What is it?
Google defines digital rhetoric as the art effective or persuasive speech or writing. In our English classes, we often learn about the main three rhetorical appeals: ethos, logos and pathos. However in a digital sense, the same concept of rhetoric exists but within digital spaces. It involves several types of media including texts, visuals and audio. The days of traditional print rhetoric are gone thanks to the digitalized society we live in now. Methods of communication increase and can combine to create new meaning.
A simple example of digital rhetoric can be a slideshow presentation. Suppose an employee at a company wants to submit a proposal for leading a social media marketing campaign to promote a company: that employee uses Google Slides to create an appealing visual presentation to persuade the owners of the company to hire them with the promise that they will grow the company. The employee’s presentation will largely be visual and include texts and images and videos of prototype social media posts they have made for a company social media page.
In Relation to Digital Literacy
Digital literacy and digital rhetoric go hand in hand. The first step is to become digitally literate. This means having an understanding of multiple literacies that shape our world as we know it today. Computer, technological and electronic literacies are encompassed within the term digital literacy. This means understanding how to effectively and safely use the internet to communicate with other people, access information and use tools such as Zoom.
Return to the example of the employee creating the social media marking presentation. To use digital tools and the Web in creating their presentation, they need experience in those literacies. Because they are digitally literate, they are able to use their digital tools with the art of rhetoric to communicate and persuade with their company on the benefits of social media marketing. The concept of rhetoric has greatly expanded and digital rhetoric refers to a more creative and diversified form of collaboration using digital literacy.