Paper 1 – Social Media and Friendship

Essential Questions: How does social media change the nature of relationships such as friendships? To what degree should (or shouldn’t) we be concerned about this evolution of friendship?

Write a paper in which you evaluate the quality of relationships in the digital age, drawing from the work of Maria Konnikova and one of your classmates.

In making your argument, draw on and develop your pre-writing and entering-the-conversation work done over the last several classes. That work focused on the qualities of friendship, your own experiences with friendship and social media, and the impacts of virtual friendships.

Your audience is a general reader who has NOT read Konnikova or your classmate’s work, nor thought much about the evolving nature of friendship in the digital age. They do however have considerable experience with friendship in general and social media.

Your purpose is to advance your own perspective (view or argument) on what Konnikova and your classmate tell us about friendship and social media by synthesizing their ideas and analyzing relevant examples from their texts and your own experiences.

Consider using your classmate’s writing to confirm or complicate Konnikova’s view or your own.


  • Use this Google Docs template to set up your manuscript in MLA style.
  • Write a paper of 1,000 words or more in which you develop your perspective on how social media may be changing the nature of friendship.
  • Briefly introduce Konnikova and the questions and issues she raises in her article in a way that leads readers to your initial perspective on the question.
  • Incorporate 3 quotes from Konnikova and 1 from one of your classmate’s pre-writing in a series of They Say/I Say exchanges.
  • Incorporate a least one moment in your essay in which you “play the believing game,” write about the merits of someone’s idea you find difficult to accept, and respond to those merits with complicating points of your own (or from one of your classmates).
  • Engage Konnikova’s concerns about social skill development and Dunbar’s research on the nature of friendship.
  • Document both sources (Konnikova and your classmate) using MLA style, with signal phrases, in-text parenthetical references, and a Works Cited page to signal your use of other writers’ words.

Information needed to write a MLA-style citation for “The Limits of Conversation”

Author: Maria Konnikova Article title: “The Limits of Friendship” Magazine title: The New Yorker Date Published: October 7, 2014