Digital Rhetoric/Genres and Media

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Genres and Media[edit]

Within the realm of digital rhetoric is this concept of genres and media. Of course there are countless areas to consider but the focus of this reading will be on visual, audio, and text rhetoric and how those concepts are put to practice in digital rhetoric.


Visual[edit]

A persuasive visual piece that is designed to make an argument or convey meaning is the most common definition used to describe visual rhetoric. Visuals can take many different forms. They can be a painting, a photograph, or even landscaping. Visuals allow people to make quick judgments regarding an issue. Of course, this is not always a good thing. Often visuals do not show all the context of an argument the way other rhetoric’s may.


Visuals are important and helpful to the learning process. The alphabet was the beginning of the visual rhetoric playground. Visuals offer a new sense of understanding for the world. No longer do persons have to rely on someone to read to them; they could do it themselves and begin making their own interpretations.


Visual literacy is how one understands “non text” based concepts. "Non text" are things such as the font style used, the size of a font, the colors used, are the pictures real or manipulated. The concepts help one to understand a visual. According to the Duke University, Writing Studio, visual literacy is the ability to read and write images with meaning.


In an interview with Assitant Professor Billie Jones under the department of Writing Rhetoric and Technical Communication at James Madison University she argues that everything is rhetorical from writing to body language people are always creating meaning. However, in the realm of visual rhetoric, her specialty, she feels that the most important concepts in visual rhetoric are the rhetorical situation or context, design, knowing the audience, and knowing the purpose of the visual. As an incredibly visual culture, it is important for us to take these concepts into consideration when creating and analyzing a visual.


In a world that is becoming more globalized visuals are becoming more common and essential for helping people understand ideas. Visual images are everywhere around us, attempting to persuade our thoughts. Visuals help to explain what is written in text or said in oral or audio messages. Visuals, unfortunately, allow a lot of room for misinterpretations. Each person evaluates pictures differently.


There are many forms that visual rhetoric may take, however one example that we might not often consider is the landscaping of a university. Often the landscape is the first impression that is made on a prospective student. The university will typically spend countless dollars on making sure that the flowers are pretty, the grass is green, and if it were possible, they would make sure that it was the picture perfect moment with snow or sunshine.


In a digital world, visuals are used all around us. Visuals are used to create websites, blogs, convey information and much more. A newer way to use visuals would be the popular virtual world Second Life. This animated world allows businesses to create their ideal working conditions without ever leaving home. This highly interactive site, allows users to create “avatars” which represent themselves in the virtual world.


This YouTube clip explains the different elements that are within a visual argument.


Here is an example of text used as a visual.


More and more visuals are using all the elements that technology can offer to create the most persuasive meaning or argument. Although, visuals offer many great things there is much more room for misinterpretations. Every person will not notice or evaluate a visual in the same way, but by adding other aspects, a more clear definition or argument can be made.Persons should also be carful not to read to much into visuals because this can begin to create situations that were not intended.


Audio[edit]

Audio rhetoric is used in many forms of digital media today and provides a certain appeal to get a specific point across. Currently the use of sound separation is allowing for a new dimension in audio technology.

According to Heritage365 and the importance of audio, Audio guides are excellent for certain forms of interpretation. They are personal, language specific,designed for many informational levels and allow the visitor to progress through an exhibit at their own speed. They are becoming multi-dimensional and therefore potentially more a part of any core concept.

The widespread accessibility of television, radio and, perhaps most significantly, the Internet, coupled with the proper presentation, has made it so that the most awkward of public speakers can inspire and make their voice heard.

Throughout the years, there have been a number of speeches that have touched peoples' lives. Words have had the capability to move people emotionally that no other form of delivery has had. The spoken word, properly presented and supported with strength and conviction, still holds sway in every aspect of life as strongly as it did when the nations weren't connected by the World Wide Web.

Words are a strong sense of persuasion and some things cannot be communicated effectively without the use of words. Writing and other flat pieces of rhetoric simply do not have the power to persuade individuals like the strength of a person's speech. Imagine some of the greatest leaders in the world and their ability to sway people's opinion based on their passion expressed through speech.

Speech has reached a new degree in the digital world. Today you can find videos, websites, and online tutorials that really emphasize the use of audio in a rhetoric form.

It is difficult to deny a well formatted audio argument but with the enhancements of screen capabilities and graphics it is even more difficult. Audio is what allows ideas to move from the mind out into society in a faced paced rhetorical manner.

This YouTube video is a prime example of the impact audio can have in relation to digital rhetoric.

Text[edit]

The word text refers to both written and spoken; but in our wiki, text is referred to as written. In the publishing world, illustrations and photos are often part of text. Text is a product and a structure not a process (Digital Text Cycles). Text is also part of a long process (writing, distributing, and reading). Text is part of a text cycle. Over the centuries, we have seen text evolve from oral to written, from written to print, and now print to digital.


We are currently in the world of the digital text. The process of getting text is the same; however, we see and read the text with computers, networks and monitors. The transition from paper to screen started in the second half of the 20th century. By using a computer, we can change the overall look of the text. We can change the font style, color, size, and placement. Digital text is found all around us (web sites, email, and word processing are just a few to name). “Digital text is “malleable,” and can be transformed into other types of media” (Digital Text).


Over the years since the computer and using websites has become extremely popular, so has the word hypertext. Hypertext is a type of text that contains a link to other links. By clicking on a certain word or phrase, you will be taken to a new page (which it can contain more text, graphics, video, or even sound). The new page will be relevant to what you were reading about. It makes life much easier to just click and be taken to the page you want instead of going on a scavenger hunt to find more information on what you were looking up. Unlike regular text, hypertext is a concept, not a product.


Digital text can be transformed into: braille, synthesized speech, digital audio books, or large print (Digital Text). It is also starting to change the learning experience for students. Students can find books and articles online, as well as, using a word processor to write papers. Digital text has had a positive effect on students with learning and reading disabilities.


Here is an example from YouTube on digital text.


Conclusion[edit]

In the ever-changing environment of rhetoric a new rhetoric that interacts with visual audio and text rhetoric has formed. This rhetoric is being defined as digital rhetoric. Digital rhetoric is a collaboration of different forms of media and mediums along with the collaboration of people.


Visuals tend to be the background to what is being explained either by an audio message or in written text. Visuals help the reader to understand concepts further. Visuals are often manipulated for persuasive appeal. Digital Rhetoric allows these processes to take place and then combine with other concepts such as audio or text to create the most persuasive means possible.


Text takes on a whole new look. The color, size, and font style become more important and contribute to the visual appeal that text can offer. Text in the realm of certain digital media such as video or photography, offers the ability to intensify a meaning.

This YouTube clip shows the relationship differences that are made when you move from text or linear thinking to visual thinking.

Audio clips are the underlying explanations in digital rhetoric. In most instances, the audio is typically of a song or person speaking that offers an analysis of entertainment to the medium or media. Audio messages can also be mixed with other audio messages creating a new audio message that may offer a new meaning.


Back to Main Page: The Guide to Digital Rhetoric