How does Loss describe “digital rhetoric”?

Reading the chapter “What is digital rhetoric?” by Loss further emphasized to me just how complex the term “digital rhetoric” is. There are many parts of this chapter that really intrigued me, causing me to critically think about it. In this chapter, Loss provides four definitions for “digital” and describes the term in detail. This semester is the first time I’ve studied rhetoric, but I am beginning to learn more and more about; this text really helped me to understand more about the term.

To begin with, in the very beginning of the chapter, Loss discusses how audience heavily influences rhetoric. She mentions how she helped make two websites about the same course. Although each website was about the same course, each website was directed towards two separate audiences. The website directed towards students and parents had more pictures while the one directed towards intellectuals consisted more of programming-intensive. Both audiences were looking for different things within the topic, which is why the creators used certain rhetoric in order to provide the information everyone needed.

To me, using rhetoric to appeal to your audience is an extremely important quality of rhetoric. I’ve learned that rhetoric is the act of writing or speaking effectively. For that reason, this section stood out to me because it reminded me that it is important to appeal to your audience, especially online when communication isn’t always face-to-face interaction.

Like stated earlier, I found many parts of this text very interesting. For instance, later in the chapter, Loss discusses how the term “rhetoric” has become one that is avoided. I can really relate to this ideal of “rhetoric” not being widely accepted. Even though I’m a Writing, Rhetoric and Communications (WRC) major, I didn’t know much about rhetoric. It was a term I associated with persuasion—and only persuasion. In the last couple of weeks I have learned that rhetoric is more than just that. This section reached out to me because I’ve learned that rhetoric affects so many aspects of our life and work. Although Loss mentions how rhetoric is an avoided term, she goes into detail about how it is defended in the academy.

That part in particular is important because I believe it’s great to remember that rhetoric is term that has been growing (and still is). Rhetoric is such a complex term and encompasses many different characteristics, including the subcategory of digital rhetoric. Therefore, I think that the term “rhetoric” will continue to grow and gain more acceptance from individuals outside of the academy.

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