Sample Essay on Persuasive Writing: Public Issue analysis

Brief Summary

In the article “10 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health,” Caitlin Probst tasks it upon herself to review both the good and bad sides of social media on our minds. She begins her article by providing a brief overview of how the field of psychology has played part in advancing the body of literature concerning mental health and how it is impacted by technology (par.1-4). Without wasting time, Probst dives into the discussion and covers the first 8 points which talk about how social media impacts negatively mental health (par.5-12). According to her, social media is not good for our mental health because it is addictive, makes us compare our lives with others, makes us restless, gives rise to cyberbullying, glamorizes drug and alcohol use, can make us unhappy, can lead to fear of missing out, and often leads to multitasking. To avoid any bias in the discussion, the author concludes her discussion on the subject matter with two psychological factors that indicate social media can positively impact the mind (par.13-14). On the good side she concludes that social media enhances our connectivity and socialization.

Rhetorical analysis of the text

Given the fact that the majority of social media consumers are young people, the author of this particular article targets both the millennials and generation Y.  Her intention as laid open in the article is not to scare people away from social media but to persuade them to use it carefully now that potential negative effects are possible.  While discussing the negative effects of social media on human mind, Caitlin Probst also give some ideas of using social media positively without interfering with our mental development and social structure. This approach has helped kept the article on track while at the same time capturing the interest of both the millennials and generation Y, which are the primary consumers of social media.

Throughout the article and in every claim the author makes, she uses logical evidence to support her argumentas well as add authenticity to the indicated texts. Logos has been used widely in the article to create a more strong appeal.  The author strategically used this approach to attract the interest of young people because logos and creative designs are more appealing to them. In the first point through which Probst indicates that social media is addictive, she uses support such as “Studies show that 63% of Americans log on to Facebook daily, and 40% log on multiple times each day” (par.5) to add more authenticity to her claim . In the second point where the author talks about the effect of self-comparison with others through social media, she uses relevant studies such as “In fact, in 2012 a team of researchers in the UK surveyed users, 53% of whom said social media had changed their behavior; 51% said it was negative…” (par.6) to support the point. Apart from the statistical data that the author uses prevalently throughout the discussion of the 10 points, she also makes use of graphical image representations to develop a more appealing persuasion. At the beginning of the article, the author uses an image useful to the discussion and also uses another one to cover cyberbullying (par.8).

The article also makes use of ethos. Ethos is the convincing ability or power of the author. While writing this article, Caitlin Probst tried to give it an ethical appeal by convincing the readers of the credibility of the information presented as well as the unethical effects on the mind. She explicitly used this rhetorical appeal to persuade readers of the bad effects of social media. To explicitly use ethos, Probstuses her own experience with technology and the ability to write wonderful articles to persuade the audience to be cautious of what social media can do to their minds.

This article also makes good use of pathos. Pathos is the use of emotions to give appeal to the article or point being passed. It implies persuading readers emotionally. The use of pathos is clearly evident from most parts of this article. By using this rhetoric appeal, Probst gave the article an emotional appeal in order to convince her readers.The author makes use of pathos several times in the article body. This is evident in point five through which she explains how social media encourages drug abuse by minors (par.9). The article also covers a topic that is relevant to the current global scenario. The entire world is currently being driven with social media and Probst exhibits kairos in her article by talking about the mental effects of the social media from both a negative and positive perspective at the correct time.

In terms of grammatical structuring of the article, the author makes use of easily structured sentences which are short and easy to understand. The arrangement of the article is also effective. Probst makes use of the subheadings to clarify and point out unique positions rather than clustering them in a single story. Incorporating all these factors together and the fact that she uses existing bodies of research to validate her claims; Probst is able to achieve her persuasive motive within the article.


In conclusion, this is a wonderful piece of article that considered all aspects of quality writing. The author of the article, Caitlin Probst started writing by providing brief overview about the available literature on the topic and field of psychology. She then proceeded to explicitly explain how social media is negatively affective our mindset. However, while discussing these points, she remained unbiased and true to the point. Caitlin Probst exclusively used a combination of two approaches to convince audience about her points and claims; ethos and pathos. She concludes the article by discussing the positive effects of social media.

Work Cited

Probst, Caitlin. “10 Ways Social Media Affects Mental Health.” Degreed Atom. 29 Apr. 2015. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.