Bloggers' Rhetoric - Connecting to Audiences in the Digital Age

Why blog?

Blogs can be both public and intensely personal in possibly contradictory ways. They are addressed to everyone and at the same time to no one. They seem to serve no immediate practical purpose, yet increasing numbers of both writers and readers are devoting increasing amounts of time to them. The blog is a new rhetorical opportunity made possible by technology that is becoming more available and easier to use, but it was adopted so quickly and widely that it must be serving well established rhetorical needs. - [1]

Research done by Carolyn Miller and Dawn Shepherd has established blogging as an emerging form of digital rhetoric. The increase in popularity branching off its origin of the weblog in the 90's is due in part to:

The accessibility of a blog - it is available to any audience with internet.
The large potential for social action
Its democratic structure - ladder of success
The community development
The self-expression - private/public

Jeff Bullas, author of //Blogging the Smart Way//

Who We Are and Our Purpose

We are undergraduate composition students at Indiana University and our purpose is to apply rhetorical skills to blogging as a form of digital writing.

Blogger and Reader Interaction
This page discusses the interactive opportunities in the blog environment. This interaction is often found in a comment section; sometimes the original blogger is a part of this interaction and sometimes he or she is not. The goal of this piece is to examine how a blogger can influence this environment to better reach his or her readers. It also analyzes the exposure of private life in a public space and how to do so effectively in order to establish a credible blog rather than just a confessional page.

Building Readership Through Common Interests
The focus of this page will be on dissecting two digital communities, fan fiction and blogging, in an effort to illustrate what distinguishes them and where the rhetorical situation for writers are contrasted or mirrored. The intent of analysis will be regarding how can bloggers improve themselves by looking at user interaction in a similar digital space.

Blogging with Genre in Mind
This paper will analyze the sub-genre of video blogs with particular reference to the online community of TED. The non-profit organization of TED actively promotes innovations in technology, entertainment, and design through TEDTalks (videos that mirror written blogs in video format). An analysis of this sub-genre provides examples of how individual video blogs can become more rhetorically effective when operating under a well-established genre. Ultimately, bloggers will benefit from an understanding of genre analysis because this rhetorical strategy effectively frames writing to an established community, which is an overarching goal of blogging.

Blogging with an Eye for Rhetorical Analysis
This page focuses on how bloggers can compose a strong critique of two digital texts based on rhetorical analysis. It will explain common rhetorical strategies used in digital writing and how they compare and contrast by using examples of two online videos about sustainable food issues.

How to create an effective environmental activism blog by using rhetoric
This page explains on how amateur bloggers can create a rhetorically effective blog. It explains the Appeals of argumentation, which are the strategies through which one attempts to persuade. This page shows tips and techniques with examples on how to create a good blog.

Why is rhetoric important to bloggers?

Blog-writing is a genre of digital communication that must be highly persuasive in order to captivate and hold their audiences. In this respect, bloggers would be more responsive to the benefits of understanding digital rhetoric. Furthermore, they will be invested in this issue because it concerns their livelihood. Quite simply, bloggers become successful based on how many people read and interact on their blogs. Therefore, their values reflect quality work that translates into high readership and community building, the latter of which takes place in the comment section of the blog.

1. Miller, Carolyn R. and Shepherd, Dawn. "Blogging as Social Action: A Genre Analysis of the Weblog." Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs. North Carolina State University. Web. 27 Nov. 2012.
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