Facebook and the Transition from Rhetorical Situation to Rhetorical Ecologies




Soyars, Maureen

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Facebook is a site rich with public discourse among its 410 million users and it is changing the way we fundamentally communicate. Among its varied users, Facebook is continually evolving into multiple genres, meeting different exigencies for different rhetors. In this thesis, I will explore what makes Facebook rhetorically significant today. I will look at how Facebook is changing the nature of rhetorical theory in Web 2.0 discourse practices by imposing specific constraints on expression and interaction while also allowing for new possibilities of communication. I want to examine particularly how Facebook, under the category of “new media,” has refashioned prior ideas of rhetorical situation and how it fits well within the framework of a “rhetorical ecology.” Through its status as a rhetorical ecology (i.e., the way the software is designed, the patterns by which information is circulated on the site, the way members communicate using the software, and the political and social practices that the site demands), Facebook is altering the way we communicate by altering social interaction and the organization of information.



Facebook, Digital media, Rhetoric, Social networking, Rhetorical situation, Ecologies