A crumpled ball of paper.

Blog Post 9/23/15

The antiquated terms used to define original rhetoric are constantly being retrofitted and retooled to function within the confines of our modern understanding of the concept. We no longer can use the definitions of old to define what rhetoric is. Rather, these terms are the foundation from which we build off of; elevating the study as rhetoric grows and evolves. Rhetorical Velocity and Digital Delivery are both excellent examples of the need to update the catalogue of definitions we oftentimes use when we describe rhetoric. Both terms are products of a new age, a time of growth and discovery in the field that fosters both new thinking and solution.

Rhetorical Velocity is “a conscious rhetorical concern for distance, travel, speed, and time, pertaining specifically to theorizing instances of strategic appropriation by a third party” (Ridolfo DeVoss). This means tailoring your content based on consumption. Holding pieces of information that you think will be rhetorically effective, or providing a ton of content quickly in order to prove a point. When we apply this to the arrangement rhetorical canon we see how content creators manipulate their work through velocity. If a site has many pages, hot links, and tags one can assume that the page does not have a high rhetorical velocity because it takes longer to access the different facets of content. On the opposite end if a site has tons of information on individual pages we see that the site has a higher emphasis on velocity as the information is easily accessed by the reader quickly. When we look at how this pertains to velocity we see differences on how the works will be reproduced. The page with tons of information will be used by others in a very different way than the site with more spread information. When we apply this concept with digital delivery in mind we are given a more detailed understanding of how the process works. Digital Delivery is how media is given to, and digested by an audience. When we combine these two concepts we understand the importance of rhetoricians tailoring their content for not only the initial viewer, but also the subsequent viewers who are looking at variations of their content that was created by others.

Kairos refers to “the way rhetors negotiate or “struggle” with and against their contexts as they seek a particular outcome (Miller, “Kairos”).” This means the timeliness of the piece. Oftentimes, the success of a multimodal work is determined by how timely it truly is. In a world where shifts are seen constantly to new media appealing to kairos is extremely important. The piece discusses this blistering pace and argues that traditional thinking on kairos needs to be shifted. No longer can we exist in a single timeline; many forms of media occur simultaneously forcing us as rhetors to constantly monitor the flow of information and inject our own timeliness into our work. Timeliness does not only apply to the media however it also applies to the content creator as well (how they will produce the content).
“not only a function of social concerns (such as the beliefs and attitudes of the audience) or symbolic concerns (such as the linguistic devices that can best articulate with certain beliefs and attitudes), but is also a function of material considerations, such as the availability of high-definition camcorder and computers with enough processing power to digitize video. In other words, traditional models of rhetorical invention are fundamentally flawed because they fail to account for both the diversity and the materiality of available rhetorical practices.” (Ridolfo 55)

Overall, understanding content rhetorically through traditionalists definitions produces an antiquated understanding of rhetoric as a whole. With these additional definitions we can better understand rhetorically theory in a contemporary setting.


Sheridan, D., & Ridolfo, J. (2012). The available means of persuasion: Mapping a theory and pedagogy of multimodal public rhetoric (pp. 50-74). Anderson, S.C.: Parlor Press.

Paper Ball by Katrina Cole CC BY 2.0



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