From Cynicism to Kynicism to Kinecism: Moving Bodies and Engendering Change

Hi! Below is a rough draft of a panel proposal for RSA 2016. Donnie J. Sackey and I are looking for a few more people to join the panel–if there is enough interest, and we get 6+ people, then we can submit a special format proposal for more of a roundtable approach, like an Ignite style panel presentation . To channel some Latour, the central theme is exploring rhetorics more interested in (constructive) action than (critical) thought. If you are interested, then please send me a brief note with a description (100 words or so) on what you would like to present. You can reach me on Twitter, Facebook, or via email (marcsantos at usf dot edu).

This panel is skeptical of the idea that changing how someone thinks will change how someone acts. Our shared skepticism toward epistemic approaches to change is fueled by a number of theoretical perspectives, including Bruno Latour’s investment in constructivism and his skepticism toward the efficacy of critique, Ian Bogost’s articulation of procedural rhetoric, neosophistic approaches to pragmatism, and Peter Sloterdjik’s notion of “kynicism” as a direct response to the rising and debilitating cynicism plaguing late 20th and early 21st century society. We propose that rhetoricians interested in fostering change should look more at material (Fit Bit), viral (Ice Bucket Challenge), and procedural (Super Better) means for instigating action (parentheticals subject to change). We can take from Diogenes and the ancient cynics a skepticism toward Idealism without endorsing public masturbation, defecation, and general lewdness. Rather, we can see in their commitment to action the first suggestion of a method: one that begins with increased attention to performance, procedure, and doing.

Sloterdjik’s response to the problem of cynicism and apathy was to argue for a notion of “kynicism,” a method of overstatement and critical engagement that punctures ideological fantasy. We want to provide Sloterdjik’s term a more pragmatic (and, if you prefer, sophistic) inflection. We will describe this commitment to action via the term “kinecism,” both a play on Sloterdjik’s explication/reconsideration of classical Cynicism and a nod to the notion of kinetic energy. Unlike Sloterdjik, we will not endorse a direct matter of critical engagement that seeks to unmask the pervasive cynicism underwriting much of popular culture. Rather, we will take from the cynics their staunch opposition to Idealism; we are skeptical of the idea that a change in thought will necessarily lead to a change in action. And we will not let the Perfect be the enemy of change, experiment, the preliminary, etc.

This panel investigates rhetorical engagements and/or rhetorical pedagogies that do not focus on the epistemic as much as on the material, the constructive, the procedural. The presentations are kinetic to the extent that they are invested in motion, with a firm belief that a change in action precipitates a change in thought or orientation, thus inverting the traditional belief that a change in thought must precede a change in action.

Speaker One will provide a further explication of kinecism, exploring how Latour, Bogost, Jane McGonigal and others contribute to a pragmatic rearticulation of Sloterdjik’s concept of “kyncism.” The presentation will conclude by looking at the Ice Bucket challenge as an example of viral, kinetic rhetoric.

Rhetorical Theory 16.1 / Rhetoric and Ethics: When the Desire for Unity Meets an Insistence Upon Alterity

Yesterday, as I was imagining what I would say to close this class, kairos happened. Originally, I thought I might return to our opening class and attempt to redefine rhetoric. But then Brittney Cooper’s ““It’s the Blackness that scares everybody”: Why white people favor “African-Americans”” came across my Facebook feed. In the article, Cooper cites a recent study confirming that white people significantly prefer the term “African American” to “black,” conferring on the latter term more sophistication and status. “African Americans” are managers, “blacks” are not.

Cooper responds with an anecdote about how her mother taught her to use the term black. She muses:

To this day, if I’m not being really deliberate, or really formal, I refer to myself and other African Americans as “Black.” Blackness rolls off the tongue in just that certain way when I say it loud and proud. I sometimes notice white eyebrows raising when I dare to say the word “Black,” sitting around a boardroom table. It is disruptive. And disarming. And political.

It is to that last sentence and the fragments that follow it that I want to draw our attention. Because I want to argue that Cooper’s concise explication of the power of the word “black” reveals to us three reasons we need to study rhetoric–particularly rhetoric as I want to define it.

First, Cooper’s essay as a whole recalls Kenneth Burke’s essay on “Terministic Screens,” particularly, Burke’s idea that terms often capture “attitudes.” Terms can think for us–since in many cases I suspect the difference between African-American and black is registered not in the conscious mind, but in the subconscious one. To attend to rhetoric is to bring these subconscious elements to the surface, to call attention to the ways in which language thinks for us, affects us, even when we might not be aware of it. That is, rhetoric disrupts our normal communicative economy by asking questions about exchange rates.

Second, again recalling Burke, Cooper reminds us that language does more than simply convey information. Language acts. Language is symbolic action. As Burke writes in Permanence and Change, “words are fists.” Or, at least, they can be. They can strike us. They can disarm us. But they can do more than that. The point to remember here is that language is never simply transmitting knowledge (logos). Language always hits a target–again, it is affective, or pathetic. There is no utterance that does not touch upon our emotions. Philosophy, in the tradition of Plato, has long defined itself as a discipline that filters emotion out. Emotion is noise that gets in the way of the Truth (logos). Rhetoric thinks emotion (pathos) otherwise.

Third, rhetoric approaches all language as political, in the sophistic sense of the term we traced out via Gorgias, Isocrates, Jarratt, McComiskey, and especially Lanham earlier in the course, whether you call it nomos, social construction, or the strong defense. Words are fists, and, as the theorists Francois Lyotard reminds us, “to speak is to fight.” All those hits pile up. There is no utterance that does not hit upon another and, at the very least, make a demand of her time and attention. Such demands are taxing, and part of any rhetoric dedicated to the political (in either the broader sense of the social I have traced here or even its more common everyday sense of civic deliberation and government) has to account for the difficulty we face just trying to pay attention.

Part of this difficulty is amplified by our innate allergy to alterity, to difference. This, I believe, is the incredibly important conclusion articulated by Corder. Victor Vitanza, in his attempt to fuse ancient sophistry with contemporary philosophy (particularly Nietzsche and Derrida), writes:

My position is […] that we are not at home in our world/whirl of language. Any and every attempt to assume that we are has or will have created for human beings dangerous situations. (Negation, Subjectivity, and the History of Rhetoric, 157).

The desire to end the whirl, to find ourselves standing on solid, unquestionable ground, explains for me why people will often ignore research and evidence that contradicts an ideological narrative. It explains why pizza owners in Indiana won’t serve LGBTQ weddings, and why Americans will donate nearly a million dollar to said owners in support. In the social sciences, such a tendency is termed “confirmation bias.” To anticipate my conclusion, I want to suggest that addressing confirmation bias requires more than addressing means of interpretation. It requires we craft a subject with the emotional capacity requisite to develop “a will to interpret otherwise.”

And this, for me, marks off the province of 21st century rhetoric. We are aware of all these things: language’s ability to subconsciously strike at any notion of difference or otherness, and our human–all too human–desire for Perfection. Simplicity. Unity. Certainty. Truth. These terms are not innocent. We must learn to hear them. In the age of digital cacophony, rhetoric is the discipline that cultivates civic subjects willing to listen. To attend to difference. To eschew the safe and the simple for something more messy, complicated, and–ultimately–ethical.

Scholarship isn’t always about solving a problem. Often it is about exploring a problem, recognizing it. More often, it is simply about getting others to see your problem, to pull them to it. To give your problem gravity. Bruno Latour argues something is real only in so much that it impacts others–that we can trace connections and effects. Scholarship, then, can be seen as the attempt to collect and assemble more actants in your problem’s network.

This semester, then, has been my attempt to recruit you to my cause–even if temporarily. To the question of how, or if, but certainly why, we need to learn to practice listening as I have worked to describe it. Listening, not in terms of waiting to speak, waiting to persuade, respond, counter-argument. Not in the Platonic/Aristotelian tradition of agonism and dialectic. Rather listening in terms of what Corder prioritizes–as taking the time to reflect inwardly before lashing outwardly.

In short, we must learn to hear our own desire for perfection, simplicity, unity, certainty, truth. And we must educate ourselves such that we don’t allow these desires to dominate the way we interact with others. Rhetoric is particularly suited to such a task, since its historical mission has been to conceptualize and predict the ways in which different audiences might interpret a particular message.

I am not an Idealist here. Conceptualizing rhetoric as listening isn’t a utopian proposal. It is not a means to ending the interminable wrangle of the marketplace. This does not mean we live in a world without argument or debate. This doesn’t mean we cannot criticize others. But it does mean that we must take the time to listen to other positions, to resist the immediate impulse to attack and tear down, to try to identify possible starting places for cooperation. There will be times when there are none. There will be times when our opponents steadfastly refuse to extend us an ear. We will be tempted to stop listening.

I will not pretend that I offer a solution for how to “fix” these impasses. But I will say, quite frankly, that I worry for the future of our government, our fragile democracy, when I see a generation of politicians, and Americans, who seem so disinclined to attend to other opinions. Other narratives. Other possibilities. It is our task, as rhetoricians, to open this problem, to broadcast it, to insist upon better media, better politicians, better schools, that acknowledge the necessity of listening, of encountering difference, rather than obfuscating, synthesizing, silencing, or ignoring it.

My dedication to thinking rhetoric as listening, and to think of listening in terms of ethics stems from my firm belief in the failure of the Enlightenment ideal (particularly the one introduced to us by Kant): the commitment that knowledge, and the gradual progression of knowledge, is sufficient to solve our human (and, of course, non-human) problems. I do not believe this to be so. For it does not address the most obvious question: how do we persuade someone to listen to knowledge? How do we cultivate a citizen, a self, willing to listen, to consider, to change? Those are not rhetorical questions, but rather the questions that drive my dedication to rhetoric.

Homework

We will watch the manifesto projects in Thursday’s class. Furthermore, I will ask those working on the final paper to prepare a one-page handout that highlights your research. Here is a link to a (boring) sample handout I made for a presentation last year on Rhetoric, Ethics, and Listening. Here is another handout I made for a presentation on Postpedagogy and Web Writing with Dr. Leahy.

Before submitting your final paper, please refer to the final submission guide.

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Finally, before you put your handouts together, I want to stress the importance of writing relevant, informative, and intriguing titles. In academia, titles come in two general flavors, MLA (humanities) and APA (science). MLA titles tend to have two parts, the gag line followed by a colon and description of the project. APA titles, on the other hand, tend to be a bit more conservative and usually forgo the gag line. For instance, here’s a journal in Rhetoric and Composition that uses MLA format, CCC. And here’s a list of the top downloaded articles at a journal that uses APA format, TCQ. The point here: put more time into thinking about the title of an essay. 

New Media 15.2 / Building a Portfolio in SquareSpace

Hi all. Tuesday’s class exposed me to how un-intuitive SquareSpace 7’s interface is. But after working with Ashley, Ricky, Brooke, and Matt, I think I have a handle on how to use it. Today I want to show you two different ways of setting up a portfolio.

CopyLeft, Creative Commons, and Intellectual Property

While prepping for class today, I came across an article discussing SoundCloud and its recent anti-piracy system. I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about the importance of copyleft, an open source response to the drastically increased copyright legislation Congress has supported over the past few decades. And I want to highlight Lawrence Lessig’s Creative Commons project.

Two Ways to Set Up a Portfolio in SquareSpace

The first way involves setting up a content collection and then creating a summary list or a grid

. The second way involves manipulating text blocks. Let’s look at both of these in practice.

As we move toward the end of class, I wanted to review my expectations for your final website.

Some kind of bio or about page.
A portfolio that:
includes images of your work. For text-based work, this could be a screenshot of the work in Word. For audio projects, this could be a screen shot of the audacity file.
Descriptions of the work that provide some context (who, what, where, when, why, etc) and highlight key successes.
Whenever possible, contains links to the work or to download the work.
A resume

Remember to that we want these sites to be visually impressive. The sophistication and design of the site, the care you put into the small details, says as much about the quality of your work as the work you post there itself. Sweat the small stuff.

Rhetorical Theory 15.1 / Peer Review

Hi all. Today is dedicated to peer reviewing final papers. I want to clarify that this is more about revising the quality of thought, clarifying evidence, and attending to logical development than it is to dealing with surface level editing. If we think of rhetoric’s five major canons (invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery), then today is primarily concerned with the second canon. Is this material arranged coherently? Can a reader with minimal background knowledge follow the argument?

With that in mind, I want to think about paragraphs as units. This is basic stuff and you all know this, of course: Every paragraph should have a specific purpose, it should convey one idea; every paragraph should make one claim, and then present enough evidence to support this claim; evidence, for most of these projects, will be either quotes or paraphrases from the texts the writer is reading and interpreting. But experience proves that writing is messy. Writing is an attempt to tame a thought. Thought is wild. It resists.

So, today, we are going to do our best to help tame thought. Here’s how. First, I will ask you to read the paper. As you go through each paragraph underline the topic sentence. We want to make sure that every paragraph has one, and only one, main idea. Please read the whole paragraph before you go back and underline. If you don’t think a paragraph makes a claim, then write “no clear claim” in the margin.

Then we want to look at how well the writer handles her evidence. I have a four part system for presenting evidence:

  • Signal
  • Quote
  • Summary
  • Analysis

I use this system for both longer block quotes (quotes that are 4 or more lines) and short quotes.

As you read through papers today, I want you to focus attention on how well the writer transitions into evidence. And, I want you to make sure that they are making explicit the connection between evidence and the greater claim of their paper: are they making the connection? Or are they asking you to do that work for them? Are they doing their logical duty before and after their evidence?

Here’s a few examples of how I use this system in action. First an example from my 2014 article on Gregory Ulmer’s “mystory” project:


Berlin (1988) offered his most damning rejection of expressivist pedagogies in his canonical essay, “Rhetoric and Ideology in the Writing Classroom,” where he indicated expressivism with two particular charges. First, because it identified the social as a corrupting force that tarnished the authenticity of the individual, collective action became more difficult:

[ … ] expressionistic rhetoric is inherently and debilitatingly divisive of political protest, suggesting that effective resistance can only be offered by individuals, each acting alone. Given the isolation and incoherence of such protest, gestures genuinely threatening to the establishment are difficult to accomplish. (Berlin, 1988, p. 487)

Hence, expressivism offers no explicit political project, but rather a “subversiveness [ … ] more apparent than real” (487). As already noted, Ulmer maintained the ideal response to a mystory is the composition of another mystory; thus, it can be difficult to see how one would translate the insight of the mystory (or an electronic monument) into direct, impactful political action. However, this assumes that the immediate purpose of the mystory is such action. While the mystory is not the kind of direct political action sought by Berlin, it is an important step in cultivating an agent (or, as Ulmer identifies them, an egent) capable of acting politically and ethically in the 21st century. We will return to this point in the conclusion of this section.


Above, I claim that Berlin characterizes expressionism as devoid of political dimensions. I then transition into a quote from Berlin. Before you get to the quote you know both 1) when the quote was written and 2) in what article it appeared. Then, after the quote, I both summarize my reading of it (perhaps a bit weak) before connecting the quote and paragraph to the over-arching argument of the article: that Ulmer’s “mystory” complicates Berlin’s characterization.

Let’s look at a second example:


Byron Hawk offers a similar perspective of the agentive/inventive dimensions of space and materiality, with a focus on highlighting a pedagogic practice conducive to choric invention. In addition to the work of Ulmer, Hawk turns to the Heideggerian-inflected pedagogy of Paul Kameen, specifically his practice of the “read around” (229-234):

At the beginning of each class, everyone reads his or her paper. […] After each presentation, there is no response or commentary, only silence, until it is broken by the next speaker. Class discussion follows these readings and focuses on selected texts from the syllabus. […] Such localizing establishes a rhetorical situation for both the students’ and the teacher’s knowledge production: it provides a background from which the participants in a class can interpret the poetry and criticism and produce knowledges specific to them as well as to the class. (226)

Hawk argues that Kameen’s insistence on opening classes with students listening to each other transforms their perception of and relations within the classroom space. In terms of the first principle, that environs operate as active agents in the inventive process, this pedagogical practice is an attempt to attune us to the agentive dimensions of mood, atmosphere, and space; Kameen seeks to transform the classroom into a space more conducive to unpredictable emergence by encouraging listening. But this passage also anticipates the second principle of choric invention, and its interest in juxtaposing subjective experience against objective history.

New Media 14.2 / Project Descriptions & Website Set-Up

Hi all. Today I have a few things I want you to complete in class. I will be available to help people with their SquareSpace, to look at resumes, or to review your project descriptions.

I want to open class talking about the Podcast Project. Many people turned in a file to Canvas, but I want to hear more about the process of setting up the podcast via iTunes.

Once we are done talking about iTunes, I want you to spend class time working on your portfolio. Here’s what I want to see by the end of class:

  • Descriptions for 6 different projects you have completed at USF. These could be digital projects or print projects. Ideally, you would have 3 of each. Each project description should be 3 to 5 sentences. Those sentences should explain to the viewer 1) what the project was supposed to be (perhaps a link to the assignment? Include the course name and number?) and 2) what you think it does especially well. For those of you who don’t feel like you have 6 projects you are really proud of, now would be a good time to embrace Garrett’s wisdom.
  • Once you have these descriptions, I want you to build your site’s navigation by adding new pages. Copy and paste the projects and descriptions for this page. NOTE: Squarespace has different options for what these pages might look like. Let’s explore those in class.
  • Make sure your resume is uploaded to Squarespace, and that there is a link to it from the main navigation.
  • Start creating image thumbnails for your portfolio projects.

Also, I want to get together today with the Bluehost people and talk about setting up WordPress.

Rhetorical Theory 14.2 / Toward a Coherent Definition of Rhetoric

Hi all. Remember that class is optional today. I will be there to look at drafts, help find sources, or talk through questions/problems. Remember to bring 2 copies of your paper or script to class on Tuesday. We will work with the drafts in class.

Today I was commenting on a student paper and wrote the following. The student–new to the study of rhetoric–was struggling to compose a response to Plato’s castigation of rhetoric in the Gorgias. Below is my response. I share it because I will ask all of you to write something similar in the future–to write for me a concise definition of rhetoric for someone who isn’t a scholar in the field, someone who gives you the inquisitive look of “why do you study bullshit?”


Here’s how I would sum it up: Plato is only interested in truth. He believes that truth should determine all political choices. For this to work, however, everyone has to agree on who gets to decide what is true. And they have to be willing to do whatever those special people determine is the truth.

Aristotle, Isocrates, Gorgias, and the rest of the sophists realize that, even if you do think this is how politics should work–even if this is your ideal–it could/would never work in practice. First, no one is going to hand over complete authority to someone else. Ever. Second, no one is going to agree to everything someone else says. People need to have a voice, they need to be able to question, they WILL disagree. Rhetoric, then, isn’t just a means to convince people that you have the truth (as Plato wants it to be). Rather, it is a way to approach disagreements and debates that minimizes the bullshit and the anger. It acknowledges that decisions require we have very difficult conversations (think of the contemporary debates over LGBT weddings), and that those conversations are more productive if we explore.

  • why we get so emotional
  • what makes people credible to contribute to a conversation
  • who has the right to tell other people what to do
  • what we do when your rights conflict with my rights
  • how we can set up a government where everyone gets a chance to speak

There’s probably more things I could say here, but I think that’s enough to give you a sense of why rhetoric is important, and why it is more than just “mere pastry baking” as Plato describes it in the Gorgias. Rhetoric concerns itself with how we can productively approach problems.

Rhetorical Theory 14.1 / Arranging a Research Paper

Today I want to focus attention on how to arrange your research papers. I’ll be working through some notes from my Expository Writing class that focus on writing introductions.

Looking at the three articles to which I link, you can tease out a basic semantics to a thesis and to organizing a paper. There’s the argument and the road map. The argument can take a number of forms:

  • This paper uses X to reassess Y. In short, X differs from typical understandings of Y because of Z1, Z2, and Z3.

Also, when writing a research paper, I generally think of 4-5 needs (not necessarily areas or parts–but things a paper has to do) of the paper:

  • [Problem] What is the problem? What is at stake? Why is this important?
  • [Lit Review] What is the dominant way of thinking about your object of study? Who introduced that way of thinking? Who else still thinks that way? How does the general audience (which can be popular culture, which can be the news media, which can even be other scholars and the scholarly community) think about your object?
  • [Theory] What new way of thinking/seeing/doing are you introducing? How did you discover this new way? Who else has talked about this new way?
  • [Application] Show me how to use the new way. Show me what it does/reveal differently. Use it. Deploy it. Make it count.

Homework

I need you to bring two print copies of your paper or script to class next Tuesday. We will peer review in class.

New Media 13.2 / Building Your Professional Web Portfolio

Over the next few weeks, I will dedicate class time to working with Squarespace to build your final project, the Professional Web Portfolio. This portfolio will showcase your best work from all of the classes you have taken as a part of this major.

We will spend time today looking at portfolios of professional writers, designers, and academics so that you get a sense of the range of possibilities for developing a portfolio. We want to get a sense of the genre. Often times, a portfolio–like the clothing we wear–is a highly rhetorical and stylized method for telling someone who we want to be and how we want to be perceived. In short, it is an opportunity for distinction. Everyone who graduates has a degree, but not everyone has a website that speaks to their proficiency as a writer, designer, and person.

There are some requirements for the project:

  • First, it must construct sensible categories for organizing projects. This probably shouldn’t be by class.
  • Second, the portfolio section should provide brief BUT MEANINGFUL commentary on the project. In short, explain to your audience (potential employers, graduate or law school admissions committees, etc.) what this project tells us about you and your abilities. Learn to develop language for talking about your work.
  • Third, even if it is just a paper, include an image, not just a link. For boring old papers, you can take a screen cast of a page or even a hyper-magnified portion of a page since that looks cool. I expect to be able to look at/read all the pieces in your portfolio. And don’t be afraid to include group projects.
  • Fourth, at some point you must customize the design of your site by editing the CSS. Don’t freak out, I’ll help ease you into this in class.

What is a Web Portfolio?

Let’s start there, looking at the sites of

Now, these people are all professional academics. They are constructing a portfolio for an academic audience. A professional portfolio will be different, but we can still learn something from these.

I want to pay particular attention to the navigation menu on these sites. When you are designing your portfolio, I would guess you would need the following tabs:

  • Home
  • About (?)
  • Resume
  • Print Works
  • Digital Works
  • Contact (?)
  • Coursework (?)

You have some decisions here: do you want to have a splash page as your homepage? Or will the homepage contain a brief bio and contact information?

I also want you to notice how well these sites use images *and* text to frame projects (this is something I know I need to do more of on my own site). When you start putting your portfolio together, think about how you can use images as links to projects (for instance, taking a screen capture of a Word doc and then transforming it into a thumbnail).

Even though some of the sites above are constructed in html & css, there’s no reason we can’t echo some of the design principles in our CMS.

One of the first things you will need for this project is to complete a resume. It can take a lot of design work to get a nice resume, but we want to start by framing the content. Here’s an example we can use for inventive purposes.

Customizing Your Site Design In Square Space

Squarespace provides some documentation for customizing your site design. I want us to get a sense for how to insert a background image. Of course, we are all using different templates, so this will be a bit different for each of us.

It should be helpful to know the basic CSS command for inserting a background-image:


body
{
background-image:url('paper.gif');
background-color:#cccccc;
}

Of course, we probably won’t be inserting our background image into the body. Also, there’s the matter of whether we are targeting a local file (as in the example above, targeting “paper.gif’), or an image on the internet (which would require a URL, and would require that the image we want to use is on the net someplace).

Homework

Finish your first podcast!

Also, make sure you have a resume finished.

New Media 13.1 / Let’s Talk Twitter

I wanted to spend a day talking about social media. This is probably the most underdeveloped component of this class–every semester I have ambitions to work social media into the course, but that ambition loses out to more pressing concerns. Our focus this semester has been on image editing, video capture and editing, and audio editing. We’ll end the course working with a content management system. There just hasn’t been time to also work on social media.

What These Jobs Look Like

But there is clearly a market demand for folks with a background in social media management and content generation:

You can begin to build your resume for these kinds of jobs even if you don’t have an internship or a job in social media by following best practices with your personal use of social media.

How to Tweet

First, let’s look at a tweet:

I’ll offer a few introductory suggestions:

Note that I am not saying that you cannot mix the personal and the professional–but if you are using your social media presence as part of your professional identity (which you should be), and even if you aren’t, jobs will be paying attention to how you act online.

Remember that job ads are asking for the ideal candidate–but you don’t have to be able to check every box in the ad to qualify for the job. Learn to frame your experiences (and learn now what experiences you will need to be able to frame).

I really like Julie Pagano’s “On Twitter” and her follow-up “Twitter Guidelines.”

How to Cultivate Your Ethos

Beyond the how-to and jobs, I want to talk a bit about the etiquette ethics of social media communication. First, a few things that should be common sense.

  • Think about your username–both your handle and your address. If you are going to market yourself as a social media specialist, then I highly advise you develop your personal brand. But this means you need to be vigilant with how you present yourself online (Adam Banks example)
  • Your Facebook account is not private. It will be viewed by all and any potential employers. Don’t post anything to social media that you wouldn’t be willing to discuss with a future employer
  • Similarly, you will want to think strategically about both your profile picture and your header photo (quick demonstration for how to change both).
  • Increasingly, the same is true of your twitter account, especially if you will market yourself as a social media specialist or web content specialist. Be extremely careful how you represent yourself in these spaces (and, of course, in Linkedin).
  • If you want a social media account to be private, then make sure you create an account with a pseudonym, and make sure you use a pseudonym email to make the account.

Much of the work of rhetoric involves cultivating an ethos that appeals to your audience. Social media provides you a powerful opportunity to do this kind of work–to credentialize yourself. One of my good friends used to call this the art of faking it until you make it.

Follow the jobs you want to be when you grow up. Be strategic in who you follow. Be strategic about rewarding a follow with a follow (“standard” Twitter etiquette). Much of someone’s Twitter experience comes down to the quality of people they choose to follow (and unfollow). With a bit of early investment, Twitter can be a quick feed of things you want to read.

Let’s look at a few twitter accounts with an eye toward representation:

When Twitter Goes Right, When Twitter Goes Wrong

When approaching social media, it is very important to have a sense of the context of conversations, and to remember that sarcasm can backfire. It is also important to remember that you don’t always have control of conversations. Let’s look at a few examples of how twitter can go right and wrong.

Hijacking Hash Tags

Be careful when arranging conversations that you cannot control. Have a plan.

How to Handle Things When/If They Go Wrong

There’s a difference between personality and snark

While you want to ignore trolls, you also want to face your public. Deactivating a twitter account is not a viable solution.

Hashtags Are More Than Conversations, They Are Also Communities

Hashtags for Writers to Follow / Contribute to

4 Quality Handles Every American Should Follow

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