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Social Media: The Better Argument 1

Social Media: The Better Argument

Kati Vaughan

University of California Santa Barbara


Social Media: The Better Argument 2

Abstract

Academic disciplines can tackle the same topic; however, they would do so from

different perspectives and utilize different forms of evidence. When looking at the topic of social

media, the article “The Relation between Media Multitasking, Intensity of Use, and Well-Being

in a Sample of Ethnically Diverse Emerging Adults” by Tyler Hatchel takes a psychological

perspective while the article “Election Campaigning on Social Media: Politicians Audience, and

the Mediation of Political Communication on Facebook and Twitter” by Sebastian Stier analyzes

social media in the political realm. After analyzing both pieces of academia, it is evident that the

types of conventions and evidence used in Hatchel’s article creates a better argument as a whole

rather than Stiers. Both are exemplary pieces of work for their field of academia and analyzing

them along their fields guidelines, one cannot say one or t ether is better, however from an

outside perspective, Hatchels argument is better.


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Just as a song writer has a purpose behind his or her lyrics or a children’s author has a

behind the lesson he or she is trying to convey to the audience, works in academic disciplines

have a purpose behind their writing as well. Whether it is to persuade or inform, each academic

discipline presents a claim or argument to their peers and support it through a plethora of

evidence. This evidence reflects the priorities and conventions utilized in the given academic

field which, as a whole, creates a reliable, credible and valid argument that other scholars in that

field of study will agree with. Furthermore, each academic discipline takes a different approach

even when they are analyzing the same topic. This idea is apparent in the psychology article

“The Relation between Media Multitasking, Intensity of Use, and Well-Being in a Sample of

Ethnically Diverse Emerging Adults” by Tyler Hatchel where the topic of social media is

brought to the surface and analyzed through a psychological lens and the political science article

“Election Campaigning on Social Media: Politicians Audience, and the Mediation of Political

Communication on Facebook and Twitter” by Sebastian Stier which analyzes social media in a

political realm. However, when looking through a critical lens, Hatchel’s work has a more

thorough argument than Stier’s due to its plethora of statistical evidence and theoretical evidence

utilized.

Professionals in the field of psychology tend to observe the behavior of individuals along

with delving deeper into the mind and thinking behind that said behavior; to do so, this discipline

primarily relies on studies which further theories that explain our cognitive and behavioral

actions. When called to study the topic of social media, professionals in this field questioned

what effects social media have on emerging adults in our society. In the article “The Relation

between Media Multitasking, Intensity of Use, and Well-Being in a Sample of Ethnically

Diverse Emerging Adults.” by Tyler Hatchel, the author utilizes statistical and theoretical
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evidence to attack the question at hand. He came to the conclusion that “intense digital media use

may be problematic for some youth's psychological well-being, but also beneficial for other

youth” (Hatchel, 2018). To get to this conclusion, Stier set up a study which questioned a diverse

group of college students to see the correlation of social media use and the well-being of oneself.

By utilizing countless tables and graphs which highlight their data they thoroughly supported

their finding. For

example, on the right

side of the page is one

of the numerous tables

found in the study.

This table may be

tricky to read for the

ordinary person,

however psychologists

reading this work can

make sense of what

the data is stating along with knowing its valid and reliable. A sense of reliability and validation

are established due to the utilization of concrete facts which can be referred in tables such as

these. Anyone can easily see the correlation between the subject’s self-esteem, the activities they

participate in and what effect it has on them. Hence why statistical evidence is the logical path to

follow in this discipline because it clearly outlines the data produced in the study.

Not only does statistical evidence create validation and credibility, it is also established

through the author’s use of theoretical evidence that calls upon other psychologist’s work and
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theories proven. Solely looking at the reference pages (Hatchel, 2018, p.122-123), the audience

can see that the ideas and theories presented in the article are backed up by countless other

psychologists who also studied and proved their claim to be true. For instance, the author pulls

information from J. J. Arnett’s book “Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the

late teens through the twenties” which gives their claim a little more backbone and strengthen.

For the specific field of psychology, utilizing theoretical and statistical evidence poses a hard

argument to disagree with and makes it harder to disprove if someone wanted to.

Professionals in the field of history and political science tend to analyze political theory

and behavior throughout history and use it in today’s political realm. In the article “Election

Campaigning on Social Media: Politicians, Audiences, and the Mediation of Political

Communication on Facebook and Twitter” by Sebastian Stier, it addresses the question of how

social media platforms interact with political campaigns and what topics are proposed to the

public. To answer this question, Stier and his colleagues knit picked Twitter and Facebook and

looked at the language used and presented a study just as the psychology discipline had done.

Even though this discipline also utilizes statistical analysis, the main two pieces of evidence

found in this source are analytical and textual which prove to be more effective for their audience

of politicians who heavily rely on the idea of “who said what”. On page 64, they have a whole

section of research dedicated to “Analysis at the Word level” which delves into the deeper

meaning behind the words, phrases, and language utilized by politicians on social media. They

directly pulled common words such as “pension,” “family policy,” education,” etc. (pg. 60-61),

from these sources, which revealed how politicians use Twitter and Facebook to draw in

different crowds and try to gain support from the mass audience (Stier, 2018). They are heavily
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relying on analytical evidence and explaining their flow of thought in order to persuade the

audience to believe their argument.

Along with analytical evidence, the author also uses textual evidence to gain more

credibility for their claims and findings in the study. Stier makes his findings stronger by directly

quoting other politicians, researchers, and a plethora of researches which delve into social media

in a political campaign. As seen on pages 58-63, Stier and his colleagues also use textual data

such as charts in order to convince the audience that this information is correct and reliable. All

of these combined have the intention to further support the claim “that social media is not an

ideal data source for citizens seeking clearly structured information on policies or researchers

using textual information to locate parties in an ideological space” (Stier, 2018) in order to

convince their audience that this claim is true. By using textual and analytical evidence, other

politicians who would be reading this are able to trust the findings in this article and use it to

draw the same conclusions.

Both of these articles were successful in presenting their information through their chosen

evidence however there are always holes in arguments. Looking from an outside perspective it is

easier for the reader, who is not associated with that scholarly field, to knit pick the work and

find weaknesses that lie within it. As stated above, Hatchel’s article heavily relies on statistics

and theoretical evidence which allows it to gain credibility and validity in the eyes of their peers;

nonetheless, numerous weaknesses can be overlooked with this type of evidence. Despite

statistics presenting hard facts, it can also be deceiving through the way it is presented to its

audience. If an author wants to omit part of the data collected, they could easily cloud it by

providing a plethora of information which can lead the audience to overlook the flaws within the

data. Also, they could easily skew the graphs and tables to their liking and convey a different
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message than what the data actually presents. Despite these flaws, the information presented still

is strong and built upon hard facts which is hard to deny. Theoretical data is backed up by

numerous accredited scholars who came to the same conclusion which again is very reliable and

hard to deny by anyone who reads it.

Just as the psychology article, Stier’s political science article is also successful in the

presentation of its information. As noted above, Stier utilizes statistical data however primarily

uses analytical and textual evidence; By utilizing analytical and textual evidence, the authors

claim is more believable, however this evidence references other professionals in their field

whose beliefs can be biased. It makes sense as to why Stier would quote other professionals in

this discipline, for their views on these topics would prioritize what he is trying to argue versus

someone who might not in another field of academia. Even though Stier pulls quotes from other

pieces of work, at the end of the day it boils down to the fact that those are merely opinions and

bias. Someone can easily disagree with what they are saying or can easily find another source

that says the contrary. Again, Stier’s argument is well supported for its field however, as a

whole, someone reading from an outside view can easily see that these are opinions and can

discredit the argument easier than they can with Hatchel’s.

When overviewing these articles, Hatchel’s argument is more effective by analyzing

social media from numerous outlets and taking on a well-rounded argument with a plethora of

hard evidence. Even when looking at the title of the psychology article, “The Relation between

Media Multitasking, Intensity of Use, and Well-Being in a Sample of Ethnically Diverse

Emerging Adults,” there are three main points that contribute to the claim which reveals how

well rounded the argument is compared to Stier’s. The political science article “Election

Campaigning on Social Media: Politicians, Audiences, and the Mediation of Political


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Communication on Facebook and Twitter” is solely looking at how elections are proposed to

different audiences only on two different social media platforms; Looking at this from a surface

level, this is a solid argument however it is attacking the topic from one perspective versus the

three in the psychological article. Even when glancing over the article, one can see how well-

developed Hatchel’s argument is through the section headings. The plethora of different

approaches can be seen in the section headings and reveal to the audience that this study is

concrete.

On the other hand, Stier and his colleagues only analyze the linguistics and word choices

on Twitter and Facebook while there are other forms of social media that cover campaigns as

well. Branching out could have brought more support to their claim as a whole and created a

more well-rounded argument with less holes. As previously stated, by utilizing more textual and

analytical evidence a reader could easily disagree with what someone was claiming despite the

credibility of them. It would be exceptionally easier for someone to find a counterargument to a

quote than for concrete data and statistics. For example, on page 53 it states “Politicians seeking

election need to be responsive to the political preferences of their constituencies” which is an

opinion. Sure, it may seem logical, however someone can easily disprove or disagree with this if

they wanted to. Furthermore, it is evident Hatchel’s article, which utilizes theoretical and

statistical data, creates a more thorough, strong, and reliable argument in comparison to Stier’s.

Again, for each field of academia, Stier and Hatchel create compelling arguments that are

effective and appeal to their intended audience, however from an omniscient point of view there

is no debate, psychology wins.

Hatchels argument in “The Relation between Media Multitasking, Intensity of Use, and

Well-Being in a Sample of Ethnically Diverse Emerging Adults” develops a more thorough and
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reliable argument compared to Stier’s “Election Campaigning on Social Media: Politicians,

Audiences, and the Mediation of Political Communication on Facebook and Twitter” primarily

due to the evidence utilized. Though Stiers argument did have a compelling argument supported

through analytical and textual evidence, Hatchel’s argument better supported itself through its

use of statistical and theoretical evidence along with approaching the issue of social media and

how it effects the minds of the youth from different angles. Scholars in each field follow an

unwritten format for their discipline even if that means using evidence that is not the strongest in

a broad spectrum. However, for their own discipline this evidence could speak wonders.

Furthermore, the purpose behind an author’s decision to utilize certain conventions, which in the

readers eyes could strengthen or weaken the argument, is all situational. It depends on which

field of academia they fall under. Looking at it from an outside perspective, Hatchel’s argument

appears to be sounder however when analyzing it from a psychological perspective it may not be

as sound as the reader thinks; Again, it is all situational. It is evident that it all depends on what

audience the reader falls into; for the purpose of this assignment, it is clear that the evidence

utilized is the key to a compelling and solid argument.


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Resources

Hatchel, T., Negriff S., & Subrahmanyam, K. (2018). The relation between media multitasking,

intensity of use, and well-being in a sample of ethincally diverse emerging adults.

Computers in Human Behavior, 81, 115-123. Doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2017.12.012

Stier, S., Bleier, A., Lietz, H., & Strohmaier, M. (2018). Election Campaigning on Social Media:

Politicians, Audiences, and the Mediation of Political Communication on Facebook and

Twitter. Political Communication, 35(1), 50-54. doi:10.1080/10584609.2017.1334728