Download A new rhetoric: Essays on using the internet to communicate by Mr R E Stewart PDF

By Mr R E Stewart

The essays during this publication study where of electronic communications or "rhetoric" in smooth tradition. They recommend that, just like the printing revolution ahead of it, the web is shaping tectonic cultural stream, yet is at the moment stuck among conventional technocratic methods of considering, and the extra unpredictable terrain of human behaviour.

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Under these arrangements, how is it possible that the public could be perceived as anything other than relatively ignorant? Surely the social contract is designed to allow for this, and in allowing for it, legitimises and almost provokes it? Some level of cynicism in this unequal distribution of power must be inevitable. The condition of a government so-constituted must produce a degree of cynicism because (even if it is well-intentioned) it will, by definition, not speak for all constituencies of the body politic, leaving those disenfranchised, cynical about its activities.

To sand it down to its smoothest, digital rhetoric is, for the most part, “practical”. The corollaries of this “practical” character have produced ever-changing rules or industry-standard guidance about how to communicate effectively. Such rules cover, variously, how to write a piece of text for the way people read in a web browser, the appropriate length for an online video, how to write headlines and introductory text given the different ways they might appear across digital networks, how to “optimise” web pages for search engines, how to plan and govern the creation of digital content … and so on.

They also underline content as the thing that really matters, because they exist to make the content possible; they bring the new technology in touch with the data, or material which fires human interest. To extrapolate a view in panorama, it’s my impression that for all the pioneering work that user experience (or “UX”) professionals are doing, there still remains a wide gap between the state of the technology and the way “ordinary” human beings make sense of it. Basic features of the web that are too easily taken for granted remain mysterious for large numbers of people.

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