Visual Rhetoric




Rhetoric has been a subject that has been expanded upon to better explain its true meaning. Because of this, it has many subjects attached. Rhetoric originally meant any form of persuasion using any form of communication. This term has expanded to include many phrases. As such, it involves the use of electronic and non-electronic means, hence the word “digital.” As mentioned in a previous post, “digital” or “digitalis” in Latin refers to one’s fingers and toes. Digital does not solely refer to computer technologies, it can refer to systems that use different elements to make up the original technical definition. Print writing, braille, and Morse code are all examples of digital systems that are non-electronic or non-computer based.


In J.D Applen’s “New Media and Literacy” from “Old Media, New Media, and Knowledge,” he goes over the idea of fixed media. The author goes over this idea by referencing Richard Lanham, who compares print on the computer and print from books. He expresses that computers use writing and graphics which allow the reader to interact. Blog posts, articles, or social media posts have a comment section which allows for interactivity. This allows people to “speak” and discuss what they see online. Lanham believes “unfixed and interactive” are the best ways to describe the computer aspect of print media.


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