Monday, September 7, 2009

Blog Post 9/7/2009

Q: How are visuals and multimedia rhetorical? Explain.

According to Foss, Foss, and Trapp, rhetoric can be defined very simply as communication. Although they offer a lengthy description about how communication is broken down as symbols and signs that our brains interpret in certain ways, ultimately what they are saying is that rhetoric is the ability to communicate an idea from one person to another. Visuals and multimedia are an important type of communication in today's world because when we see certain images, our brain gives them certain meanings which are based in cultural context. For example, if we see a big octagonal red sign, we interpret that as stop. When we're driving, it means that we need to stop our car and look for traffic moving through an intersection. When we see a the same sign on a website, or in a book, it usually means that we need to take some extra time to consider something, or to not do something. For instance, a software manual might include a stop sign if there are additional steps that must be completed before moving on. Sometimes the portraits of people can carry special meanings as well. For example, Martin Luther King Jr. symbolizes equality and racial co-existence while a picture of Charles Manson, when used in conjunction with discussion of a certain policy might mean that it is dangerous, promoted inequality, or is might kill a person. The multimedia used to convey a message is as limitless as the human imagination, and the effectiveness is determines almost entirely by the author's ability to interpret social consciousness.

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