Digital Rhetoric

This last month we were talking about digital rhetoric, or new media, or ____(fill in your term here) in a meeting. Then I saw this Digital Blog Carnival. It’s not brand new (June of 2012), but I like that it was up. If I had known about it earlier, I might have had my grad students read it.

Liz Losh, in attempting to define digital rhetoric over the last decade plus (and having written a book on the topic) said: “I’ve always thought that “digital rhetoric” means both rhetoric about the digital and rhetoric conveyed by digital platforms, interfaces, and code.”

Steve Krause, who finished his dissertation in 1996, said: “[T]he evolving speed and presence potential of new technologies have been in some sense gradual and historic (the way that postal systems and then the telegraph changed communication in the 19th century comes to mind now), and in other ways radically fast (the way we find out about emerging situations/events via social media on ever-connected smart phones). The tool is not the only thing that matters, but when it comes to contemplating “digital rhetoric” generally or immediacy in particular, it’s critical. Without contemporary and future-looking computer and media technologies, there’s no “digital” in “digital rhetoric.””

Mike Edwards of Vita said: “Rhetoric as error, lies, or bullshit is for the most part uninteresting to me. But rhetoric as something that stands in relation to truth even as it seems to swerve away from truth at the last moment, as it becomes something other than logic, reason, philosophy, or coercion — that’s interesting to me. So a metaphor: rhetoric is an act, a doing, a verb, a process of skating on the thin ice of persuasion that rests between the materiality of our everyday social lives and the dark and cold waters of contingency, even as that thin ice is constituted by the frozen, solidified, embodied aspects of that contingency.”

There’s more. Lots more. Go and read it. Let it settle into your head and into your brain. Then, go back and read it again.

That’s what I am going to do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge