folders of different countries

Rhetoric and its Attached Medium





Coming into a “How can I get as much information with the least amount of mental work?” kind of era, we are all familiar with medium and content. However, we are unknowingly aware.

We’ve seen content transform itself through different kinds of mediums. For example, in art a piece is characterized by its medium: oil painting, watercolor, acrylic, graphite, etc. Let’s say we have two artists painting a seaside landscape in Italy. One uses oil paints, and the other uses graphite pencils. Different devices have identical content. However, the viewers of the completed work may receive different messages. The colors of the oil painting make viewers optimistic, wishing they could someday walk through the scene. The scale of grays in the graphite piece brings viewers nostalgia. Making the scene look quite sad. They don’t feel the same way, and that has everything to do with the medium being the message.

The example above maps out the effect that medium and content have on each other. If we dig a bit deeper, what do we find? Well, of course, rhetoric!

The Interplay

“How do content and medium interplay with rhetoric?”

The complete answer to this question may go beyond my knowledge at this moment, yet I do have things to say.

“We think we are making unique choices that reflect who we are as individuals, but this is illusionary.”

Applen, 12

In saying this, Applen insinuates that everything is purposeful.

The example I like to think of is travel guide books vs. travel guide tik-toks or reels. Guidebooks are information-saturated, small, and usually not more than 250 pages. The people picking up guidebooks receive in-depth descriptions of countries or regions. They are made for you to skim through the chapters. Pick what piques your interest and move on. It isn’t incredibly expansive. 

Undeniably, the content transforms on platforms like TikTok or Instagram. 

The makers of these fast-paced video makers want you to click the hyperlinks, expand the caption, and check out their profile videos with a similar format. The information you find is expansive. Consequently, you save them in your folder and plan your trip based on what you see. Because it’s a video, you even see these popular areas differently than what you see in printed picture form. 

These two mediums paint the same picture but move you in different directions.

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