Defining digital rhetoric

Defining Digital Rhetoric In All Forms


Casey Ferguson

Casey Ferguson

This week we have indulged in the world of digital rhetoric. As a class, we have determined that the term rhetoric is:

  • A form of persuasion
  • The use of symbols (ie. language, art, music, dance) to persuade
  • Persuasion through verbal communication
  • Bias and sarcasm
  • Using symbol systems to influence others

As we list out our definitions or experiences with rhetoric it is eye-opening to see how it plays a role in day-to-day life. But, how would we define digital rhetoric?

Digital: What Does It Mean?

As discussed in class, there are two ways of defining the term “Digital”.

The first being the actual digital interface that we use involving computerized or electronic technologies. “Defining and Locating Digital Rhetoric” by Doug Eyman adds to this definition of “Digital”. “Although we often use “digital” in reference to computer technologies, any system made up of individual elements satisfies the technical definition: examples of non-computer-based examples of digital systems include writing, Morse code, and the Braille alphabet (pg.19).”

With this, our digits refer to our hands. Anything we can do with our hands is considered digital. The combination of this idea of technologies and the use of our digits connects a large majority if not all entities of communication.

With our digits, the world of communication is at our fingertips.

Understanding Digital Rhetoric

Now knowing how we define the term “Digital” we can now build an understanding of the term Digital Rhetoric. We talked in class about music and how music can persuade us to feel different emotions. Music allows us to create our own biased opinions on how a song makes us feel rather than how the artist intends it to be heard. In terms of digital media platforms, this is a form of digital rhetoric through an art form.

As Doug Eyman mentions in “Defining and Locating Digital Rhetoric”, “The digital then, both as a new form of production enabled by information and communication technologies and as a reference to the human history of written communication, provides a bridge between textual production and rhetoric (pg. 20).” Through the texts, symbols, and outlets we use in a digital manner we can establish digital rhetoric that can influence and persuade our audience.


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