By Mr R E Stewart
The essays during this ebook learn where of electronic communications or "rhetoric" in glossy tradition. They recommend that, just like the printing revolution prior to it, the net is shaping tectonic cultural flow, yet is presently stuck among conventional technocratic methods of considering, and the extra unpredictable terrain of human behaviour.
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Additional info for A new rhetoric: Essays on using the internet to communicate
To illustrate this simply, suppose I have some interest in marmalade. I might go to Google, and – without adopting a particularly discriminating approach – I might just type in the word “Marmalade”. 3 seconds I am confronted with over 18 million links to web pages around the world, that might (possibly) be relevant to my interest. 18 millions web pages (of whatever quality and relevance) goes way beyond my ability to assimilate them (even just for quality and relevance). Google, acutely alive to the needs of those searching, doesn’t simply match search terms to web pages.
A “statement” on the web uses more than the grammar which governs prose, but relies as much on less formalised, and slightly more mysterious, visual semantics. This is all very vague, and, as with so much about the web, there is a sense of exploring the unknown, with all the excitement, awe, not to mention anxiety and trepidation, this entails. But if the changes that the web is bringing about are in some sense comparable to the changes brought about by the printing press, then there is reason to think that these first signs of a change in behaviour should be taken seriously.
The means of production has not overlapped, interfered with, or otherwise trespassed on, the territory of its content. It has, in servile fashion, channelled data, thoughts, ideas, words, stories and so on, into the hands, hearts and minds of readers, without unnecessary self-disclosure or fuss of any kind. This shouldn’t fancy-dress the fact that the printing press was not born quite so effortlessly; and its role, importance, character and potential was not lost on either the forward- or backward-looking of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.