Tweet Yourself to a Maven

Just got back from two cool conferences: Rhetoric Society of America Conference and HarlotTweets Twitter HeaderComputers and Writing Conference. Learned a lot about rhetoric and humor from @cateblouke; rhetoric and algorithms from @johnmjones & @jaykirby1; rhetoric and reproduction from @lbdehertogh, @kristinarola, & @maseigel; and learned about Google glass from @Zombieranian  – even got to try them out, which was really cool.

By “cool” I mean the presentations were thoughtful and engaging. In other words, I thought about things I ain’t never thought before. Besides the thoughtful and engaging presentations, another cool of the conferences came from the Twitter backchannels (#RSA14 and #CWCON) for discussin’, commentin’, and quotin’ presentations. In other words, I participated in ways I ain’t never done before because of my meatspace phobia and my lack of short term memory.

Though there was a lotta cool, there was one part of the conferences that was discool, uncool, or non-cool: the Twitter backchannel was rarely incorporated into the meatspace or live discussion following the presentations. Sorta made me feel like my participation was ignored. So I’d like to propose this cool idea for future conferences, though I’m not sure if it is possible or if there is an infrastructure for it:

Social Media mavens for conference presentations

Cool proposal: Social media mavens for conference presentations.

What I mean is, I think it would be cool, in addition to having a presentation chair, to have a social media maven who monitors and participates in the Twitter backchannel of presentations.

Here’s why it’s cool –

  1. Cook meatspace phobias – A maven can help bring the virtual conversations, comments, and questions, which are real conversations, comments,and questions into discussions following presentations for those with meatspace phobias. A Twitter backchannel is inclusive for those, like me, who don’t want to face-to-face and feel Meatspace is stressfulextreme stress (especially f starting conversations or discussions) when participating in discussions following presentations. The Twitter backchannel provides access to discussion for those with such fears.
  2. Honor the social media skill set – Having a social media maven monitor the Twitter backchannel will honor social media expertise – of collecting, reading, and synthesizing ideas quickly and getting a bead, a feel, the gist of backchannel questions and comments. A maven will even be able to add this to his/her CV.
  3. Include the online audience – A maven would ensure that ideas are “voiced” from audiences attending the conference online who are following social media conversations, comments, and questions through a Twitter backchannel.
  4. Remember in the moment ­– A maven is mnemonic. A Twitter backchannel is a @twitter allows presenters to record and share a thought before forgetting the thought they thinked at the time they thinked it.pretty public recording device that helps us remember the fleeting nature of oral presentations. And a lotta times, it seems like the last presenter’s work is discussed the most because it’s remembered. During an oral presentation, an audience may forget what was said (even in the most engaging presentations) when it was said and the context of what was said when. Backchanneling lets an audience converse, comment, and question a presentation in the moment. It allows presenters to record and share a thought before forgetting the thought they thinked at the time they thinked it.
  5. Take the pressure off chairs and presenters – A maven could take the pressure off of chairs and presenters to monitor the backchannel. During a presentation, the chair and other members of panels are understandably preoccupied with their performances. They may not have time or the skill set to respond to the Twitter backchannel. Though it can be done as @jennykorn showed in her savvy inclusion of Twitter backchannel conversations, comments, and questions, I know, however, this is really tough to do and I ain’t got the ability cuz I tried when I presented and #failed.
  6. Remove the #awkward – A maven could open up dialogue and crack the conversational seal that happens following presentations during the 15 minutes of discussion. You know, that awkward pause that occurs when a chair asks, “Are there any questions?” At this point, I usually look at my phone or laptop because I feel like I’m gonna be called since the presentation format is so lecture, school like. Conversely, when I present as a chair and ask that klutzy question, it feels like an awkward forever. If there isn’t a discussion because the room is full of meatspace phones like me or there is a looooong moment before questions, I feel sorta sad. The performance becomes out of sync, and I get the feeling my ideas weren’t really worth anything. All the time I spent on my presentation was wasted.  Feedback is love even if it’s critical. Seriously.

“Social Media Maven” may not be the coolest word for the addition I am proposing to presentation formats, but the idea has some cool, right?

Laugh, cry, & identify with readymade rhetoric in episode 1: valediction

Dear Viewers, A Rousing Intercourse is a vlog that comments on everyday rhetorical practices. This first episode is about readymade rhetoric and valediction. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll identify with that frustrating aspect of our digital lives: email valediction. Enjoy our humorous take on email valediction as well as our suggestions for changing valediction to better fit with our current cultural moment. Warmest Regards, A Rousing Intercourse

Hungry Man Chicken Dinner and Love

Okay, this is half-baked, baked-half, and most likely under theorized but then, again, I’m shorting, so I think it’s okay.


It’s really just a parallel I’ve noticed between rhetoric and conditioning (the non-hair follicular kind). There’s a trope called metonymy and in rhetoric it means that you are making an association between things through their contiguity (Burbules, 1997).  So, for instance, say you’re advertising for a Hungry Man chicken dinner and you want that dinner to be associated with something abstract like “love.”  You could make an advertisement where you surround that chicken dinner with metonymic images of “love” (e.g. hearts, puppies, and Ted Nugent). And if you repeat this imagery enough “love” might rub off enough from the images on to a Hungry Man chicken dinner to remind a lot of people about “love.” Eating a Hungry Man chicken dinner might become a metonym for “love.” Instead of “I heart you” we might say, “I Hungry Man chicken dinner you.”

Conditioning (that behavioral kind) seems to be doing something similar, don’t it? Say you have a chicken that you want to train to cluck when it sees an image of “love” (i.e. if it sees hearts, puppies, or Ted Nugent). What you’d do is shape the behavior.  You’d have a cue (e.g. the pictures). And you’d have a reinforcement (e.g. a treat like a piece of bread or a Hungry Man!). Then you’d have the behavior you wanted (i.e. a cluck when the chicken sees the pictures).  Every time there is a cluck when an appropriate picture is shown, you’d provide a treat.  You’d do this until you associated clucking with the pictures and the treat so much so that once the chicken sees the picture, she doesn’t even need the treat.  It’s automatic. Seeing those pictures results in a cluck without the treat.  In a sense, the chicken is part of a metonymical move.  What I mean is, the imagery is associated with “love.”

Rhetors do similar things. Instead of food, they associate an image with other images to make an association and make that association automatic. Conditioning and metonymying aint’ exactly alike but, then again, they ain’t exactly different. I was thinkin’ that maybe what rhetors do should be called “metonymic conditioning.”  Whatcha think?

Watch this vid on Conditioning Chickens

Last thing and I swear it’s funny!  A Prof. of Psych told me about something her dad did when he was a college student. In a class of his, the students conducted a conditioning experiment on their teacher (teacher wasn’t in on the experiment).  Every time the teacher stood in a certain part of the room, the class would participate in discussion.  Everywhere else, there was no discussion.  From my understanding, it worked and the teacher began spending a lot of time in that part of the room. The teacher got Hungry Manned!

#DefineRhetoric Competition Update 2.0

We’ve passed our second month of defining rhetoric in 140 characters or less. Rhetoric’s been defined, re-defined, pre-defined, post-defined, most-defined, more-defined, and less-defined. It’s been a whole lotta defined. It’s an activity, clothing, and like milk.  It’s a pun and  a mirror and a niece! It’s even in orbit.

Before you go back to defining, enjoy some of the latest definitions we’ve gotten:

  • Rhetoric is how you hope to talk your way out of a traffic ticket…HOPE. #DefineRhetoric @TheOriginalRock
  • Rhetoric is like the moon. It is, at present, synchronously oriented to the rotation of another body around which it orbits. #DefineRhetoric @Schmeggelz
  • Rhetoric is discourse in lingerie. #definerhetoric @soundb0mb3r
  • Someone left me a voicemail of just some really impressive coughing. #definerhetoric @donorahillard
  • Rhetoric is when “my style’s like a chemical spill/Feasible Rhymes you can vision and feel/conducted in form… V. Ice #definerhetoric @HarlotTweets
  • Rhetoric is a pun on causality. #definerhetoric @postsilence
  • Rhetoric is a selection and deflection of reality. (Inspired by Burke.) #definerhetoric @cdmandrews
  • “Listen to me!” says my niece while holding my face in her hands. #definerhetoric @denisejeannee

There’re 2 ½ months left to #definerhetoric!  Keep on definin’ and cure the rhetorical hangover a summer can give ya by tweeting a #definerhetoric.

Much thanks and great work to all those participatin’ in #definerhetoric!

If you’re interested in #DefineRhetoric, you’ll find instructions here: #DefineRhetoric

The Age of Persuasion

Here’s the route of today’s discovery: reading about Philosophy Talk‘s recent award at the New York Festivals International Radio Competition => peruse former winners => see that last year’s winner is a piece on how advertising created the “Happy Housewife” image => look into who made it => discover “The Age of Persuasion,” a Canadian news program that “explores the countless ways marketers permeate your life, from media, art, and language, to politics, religion, and fashion.”

A quick survey of past episodes reveals a treasure trove for those interested in the persuasive tactics of marketers, mad and otherwise.  The archive dates back to 2008 and lists so many provocative titles (such as “Marketing the Invisible,” “Sun Tzu and the Art of Persuasion,” and “Man Women: The Great Women of Advertising“) that I’m overwhelmed and not sure where to start.  A lovely predicament.

Head over to The Age of Persuasion and check it out for yourself!

enculturation: McLuhan at 100

If you haven’t already, I encourage to check out enculturation‘s latest issue: Marshall McLuhan @ 100: Picking Through the Rag and Bone Shop of a Career, launched on the final day of centenary celebrations, 21 years to the day of McLuhan’s death.  Editors David Beard and Kevin Brooks have pulled together quite a stunning issue.

McLuhan quote

image by stefan.erschwendner, flickr

+1 and like

I don’t know much about tenure or impact factors and journals. I don’t really know much about how academic journals get rated for prestige, influence, and coolness. But I’ve been thinking about new sorts of ratings for academic publications—especially those DIY publications. I’ve been thinking about those self-published pieces that don’t go through a journal but are published online ready to be experienced. There are some outstanding pieces out there that may not have a home in a journal but are important and need some support and academic cred. I’ve also been thinking about all the work comp and rhet teachers do online. I mean often they are blogging about rhetoric, vlogging about rhetoric, youtubing about composition, facebooking composition and, in general, engaging in academic activities through social media platforms that they never get credit for. So I wonder about liking and +1ng. And I ask ya these questions:

1. Should there be some sort of calculation (impact factor type) for articles, books, and websites based on likes and +1s and tweets ?

2. Could academic prestige be equated to social media numbers?

3. Should social media presence help with tenure?

If the answer is yes to any of the above then ya gotta ask the next questions:

1. Would a like from Villanueva mean more than a like from Muhlhauser?

2. Would a +1 from Yancey be rated higher than a +1 from Brad Pitt?

What would a university look like if tenure were based on social media presence?

Please like, +1, and tweet this post. I’m preparing for the future.