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This week, we have started exploring how people define and display a kind of happiness on social media.  Now were going to bring this uniquely modern context together with larger philosophical debates and scientific studies on the topic.  Even though many thinkers say it is impossible to truly define happiness, Mark Kingwell maintains, We can speak meaningfully about happiness, in short, and we can do so with intelligence and with reasonable prospect of results (530).  In this essay, we will treat happiness as a complex subject.  Your main question is not a “yes/no” one (“is this person happy??”), but a broader set of questions: “How does an individual define and display different forms of happiness?”

What your paper will look like:

Topic: Pick a person who is active on social media and use their posts and behavior to analyze how they represent their own happiness.  [Note: You may use your social media research or choose something new!] 

Introduction: Provide context for the topic.  This may involve setting up multiple definitions of happiness, providing an intriguing or surprising example of your topic to pose your central questions, or giving background on who your person is or how your reader may or may not have heard of them.  End with your
Thesis Statement: Should answer your central questions. What forms of happiness does this individual display?  How and why does this person display them?

Body Paragraphs:These paragraphs are where you will outline your findings.  Each body paragraph should have a clear focus, with a topic sentence and related examples.  Maybe you want to demonstrate that this individual uses social media to show a balance between family life and work?  If so, you might make those two ideas into two body paragraphs.  You might choose to write a five-paragraph essay, but (as I say in the powerpoint on essays!!!) let the number of body paragraphs correspond to your material.

Conclusion: Relate back to your introduction, attempt to answer the question: Why is this important?


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