Quick and Easy Digital Rhetoric

Although I come across digital rhetoric everyday, I found it difficult to think up an example. As I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across something that I look at everyday. On a liked page titled “Tip Hero” exists several short videos of how to make certain foods. I am not interested in cooking at all. I can barely make a grilled cheese without setting the house on fire. However watching these videos everyday is somehow relaxing—and I cannot go a day without it.

How to videos of all kinds have changed the way people do things. The digital rhetoric that is delivered through video can be found to be more effective than just reading something. Providing an active visual and portraying the simplicity makes something like cooking seem so easy. It takes simplicity to a whole new level. From cookbooks, to shows with chefs, like Rachel Ray, now to focused how to videos. The videos are extremely short and provide a brief snap shot of what cooking certain foods is like and how the process should look.

The video of how to make a “Chicken Parm Bake” includes aspects of visual, spatial, linguistic, and spatial modes. There is text in the video to explain certain instructions that cannot be conveyed in the video content. As the video roles, light easygoing music plays. Each segment of video is short and descriptive enough to still be effective. There are gestural components within the video and acting out the making of the dish.

Uses digital rhetoric to highlight and illustrate how to make quick and easy recipes. The old cookbook just doesn’t cut it anymore. With the digital age taking over, being able to “see” the instructions in action is changing the way people cook.
Chicken Parm Bake on Tip Hero

Allison Skaggs

Hello all! My name is Allison Skaggs and I am a junior at Michigan. I am from Orange County, California and decided to come to Michigan for a different kind of college experience! Currently, I am on the women's varsity water polo team and plan on majoring in Sport Management. Some things I enjoy during my time off are reading, swimming, attending sports games, and spending time with friends and family.

4 thoughts to “Quick and Easy Digital Rhetoric”

  1. Hi Allison,

    I think it’s great that you enjoy watching cooking videos, even though you “can barely make a grilled cheese without setting the house on fire.” When I was growing up, my mom and I used to watch the cooking channel so I kind of picked up cooking randomly! Like you said, these videos are more effective than just reading something because I find that I’m more focused when I have both visual and audio cues.

    I think it’s interesting that you bring up the point of the cookbook not cutting it anymore. For some reason, much like eBooks, I don’t think there’s anything quite like holding a physical book in your hand and reading it from cover to cover. I guess you can’t really read a cookbook cover to cover, but my mom’s side of the family has been passing down cookbooks for multiple generations. For me, cookbooks are a little piece of history. I think you’re right, though, especially in this digital age that “seeing” instructions makes the cooking experience quite different.

  2. Hello Allison,

    Thank you for your post, I could not agree with you more regarding the impacts of online media and how to videos. Portraying the simplicity of each individual ingredient, within a more complex recipe, I also believe can bring viewers who are not necessarily cooking-inclined in to learn more. As things stand, and I did laugh out loud when you said so, I believe you are right to note how the old cook book simply does not cut it anymore! I also do not consider myself a master chef..but can too appreciate the relaxing nature of creating an awesome meal or dessert.

    All the best,


  3. Allison – as someone who cannot cook to save her life, I also find videos incredibly helpful teaching tools. Sometimes, with cook books, I mix up the order of the recipe because it is in paragraph form rather than a list form. I think this speaks to the different levels of effectiveness of certain spacial and organizational tactics used in different types of rhetorical situation. It’s pretty hard to mix up the order of a recipe that’s being visually demonstrated in front of you with various audio and gestural cues!

  4. Allison,

    I think your example of how-to cooking videos as a form digital rhetoric well represents the power of multimodality in communicating information. Each mode of communication offers a new avenue of understanding and clarity to the video, thus creating a more accessible set of instructions as compared to a traditional cookbook. Many people don’t cook because they “don’t know how” and do not feel they can learn. These step-by-step videos on cooking make the task extremely simple, and allow even first timers a chance to try their hand at cooking. Thanks for sharing! Maybe I should stop my No Thai addiction and check out these videos….


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