Digital Rhetoric

It seems a little weird to be writing a blog post analyzing an example of digital rhetoric. While you read, are you just going to analyze this digital rhetoric? As I write, I wonder if I should I be more focused on rhetoric devices of my own blog posts. Well here goes.

The digital rhetoric of an Elite Daily post:

Elite Daily website screenshot.
Elite Daily website screenshot.

What do we see here?

We see a title that includes the reader in the claim. This indicates a very casual style. Like talking to a friend. This style is enhanced by the direct connection to social media. Above the image I see 11 ways to share this article with my friends. On the image I see the option to “Pin it.” And underneath the image, I see all my Facebook friends that “like” Elite Daily. The connection to social media furthers the friendly, casual style. It makes the writing feel more familiar. It feels closer to me because I have the ability to share it verbatim.

And the photo above. This is also digital rhetoric. The photos speak. The  photo shown in this screenshot speaks to a modern generation. A younger generation. My mom uses a lot of the apps included in this article, but this article does not speak to her. The digital rhetoric makes this very clear.

At the very bottom of the article is a comments section. This leaves a space for anyone to speculate. To create their own post with a different digital rhetoric. Unique to their needs. Unique to the idea they want to get across.

. . .

What do you think?


Digital Rhetoric and Yik Yak

I recently downloaded Yik Yak onto my phone and while scrolling through it today in procrastination I realized that this would be a perfect example of a medium to analyze for its digital rhetoric. For those who don’t know, Yik Yak works as an anonymous Twitter that filters posts by geographic location. This app is popular on college campuses and allows students to create a sense of community by yakking posts that are relevant to their peers. The confines of this app have sparked unique forms of digital rhetoric. With a 200-character limit, the app has compelled users to use concise language in a similar fashion to Twitter. With no way to include pictures, tags, or links, users must come up with creative posts using only words and emojis. Posts can be “upvoted” or “downvoted,” giving users an incentive to say something that appeals to their audience. Again, the geographic radius limit means that their audience is the people around them. For example, if someone yaks on U of M’s campus, the Yaks would need to appeal to students who attend U of M. The downvote button incentivizes users to post only nice things; just five downvotes on a post will automatically delete a post and a user who creates too many downvoted posts will be suspended. Thus, although some offensive posts are bound to survive, the creators of the app have attempted to establish a non-hostile environment. In addition, users can comment on each other’s posts, allowing for anonymous dialogue between strangers in a community.

Since this app is relatively new, the creators are constantly developing and adding features. The digital rhetoric available to the users will inevitably increase with every new feature as users gain tools to put forth their ideas and appeal to their audience. I am curious to see in what direction the digital rhetoric heads!

Digital Rhetoric: MentalFloss

For my example of digital rhetoric, I am turning to the web-based magazine, Mental Floss. This site provides readers with interesting facts, Buzzfeed-esque articles on historical information, and  up to date news about pop culture (such as the new Marcel the Shell video, hehe). MentalFloss is the perfect example of digital rhetoric because it uses a wide variety of media including video, images, and text articles to inform readers about the world around them in a fun and engaging manner. By using different media, it gets readers interested in information they could potentially get bored by in a standard paper format. The addition of interesting images, GIFs and videos makes history topics a lot more accessible and interesting to get readers engaged in a quick and concise manner. The addition of hyperlinks is especially useful because it allows the main text to be concise and easy to read, but still provides additional background information if readers are really interested by a particular topic. There are also many interesting video demonstrations for certain topics that illustrate many of the points in the articles. The primary reason this website is such a good example of digital rhetoric is that it involves so many other sources on the web and in print to make knowledge entertaining in a way that a textbook couldn’t. Quizzes make the site interactive, getting readers to challenge themselves on basic knowledge about a variety of topics. The topics are not limited and you can read about everything from science to literature, and you can even get “life hack” tips to make your life generally easier. The best part of digital rhetoric is making things that would normally be too esoteric or boring to engage in actually fun and accessible, and I think Mental Floss does a great job of this.

YouTube sensation to Mug shoot Monday

Thought of the Day: If we did not have advance technology, there would be no Justin Bieber. Just think about that. Think about how he was discovered….

YouTube provides different video clips, TV clips, music videos (a lot used via VEVO), educational videos, personal documentation, and video blogging.

One of the digital rhetoric platforms is the sensation of YouTube. Almost 10 years ago, YouTube was created to “Broadcast Yourself”. YouTube created a new digital rhetoric platform: viral videos. With this (then) new sensation, YouTube is a place on the internet that allows viewers to “subscribe” to different accounts to follow or simply to watch random videos (sometimes funny, sometimes you’re like wtfudge–but funny as well).

YouTube is a compelling example of digital rhetoric because of it’s unique creation of pop stars. If you did not know, Justin Bieber (and a lot of other stars) were discovered via YouTube. These stars were discovered by various viewers and subscribers which then allowed individuals to become discovered by companies or producers. This displays how our society shifted from hiring famous actors/actresses/singers/artists to hiring “outside the box” due to this new digital age where I believe anything can happen.


“JB” was discovered in YouTube in 2007. Since his first production in 2008, JB has received 155 awards out of 236 nominations. (the only research I did about JB is to find those numbers. I will not provide you with anything else about him because I do not want to cloud my valuable mind with random facts about him… It’s called wikipedia people. If you want more information contact google.)

^^Okay, now this is kinda ironic again. So without me thinking about it until finishing typing that paragraph, I literally just “fell” for/explicitly displayed digital rhetoric. I reference my audience to go and use the internet (because it is so accessible) to gain more insight on context about someone. Well, on that note, let things linger about what your perspectives of digital rhetoric are and see how impactful that is on your life.


Cooking Comically

Cooking Comically website banner
Cooking Comically Banner

I choose another food website named Cooking Comically as my digital rhetoric example, but this time it is not a blog, but a website. It is such a creative idea to put recipes and comics together. How does it relate to digital rhetoric? Let me explain. As we discussed in class, rhetoric is the art of using language to persuade others, and digital rhetoric is an extension of traditional rhetoric. So basically the difference between traditional rhetoric and digital rhetoric is computer or technology. This website itself is created based on the use of internet and computer as well as the application of computer science on building website including coding, programming, etc. The comics in the content are drawn through updated drawing tools in the computer, and are uploaded regularly through internet. Therefore, almost every detail that composed this website was a product of digital technology.  In terms of rhetoric, it is a way of communication, to express ideas and persuade others. A cooking recipe website cannot be more representative in this sense; it draws people’s attention through creative ideas, and persuades them to cook following the recipes with entertaining comics and mouth-watering pictures. If you happened to cook according to his instruction, and it turned out great, then the rhetoric was successful because it persuaded you to perhaps cook again following his recipe.

In addition to the definition of digital rhetoric, I would like to talk about some features of digital rhetoric taking the Cooking Comically website as an example. In digital rhetoric, there are special identities formed online. The persons presented online might not be who they really are. In Cooking Comically, we cannot know who the creator is, what his job is, or where he lives through his comics. What we only know is that he enjoys cooking and draws great comics. If he did not tell, we can hardly know the gender of the creator. However, today’s media allows people to go online and search about each other, and in most cases, they can get somewhat results. In this case, we could still utilize the power of internet to search and know more about the creator of the website. It is because of digital technology, the edge between privacy and publicity is blurred; it is also because of digital technology, the search about each other becomes easier.

I noticed a lot of digital rhetoric has a lot of links to other rhetoric or social media such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Therefore, digital rhetoric has the feature of multitasking and information flow. We could read the comics on the website and turn to its Facebook page and like it or recommend it to friends, or tweet it with hashtag. In this sense, both breadth and depth of digital rhetoric are developed by the audience, and the audience also becomes the creator or the composer.

I think digital rhetoric, as a sharing platform, is more inclusive on the writers and the audience. It enables everyone to be part of it, and actively participate in its changes and development. Just like Cooking Comically, the audience has the opportunity to make comments on the recipes like a composer while the composer has chance to listen to feedbacks like an audience. All in all, what makes the website compelling is not only his idea of making the combination of comics and recipes, but also the allowance of interaction and information flow through the website and social media.

The Scarecrow and Digital Rhetoric

The home page for Chipotle's "Scarecrow" campaign website.

When discussing what can and cannot be considered digital rhetoric in class on Tuesday, I found the lines to be a little fuzzy. In the blog article we read for class, multiplayer games like “World of Warcraft” were considered digital rhetoric while other visual media like YouTube videos could not always be classified as digital rhetoric.

Still, I find the Chipotle Scarecrow campaign, a multi-faceted campaign, an effective example of digital rhetoric. Through the use of a game, a short film, and facts, Chipotle aims to educate people about healthy alternatives to processed food, animal confinement, and the use of toxic pesticides in our food supply.

I know that the first time I watched the short film, I was shocked at how sad an animated film of animals could make me feel. The film uses scarecrows as symbols of those interested in healthy and safe food production methods and industrial giant “Crow Foods” as a symbol of the corporations exploiting animal and human safety to make money in their food production. In this dystopian fantasy world, the scarecrow seeks to provide an alternative to these unsustainable ways of processing food (and offers Chipotle as a leader of that movement).

The video, in combination with the game, is an effective, affective, and interactive way for Chipotle to send a strong human interest message. Chipotle’s exigence is clear: if the video and game is able to invoke the emotional response it did in me in other customers, they will be able to make a significant social change.



Digital Rhetoric with RSA Animate

After our class discussion on the digital rhetoric collaborative blog carnival pieces I couldn’t stop thinking about a video I had seen freshman year in my Sociology 102: Culture, Markets, and Globalization course. It turns out that the video I was thinking of is one of many produced through RSA Animate (click to check out some of their other videos if you’re interested!). The specific video I had seen in class presents the crisis of capitalism by David Harvey and thanks to Katie’s tech challenge (!!) I now know how to show you the video right here:

I absolutely love this video as an example of digital rhetoric. It combines audio, video, drawings, and text in a unique and entertaining way. It also reminded me of the sort of “disconnect” between academic essays and digital media we talked about in class. In my mind, this video is just as informative and effective as an academic paper. However, I wonder if a student wanted to turn in something like this to a history or polisci class what the professor would think. I wonder if one day we will reach the point where instead of requiring a paper, teachers will just give assignments in which the student can argue whatever is asked of them in any form of new media or traditional text form they desire.

Festival of Dangerous Ideas

I’m not sure how many people are familiar with the Australian event FODI but it seems absolutely incredible! I sort of stumbled upon it because I was reading this article: How economic growth has become anti-life (which is not exactly related to this class…or the rest of this post…but it’s a great article that everyone should check out!!). Anyways, the article ended with, “Vandana Shiva is a guest of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Sydney Opera House, this weekend”. The name of the festival was enough to spark my interest, so I clicked the link and now I’d do just about anything to be in Sydney this weekend.

As I was browsing through different topics and speakers I clicked on, “Stories Matter More Than Facts” a panel led by Kirby Ferguson, Evgeny Morozov, and Simran Sethi. The line in the description that really caught my attention was, “New digital tools are enabling a new breed of storytellers to breathe life into science and politics”. It seemed really applicable to our discussion of digital rhetoric, and to some of the remediating projects — especially the people who are turning more academic papers into videos or print advertisements. Now if only we could attend the panel to find out more..