rhetoric in the late age of the internet

Some 25 years ago, Jay Bolter described the “late age of print” not as an era when print media were disappearing but rather as time when the question of an impending end began to characterize how we understood the technology. In imagining a late ago of the internet, some semantic clarification is necessary. I do…

the social-rhetorical challenges of information technology

I spent about an hour this morning responding to two different institutional surveys about technology: one coming from the library and asking about digital scholarship and the other coming from IT and focusing on their services and classroom technologies. What technologies do scholars in your field use? What do you use? What frustrations do you…

What does/would “data rhetoric” look like?

This is something of a follow-up on my last post, where I concluded by suggesting that we might need a “data humanities” and a “data rhetoric” that paralleled the emergence of data science. I should probably say first that I don’t mean this as a replacement for terms like digital rhetoric or digital humanities. It’s…

the late age of close reading and the data humanities

I have been working on my book, so I haven’t found as much time to write here, and this post comes out of the work I’m doing there rather than any particular current event (though I’d like to think it has some currency!). In the broadest terms the manuscript considers the value of a particular…

How do you think rhetoric works?

A recent article by Elizabeth Kolbert in The New Yorker seeks to explain “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds.” The article is in reference to several new books written by cognitive scientists. The first, by Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber, called The Enigma of Reason recounts numerous psychological studies examining the various ways in which people hold on to their…

robot empathy and ethics in a jobless future

Perhaps this is a departure from concerns of distributed deliberation, fake news and such. Perhaps not. Here though I begin with the rhetoric of an emerging sub-genre regarding humanity’s slow, dismal apocalypse in the wake of intelligent machines. I offer two examples, one from the New Yorker, “Silicon Valley Has an Empathy Problem” by Om Malik…

distributed deliberation: beyond echo chambers and fake news

If some Americans are slowly rousing to the realization that getting information via social media resulted in a distorted (and sometimes completely false) view of past election, perhaps they might be able to extend that epiphany to recognize that the distortion is ongoing and not limited to presidential politics. It is also not limited to…

friendship, encryption, and servers

Let’s side aside the partisan politics for a moment and consider these matters more broadly. I believe it was Ben Franklin who said, “Three men can keep a secret if two of them are dead.” It suggests a couple things. Perhaps a lack of self control come to mind, but I think of the sociality…

designing rhetorical technologies of deliberation

An interesting article in The Atlantic, “The Binge Breaker,” discusses the challenges of ethical design for social media, smartphones, and related technologies. The article focuses on familiar and widespread experiences in digital culture: its addictive qualities and attentional demands. It is no surprise that devices and apps are built with the express purpose of attracting user attention: “the digital…

genres, population thinking, and what the hell do you think you’re doing?

I’ve been working some more on basic concepts coming from assemblage theory and DeLanda, specifically in this case “population thinking.” Very briefly, populations are the way that Delanda thinks about relations among individual singularities. The idea is that individuals form a population in a statistical way through the historical use of a common set of…