white paper – 20%


For this task, you alone and solo OR you and a partner are going to work for a company (TBD). You will create a white paper that constructively critiques the media presence of the company. You’ll provide suggestions for how they might include social media and/or improve their social media practices.

You are going to act as social media experts looking to add value to your clients’ web identities.

According to Wikipedia, “A white paper is an authoritative report or guide helping readers to understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision. White papers are used in two main spheres: government and B2B marketing.” In other words, a white paper is an informative report. As the authors of the white paper, a major goal you have is to describe how the organization may benefit from taking a different approach to their media practices and describe how it would benefit them. The following are a few questions that’ll help you get started thinking about social media practices:

  • What kind of equipment does the social media platform allow for displaying information and is the business or
    community using these appropriately why or why not?
  • What are the affordances and constraints of the social media platform and do they fit with what the business or
    community is doing?
  • How are other similar communities or businesses using a social media platform effectviely and why is it effective?
  • What sorts of strategies do other communities and businesses use to enhance their profiles and utilize a particular
    platform and would it work for this community or business?
  • What kinds of people do you think different social networks market and which would be most appropriate for the
    community or business you are studying?

This white paper is a formal document that should utilizes at least FIVE readings from class and at least THREE outside sources (credible essays on social media practice/digital divide) to justify the suggestions you are making to the community or business you are critiquing. I expect you to use examples of good practice you have found being done by similar communities or businesses and use these as further evidence to support your ideas (these examples are NOT outside sources but they are good evidence for supporting your claims.

Overall the white paper should be between 2,000-3,500 words not including the works cited page. It should be a well-developed piece that motivates a community or business to take action and make a change. Below you will find the format I’d like you to follow for your white paper. Now you don’t have to be super strict about the names of sections. As the video mentioned you have some freedom in how you want to present your information. Don’t use the letters but chunk your white paper into these or equivalent sections:

The following is a very general way you might choose to organize your white paper:


a – Briefly (in a paragraph) describe the history of your company/organization (class history) and your expertise. You might use sources or readings to explain your expertise.

This is where you summarize the whole white paper.

a – Write your selected title for the analysis
b – Write your company’s name (we’ll make this up in class), address, phone, and email address.
c – Write a summary of your the analysis (1 or 2 paragraphs) using layman’s terms (remember you are writing to the community or business). Make sure you state why your audience should read this white paper.

Problem/Need/Issue/PreviousPractice or Previous Approaches
a – Describe the main problems you will be addressing and use scholarship that supports your description of the problems.
b – Explain the significance of the problems.

a – Write several paragraphs outlining your solutions to the problem or need.
b – Describe how, when, and with what resources the solutions will take place.

Conclusion and Benefits
a – Write a conclusion in order to wrap up the white paper and enhance your readers’ understanding.
b – Describe how your solutions may benefit the community or company.

Works Cited
a – Have your sources listed so the reader can get more information.

what you will get out of the task

  • An upping of your social media critique skills that you’ll be able to apply outside class in other communities.
  • An understanding of how to create effective white paper.
  • Experience working with a client with real social media needs.


You’ll be evaluated using this rubric– White Paper Rubric