter: Racial Perspectives on Social Media


Chapter 8: Social Media Toolbox


Chapter 9: Conclusion: A Social Media Revolution?

Sample Syllabus

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Chapter 1: Social Media, Art, and the Network Society

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGQbLSEPN5w
Watch the video, making sure to turn on the closed captions. The video is one minute and 18 second long (1:18). After the video ends, discuss Terry’s actions and Scott’s reaction. What, if anything, should Scott do? Are there other possible interpretations of Terry’s post that Scott should consider? What, if anything, should Terry do differently?

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXIBjpjbKtQ
Watch the video, making sure to turn on the closed captions. The video is two minutes and 40 second long (2:40). After the video ends, discuss whether it was appropriate for Justine Sacco to be fired. Is this just a case of a racist or thoughtless person making a stupid comment? What role does social media play in how this story unfolded? How would this story have unfolded differently if she had simply texted the comment to a friend or said it in person?


Chapter 2: The Social Structure of Social Media

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpHG7UtOOcs
Watch the video, making sure to turn on the closed captions. The video is two minutes and 04 seconds long (2:04). After the video ends, discuss the arguments for and against Twitter’s diversity problem. What steps can Twitter and others take to address this problem?

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VNwAGrTes0&t=3s
Watch the video, making sure to turn on the closed captions. The video is two minutes and 46 second long (2:46). After the video ends, discuss how this approach to media literacy differs from others that emphasize skills like checking sources and avoiding fake news. Could becoming a media maker actually increase those other skills? Ask students what kind of media makers they would like to become and invite them to embrace media making as a way to respond to the material from the course.


Chapter 3: Leave Britney Alone: Sexuality Perspectives on Social Media

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-bntBgGQVY
Watch the video, making sure to turn on the closed captions. The video is three minutes and 44 seconds long (3:44). Notice that Kingsley has over 3 million subscribers. After the video ends, discuss Kingsley perspective on the topic and the value of his use of social media to share that perspective.

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OReCoxEM8qY
Watch the video, making sure to turn on the closed captions. The video is nine minutes and 17 seconds long (9:17). It discusses in detail the functional differences between Instagram and Snapchat. This video demonstrates the level of technical and artistic commitment that Quintal brings to his social media creativity. Quintal is most famous for a video he made when he was much younger in which he twirled his leg while declaring: “Calling all the basic bitches. Calling all the basic bitches. There is a new announcement. You’re basic!” That video can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKY0FsUEMyw. Comparing the two videos, we can see how Quintal has grown as an artist.


Chapter 4: Disabling a Meme: Disability Perspectives on Social Media

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB0z8mdZArg
Watch the video, making sure to turn on the closed captions. The video is four minutes and 39 seconds long (4:39). Discuss how this video reveals that people with disabilities are policed, and how social media is increasing the level of policing. Is this a problem? What assumptions about disability does it reveal?

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaCxMJ4gQgM
Watch the video, making sure to turn on the closed captions. The video is five minutes and 53 seconds long (5:53). It focuses on seeing disability as a civil rights issue. Within that frame, discuss how we can use social media to address this civil rights issue.


Chapter 5: GamerGate: Gender Perspectives on Social Media

Watch the videos above and then discuss these questions:

  1. How should sociologists make sense of GamerGate?
  2. Is it really about ethics in games journalism?
  3. Is it possible or reasonable to approach GamerGaters with a spirit of empathy?
  4. Where would this approach lead us?
  5. What is it about gaming culture that allowed this controversy to unfold here rather than in other spaces that have been critiqued by feminist perspectives?


Chapter 6: Occupy Wall Street: Class Perspectives on Social Media

A. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEpAA_sW3y4
Watch the video, making sure to turn on the closed captions. The video is ten minutes and 15 seconds long (10:15) and presents an interview with Micah White about his idea that Occupy was a constructive failure. Discuss how his argument with students.

B. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFOWci6yrSs
Watch the video, making sure to turn on the closed captions. The video is four minutes and 42 seconds long (4:42). Ask students to focus on the ways that social media is discussed as an organizing tool. After the video, discuss:

  1. Is social media an effective tool for organizing protest?
  2. What are the drawbacks of organizing with social media?
  3. Is it possible to have a protest now that doesn’t utilize social media in some way?
  4. Who is served more by social media, the protestors or the group in power?


Chapter 7: Black Lives Matter: Racial Perspectives on Social Media

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbicAmaXYtM
Watch the video, making sure to turn on the closed captions. The video is a Ted Talk discussion with the founders of BLM, and is sixteen minutes and 5 seconds long (16:05). After watching the video, hold an open forum on the Black Lives Matter movement. Invite students to share the feelings they held before directly studying the movement and any ways their feelings may have changed.

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDZJPJV__bQ
Ask students to identify the imagery that references Black Lives Matter. When this video was released, Beyoncé, Jaz-Z and Tidal announced a $1.5million donation to Black Lives Matter and other social justice groups (http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6867174/tidal-donating-15-million-black-lives-matter-social-nonprofit-groups).

Is the intervention of someone like Beyoncé a help or a hindrance to a grassroots movement? How do you think BLM participants react to the messages of the song, including the line “always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper”?


Chapter 8: Social Media Toolbox

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-eTYo7yrfA
In this video, actor and activist Jesse Williams describes his social media philosophy. Watch with closed captions. The video is 56 seconds long (0:56).
Discuss students’ reactions to his approach and how it might inform their own philosophy.

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-eTYo7yrfA
Watch the video, turning on closed captions. The video is nine minutes and 29 seconds long (9:29).

Discuss: what are the merits of leaving social media? Under what circumstances would you decide to stop using social media? What are the consequences?


Chapter 9: Conclusion: A Social Media Revolution?

1. http://fusion.net/story/327103/leslie-jones-twitter-racism/
In this clip, which does not have closed captions, Milo defends the practice of trolling. The clip is seven minutes and 3 seconds long (7:03). Ask students to discuss his argument. Do they agree or disagree?

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BS3QOtbW4m0
This is a fan video for the Gil Scott-Heron track The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. It does not have closed captions and is two minutes and 37 seconds long (2:37). Watch the video and discuss both the message of the track and its applicability to social media.

Activities & Further Resources

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Chapter 1: Social Media, Art, and the Network Society

  • Watch the Frontline Special “Generation Like
  • Write your own social media autoethnography, like the one that opens chapter 1
  • Explore three new social media platforms that you do not currently use


Chapter 2: The Social Structure of Social Media

  • Watch the film Silicon Valley (available through Kanopy Streaming)
  • Write your own social media history, using screen captures and revisiting archive sites, like the one that closes chapter 2 (Storify is a nice resource for this).
  • Explore archived versions of your most used sites on the Wayback Machine


Chapter 3: Leave Britney Alone: Sexuality Perspectives on Social Media

  • Watch the documentary Me at the Zoo about Chris Crocker
  • Explore more queer social media celebrities: Todrick Hall, Davey Wavey, Tyler Oakey, Drew Droege (notice the gender pattern)
  • Follow several of these celebrities on Twitter and Facebook to identify the patterns in themes in their work over time


Chapter 4: Disabling a Meme: Disability Perspectives on Social Media


Chapter 5: GamerGate: Gender Perspectives on Social Media

  • Read the essays in: The State of Play: Creators and Critics on Video Game Culture, edited by Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson.
  • Follow Women in Gaming International (@GetWIGI) on Twitter and get to know there work to promote gender equality in gaming: http://www.womeningamesinternational.org.


Chapter 6: Occupy Wall Street: Class Perspectives on Social Media

  • Visit the New York Times interactive graphic “How Class Works” to explore the components of social class: .
  • Visit the website “Inequality Is” to explore your position in the inequality system.
  • Watch the documentary Inequality for All


Chapter 7: Black Lives Matter: Racial Perspectives on Social Media

  • Watch the film 13th on Netflix and either live-tweet the film or post a response on a blog
  • Visit Project Implicit and take one of the following bias tests:
    – Race: Black-White IAT
    – Skin Tone IAT
    – Native (American) IAT
    – Asian IAT
    – Arab-Muslim IAT
  • Watch Blackish episode 2.16 “Hope”


Chapter 8: Social Media Toolbox

  • Create your own social media strategy
  • Launch your own channels on Twitter, a blog, and at least one more platform
    – Post for a week, attempting to grow your audiences
    – Reflect on the experience
    • What worked and what didn’t?
    • How did the experience feel?
    • Was it worthwhile?

Test Bank

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