Chapter 7: Making Your Own Argument
Let’s pause here to acknowledge that you will often be asked to write and research about topics that have complex personal and cultural complex histories. For example, in focusing on Occupy Wall Street’s Facebook page, we eventually choose to analyze a post about the Israel-Palestine relationship and Black Lives Matter. Both topics are vast and are likely to generate passionate discussion between all sides and parties involved. This is an opportunity to ask questions, to learn more about these topics if you are unfamiliar with them, to listen to those who know a bit more at this point, and to potentially discuss them further with your classmates. You are going to be asked to discuss complex and difficult topics throughout your university career and learning a wide variety of facts while also listening to a wide range of perspectives will best equip you to contribute meaningfully to these discussions.
Now that we have focused on a specific part of Occupy Wall Street’s Facebook page, we need to analyze the text to get the best pieces of potential evidence. This will help us make an argument about how protest pages on Facebook, like that of Occupy Wall Street, can positively or negatively affect the relationship between a specific government and its citizens.
Writing about Occupy Wall Street’s Facebook page in general is not specific enough to support an argument. Instead, you will focus just on the Home page. You will then go through the Home page of Occupy Wall Street’s Facebook page and begin your observations by following the same steps you introduced in Part 1 of the text textbook: make a list of patterns, key words, new words, and contrasts. These elements could be found in the words and phrases of the document, but you should also be looking for them in (if applicable) any videos, photos, or audio that are also present in your document. On a separate piece of paper, write down all of your observations in list format. It is also very helpful with ephemeral and ever-changing virtual spaces, like Occupy Wall Street’s Facebook page, that you take screen grabs or save the versions of the pages and posts that you are looking at so you can some back to them later. This will help you get at observations about the content of the central document and can be potential evidence on which to base your future argument.