Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Contemporary Media (and how to use it)

A little while ago, I wrote a blog about two corners of the rhetorical triangle: the rhetorical situation, and the rhetorical appeal. Today I would like to talk about the third corner: contemporary media.

There are four basic forms of media: traditional print, innovative print, traditional web site, and innovative web site. There are relatively self-explanatory, but I'll run through them quickly to answer any questions.

1. Traditional print: Words that appear on a page. Books. Newspapers. Newletters. Black and white words on paper. Simple enough.

2.  Innovative print: Words that work with pictures and style to make the page more interesting. This could mean different fonts, different print sizes, different colors, embossing, shadows, borders, images, and what-have-you. 

3. Traditional web site: The web site where you go and read from the page. You scroll through, and there aren't any videos, there's nothing to click, you can't add to the web site; it is just giving you information.

4. Innovative web site: A website that allows you to play with it: the information and design of the website is dependent upon what you put into it. These are websites where you can change the information or leave comments behind. Wikipedia, social networks and blogs are probably the most prevalent examples of innovative websites.

Now obviously, there are certain mediums that speak better to certain people. If you wanted to change how 80+-year-olds feel about the legal drinking age, it would probably be better to give them something to read than require them to join a web site where they are going to have to upload things, comment on other people's posts, input information, or change the user interface. However, if you were trying to get 14-year-olds to change their opinion about the legal drinking age, that is probably exactly what you'd want them to do: use an innovative web site. 

So deciding which media to use and when is something that all writers have to do. Recently, Stephen King published nearly an entire novel online only. There are actually many authors (not necessarily good ones) that publish almost exclusively online. There is a whole new era of text novels. And let's not overlook the use of Kindles and iPads. These are all combining different mediums together to publish many forms of writing. It's kind of exciting to be able to publish however we want, isn't it? 


Post a Comment