Rhetoric has enriched itself in new media — Albaladejo


  • Is rhetoric an antiquated perspective on communication now that we have new media?
  • Do we need an entirely new rhetorical theory to account for the strategies, powers and constraints of discourse in new media?

No, old rhetorics still apply as the old media of orality and writing and symbolic communication are subsumed and restructured within the new.

In addition, rhetorical theory has grown and will grow new branches that account for the expansion and adaptation of rhetorical practice into these technologized realms.

Tomas Albaladejo writes intelligently of the expansion and adaptation of rhetoric to varieties of new media:   — (paragraph breaks inserted)

The historical and systematic communicative strength of rhetoric enables it to deal with new kinds of discourse, since they keep the essential components of rhetorical discourse.

Cyber-rhetoric or the rhetoric of digital discourse (Albaladejo 2005a) could be considered one of the latest steps in the evolution of rhetoric. Digital discourse is a complex construction consisting of linguistic, visual and phonic components, which has a rhetorical foundation and manifestation as a whole.

In addition to the rhetorical shape of digital discourse, one must also take into account the rhetorical construction of all written and oral texts contained in web sites, as well as the rhetorical discourses hosted by them, as in, for example, Martin Luther King’s discourse /I have a dream/, which can be read, heard and seen on the World Wide Web.

Nevertheless, cyber-rhetoric is basically nothing other than rhetoric.

Cyber-rhetoric is rhetoric, as the rhetoric of written discourse is rhetoric, and the rhetoric of journalism and other mass media is rhetoric.

The different prefixes, adjectives and nominal complements added to the noun rhetoric are used in order to delimit an area within the wide field of rhetoric, and they must not be understood to be a way of proposing or promoting a rhetoric different from rhetoric as a comprehensive system that was historically founded and developed. They are rather a way of enriching rhetoric by stressing its plurality and suitability for the different kinds of discourse and the different means of achieving communication.

One of the characteristics of the development and evolution of rhetoric is the expansion of its area of practice and study within the field of communication, together with the fact that rhetoric has never been withdrawn from the spaces where it has previously worked.

Thus, today we can hear oral discourses, such as those delivered in courts and parliaments, but we can also read written rhetorical discourses, like editorials or leading articles in newspapers, and we can also see, hear and read digital rhetorical discourses.

Rhetoric has carried to new communicative areas the experience that it has obtained in the areas where it has formerly worked.

In this way, rhetoric has enriched itself and has provided tested and renewed tools for the practice and study of discursive and persuasive communication.

Adaptation to the needs that have arisen in the ongoing evolution of communication has always been a challenge for rhetoric, but this is the key to its usefulness.

From p. 27-28 of:

  • Albaladejo, T. (2014). Rhetoric and discourse analysis. In I. Olza, O. Loureda, & M. Casado-Velarde (Eds.), Linguistic insights: Language use in the public sphere: Methodological perspective and empirical applications (pp. 19–51). Bern; Oxford: Peter Lang.

This phrase echoes:

“rhetoric has enriched itself and has provided tested and renewed tools for the practice and study of discursive and persuasive communication” (Albaladejo, 2014, p. 27)

Rhetoric is not dying in a new media environment.

It is expanding, enriching itself and providing tested and renewed tools for both rhetorical practice and rhetorical study.

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Supporting group research projects with free online communication technologies


Fall 2011 Student Hackathon CodingIn this blog post and an informal, face-to-face lunchtime “brownbag” seminar for faculty members held today on campus, I will present some principles and examples of free online applications that have worked well in my team-intensive professional communication and social research methods courses.

The main purpose of the workshop is to share instructors’ insights and specific experiences with communication technologies for student team research projects, starting with my own. Each technology has had its strengths and weaknesses, and some of these can work together or even be set up to function within or “through” the Blackboard course management interface we use at our university.

The relevance to rhetoric is that teams require appropriate forums for their collaborative everyday communication, and the forums can structure, enable and limit the kinds of informative and persuasive acts that learners and researchers need to engage in during a short-term university course.

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The Rhetoric of WordPress Blog Plugins


Now that I have had some experience this year with building several self-hosted WordPress blogs and sites, I have become very interested in the rhetorical tools enabled by plugins that enhance WordPress for organizational blogs and websites.

Plugins make blogs more functional than the “naked” version of WordPress.  For a person who is not an expert in HTML or PHP, they are tools given for free by those who do write the code, and they enable customization for the rest of us who are just beginner to intermediate blog administrators. Continue reading

WordPress blogs as organization or association newsletters


Hey guys, I captured the mouse!A functional option today for an organization’s newsletter is to set up a free public blog on http://wordpress.com/ or to host a WordPress blog on your own website (if you have one).

Blogs are quite professional nowadays (no longer merely online diaries). They are respectable forums for academic associations. The Rhetoric Society of America has a blog (The Blogora) at http://rsa.cwrl.utexas.edu/

Blogs are even used by many nonprofit organizations as the basis for free websites. See this example of a website — the Trent Centre for Community-based Education http://www.trentcentre.ca/ — you wouldn’t even know it’s based on WordPress software unless you scroll down to the very bottom and see the notice “proudly powered by WordPress.”

The rest of the post explains how it can work for your association, why WordPress is a good choice, and how it can be used to automatically distribute content to members who may prefer to browse its content or stay up to date via Facebook or other social media platforms rather than (or in addition to) an email subscription to your blog. Continue reading

Using Zoho Projects as an educator


Penrith mature 1I’m a professor and for the past 10 months, I’ve used Zoho Projects for team projects in my classrooms and for collaborations amongst academics at a distance.

I’d just like to share my thoughts on how I use this tool, the things I absolutely love about this online collaboration application, and things I wish could be worked on.  I’m also sharing this with the Zoho support team on their support forum.

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Edu*Rhetor’s 2010 in review


I received this in my email from WordPress, and thought it would be of interest to some, and an interesting bit of history ten years from now after my blog will have grown more.

— — QUOTE — —

“The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

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Website analysis in Calgary Herald


My participation in an interview with Tony Seskus, a journalist at the Calgary Herald newspaper, spurred me to write this blog post on mayoral candidates’ websites a couple of days ago:

Website rhetoric of mayoral candidates

Now some of the content has appeared in this article —

Can mayoral hopefuls emulate Obamamania?

By Tony Seskus, Calgary Herald June 27, 2010…

for a bit of fun this last week, I asked Tania Smith at the University of Calgary for her thoughts on a selection of mayoral candidate websites.

Smith teaches a course in advanced professional and technical communication, where students work on real-world web design projects and study online communication.

She reviewed the websites of nine mayoral candidates and scored them on first impression, message and readability, and interactivity, giving up to five points for each.

Calgary Herald website: http://www.calgaryherald.com/