Social Media? Rhetoric? We got that.

We’ve rhetoricked a lot about social media, but it’s hard to locate all the rhetoricking our authors have done. So here’s a list with all our work analyzin’, criticizin’, and, pokin’ fun at social media communication practices. Below you’ll find all our pieces on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube.

Enjoy, up your social media savvy, use for a class you’re teachin’ on rhetoric, show you’re in the know and disperse and spread our work on social media through, well, social media!

FACES of Facebook

Worlds Collide! Facebook, family, and George Costanza by Amy L. Spears and Julie Driscoll93-853-1-PB

tease: Facebook, family, George Costanza and awkward communication collisions in this cool analysis and interface about negotiatin’ different Facebook publics.





Like Me, Like Me Not by Paul Muhlhauser (@doctamuhlhauser) and Andrea Campbell (@akatecampbell)

tease: Explore the rhetoric behind “like” and the possibilities of “dislike” in this pretty darn cool interface on Facebook’s ubiquitous participation button. Includes Ryan Gosling memes!




Death: The End We All Have to Face(book) cover_article_215_en_USby Christine Martorana (@MaddoxChristine)

tease: This article describes the ways mourners turning to online spaces following the death of a loved one and notes the following: 1) Digital technologies are reconfiguring the permanence of death, inviting the living to recreate the deceased as a heavenly intermediary, and 2) this continued virtual existence of the deceased alongside the constant accessibility of digital technologies is opening a space for death-related egocentrism.

PINNING down Pinterest

Queer-the-Tech: Genderfucking and Anti-Consumer Activism in Social Media by Matthew A. Vetter (@MatthewVetter)

cover_article_195_en_UStease: Pinterest Activism! This essay, and the activism it introduces, demonstrates an appropriation of Pinterest, a “pinboard-style” social media network, for the purposes of subverting and exposing its typical heteronormative and pro-consumer practices.


Super Mom in a Box by Lindsey Harding (@linzharding)cover_article_197_en_US.png

tease: Check out how Pinterest influences identity formation in mothers who interact with the site. See how the site’s postfeminist content and interaction design create a hypermaternal identity for maternal interactors.


Encomium on the Overlord by KT Torrey (@catchclaw)resize

tease: This ode to Misha Collins and his success as an activist through Twitter is just, well, fun and darn insightful.  See how Collins’ construction of a megalomaniacal Twitter persona known as the Overlord has afforded him a particular kind of disruptive ethos, one he’s used to persuade his fans to regard both “normalcy” as a social problem and acts of art and public performance as effective means of addressing that ill.


Pleased to Tweet You by Cate Blouke (@CateBlouke)235-2028-1-PB

tease: Before you live-tweet, ya gotta read this this article that explores the ethics and rhetoric of live-tweeting.  The piece also challenges traditional argument by arguing using Twitter!

The YOU in YouTube

The Irony of YouTube: Politicking Cool by Jessie Blackburn 36-272-1-PB

tease: The rhetoric of YouTube, celebrity, and voting is explored in this piece. This article examines one of the most intriguing pieces of online political dialogue to circulate YouTube during the last few weeks of the presidential campaign. The widely circulated YouTube video known as “5 Friends” features high-profile celebrities ironically encouraging viewers to see the act of voting as a “trendy,” even “hip” behavior. In this article, I refute the assumption that youth voters lack political stamina beyond the ballot boxes…

Synthetic Identity

If your friend, co-worker, family member conveniently leaves their facebook open, resist the temptation to mess with said friend, co-worker, or family member by posting odd/offensive/misrepresenting posts or blocking them out of their account. According to Time, a mother was fined for getting into her son’s account and then blocking him out of it. Of course, as with most things, there seems to be more to their relationship than just this instance as the mother “is also no longer allowed to see her son, who has lived with his grandmother for the past five years.”

By this point, you probably understand that I find facebook utterly fascinating. In this instance, she was charged with harassment, but why not fraud? Or defamation of character?

Just to get this part out of the way, I do not believe that having this woman convicted will mean that parents everywhere will have no supervision over their child’s internet activities. This particular case seemed to have a particularly high level of what was determined to be harassment. The actions appeared to be severe and, therefore, the punishment matched. Forbidding a child to use or post certain things in his or her facebook would not be the same thing.

But on to my thought. Wouldn’t inhabiting someone’s profile and misrepresenting them be fraud more than harassment, because your profile is like a synthetic being? There is this thing out there that stands in for you–it tells everyone who you are and connects you to the people you know, but in Invasion of the Body Snatchers style, it can be jacked and then suddenly, it does not represent you. It does not communicate what you want it to and you have no control over that. Perhaps the charge should be identity theft?

Of course, yes, in this case, it was harassment, but I certainly see the case for identity theft, but, perhaps, this is just semantics?

Question (FB & Commonplaces)

Has anyone written about Facebook working as modern day commonplaces?

I mean, wikipedia suggests that “[s]ome modern writers see blogs as an analogy to commonplace books,” but I see Facebook posts has a much more similar connection. Considering that blogs are there to produce content more than just post it, then I’d say that blogs are closer journaling and facebook, which many of us use to post various articles, music, pictures, etc, could tie in with commonplacing.

I’m just wondering if anyone else has had any insights into this?

Easy Access to Harlot’s Blog on Facebook

However debatable Facebook’s new layout is, it does allow you to access Harlot‘s Facebook blog app with great ease from your Facebook account. This, I believe, is worth noting for you dear compatriots of Harlot and Facebook.

First is first. If you haven’t already accessed and approved the app from your account, you can do so by clicking this url:

The second step is to bookmark the application. This is how you do that:

1. Go to “Account” and click “Application Settings.”

2. Find “Harlot Blog” and click “Edit Settings.” (If you haven’t used the Harlot app in over a month, then you’ll have to change the top right drop down menu from “Recently Used” to Authorized” and find the “Harlot Blog” in that list.)

3. Choose “Bookmark” from the pop-up menu.

4. Click the box to check “Bookmark Harlot Blog.”

Yay! It’s bookmarked! Let’s return home.

Lastly, you know that column on the left of your home screen? The one with your profile picture, news feed, etc:

To see your bookmarks, click the “More” at the bottom of that list. This will show you the “Harlot Blog” app.

From now on, you’ll just have to click on that link to take you to Harlot‘s latest blog posts right from Facebook! Of course, we love it when you stop by the site or use your favorite feed reader too. Don’t be a stranger now, ya hear?

Facebook Privacy: Less Private?

Earlier this month, Facebook changed the way privacy settings work. In several posts across the web, people are talking about how the privacy changes actually limit how much Facebook users can keep private. If you’re curious about these changes, then check out ProfHacker’s “Managing Facebook Privacy Settings (Round 2),” digital inspiration’s “How to Cross-Check Your Facebook Privacy Settings,” the Electronic Frontier Foundations’s (EFF ) “Facebook’s New Privacy Changes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” or Gawker’s “The Facebook Privacy Settings You’ve Lost Forever.” (Personally speaking, it’s driving me crazy that I can no longer block updates about when I “like” a friend’s status. First of all, who cares to know that? Second of all, it’s cluttering up my profile. Third of all, that’s between me and the person I like. Ha, get it? 😉

"Facebook privacy with friend lists" by Trucknroll, flickr

"Facebook privacy with friend lists" by Trucknroll, flickr

What I find interesting is the way Facebook is trying to market this change. In “An Open Letter from Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg,” Zuckerberg states:

We’re adding something that many of you have asked for — the ability to control who sees each individual piece of content you create or upload.

I assume what he’s referring to here is the ability to put specific privacy setting for each thing posted. If you post a status, then yes, you can determine whether it gets posted to friends, friends of friends, or everyone. You can also choose to share with specific people or choose a major group and leave out certain people. I think that is cool; however, it seems a user cannot update automatic feeds like new friends or “liked” posts. A user can delete these things off their feed/wall/whatever-you-wanna-call-it one by one, but the user no longer has the ability to say, “No, don’t add that without my permission.”

More perplexing is when Zuckerberg says this:

We’ve worked hard to build controls that we think will be better for you, but we also understand that everyone’s needs are different. We’ll suggest settings for you based on your current level of privacy, but the best way for you to find the right settings is to read through all your options and customize them for yourself. I encourage you to do this and consider who you’re sharing with online.

Um, what? First off, I hate the idea of Facebook as this benevolent dictator, who’s only looking out for their users. If that were so, wouldn’t we be able to have control over the things we already had control over—rather than having that ability taken away?

Secondly, isn’t it a bit hypocritical to warn users about who they’re sharing content with when they can’t even control certain very important things about their profiles. For instance, a user can no longer block the kind of content that would be shared with a search engine. Previously, it was possible to block someone from seeing who your friends were, what pages you were a fan of, and your profile picture from search engines. You might have been listed in a Google search, but it’s possible not much was listed. Now, there’s the option of being listed or not. That’s it. Two choices. No more.

Facebook by _Max-B, flickr

"Facebook" by _Max-B, flickr

This, apparently, is in a move to make, as Zuckerberg says, “the world more open and connected.” Aw, isn’t that sweet? Facebook is gonna play psychologist and open us right up. The thought is nice. It’s nice in theory to think about being open and connected with the rest of the world—it really is, but merely taking away privacy controls is not going to make the world open and connected. People who wanted that privacy will just pull their content down. Moreover, Zuckerberg’s letter seems to ignore that those privacy controls will disappear. He concentrates more on the outdated network model and how changing that model will give more control to the user. Sure, I agree with getting rid of the networks, but that doesn’t mean that users have more control over their privacy settings. The two are not dependent upon each other. It’s kind of a shady look over here! (so, you don’t look over here) kinda move.

But, in the end, Facebook is a benevolent dictator. They make changes and Facebook users put up with it, adjust to it, and adapt, because they have to. At least, if they want to keep using that social network, then they have to. In this scenario, I’d say that most users probably didn’t take too much note. In my opinion, there are far too many people who are far too open and connected, so many probably didn’t even pay attention to the privacy settings when everything was first switched. And, in that case, they wouldn’t miss settings they never used. So, it’s not like Facebook or Zuckerberg would have had to do a lot of convincing for those audiences. The others, well, they’re the ones writing those articles at the top of this blog post and they don’t seem so convinced to me.

Harlot Blog for Facebook

While I developed this application (with the help of a certain Smashing Magazine article) a few weeks ago, I completely forgot to tell you all about it. This application is for Facebook users to follow and comment on Harlot‘s blog from within Facebook itself. You don’t need to be a fan of Harlot‘s Facebook page (but, of course, we’d love that too: become a fan), so hop on board and keep up to date with what we’ve got going on in this here neck of the woods. Click the link, approve the permission, and this juicy little app is all yours:

Your Dog Says A Lot About You

I made a trip to Boston this past weekend for my brother’s commencement, which means leaving my lovely rottweiler in the care of the veterinarian’s office. It doesn’t always hit you what you’re really like until someone else takes care of something you find so precious.

(Yes, I’m one of those people who worship their dog. She has her very own facebook page. Feel free to friend her. And this is not to be confused with my dog being spoiled or pampered–she’s a good dog and fairly well trained. Although, I will admit that she doesn’t listen quite as well when there are other dogs around….aaand this is getting way off topic.)


Anyway, on returning to Columbus and picking up Daisy, there were two things askew.
1. She had a scarf on. Well, it more like a handkerchief thing, but it was pink and flowery and ridiculous. No rottweiler of mine will be cast down with the lowly chihuahuas that wear sweaters and faux diamond collars. Daisy is a big, slobbery, sometimes smelly dog, and I like her that way. Even the smelly part.
2. They graded her. My DOG got a Report Card! It included things like “your dog enjoyed . . . being pet, playing outside,” but apparently my dog did not enjoy “receiving treats.” Now, I find that highly suspicious. My dog didn’t like getting treats? Daisy? Who drools so much I think she should wear one of those bibs from Red Lobster when she sees that little bone shaped biscuit?

Also, apparently my dog “had a good bath.” Well, I know that she hates getting baths–I mean, she’ll stand there and take it, because she knows that it’s going to happen whether she likes it or not, but it’s not an especially joyful thing for her. So, what constitutes a “good bath.” I’m sure it was good for the groomer, but I’m fairly sure Daisy would’ve taken exception to it. Especially if they used a dryer. My dog runs away from the vacuum cleaner, so a dryer tends to be out of the question–we towel dry and she seems to like it, because it means I’m sitting there for a good hour petting her, which the vet and I agree she quite enjoys.

Anyway, the point in all this is that I find it hard to believe that they could think for an instant that I would leave a well adjusted, happy dog in their care and that they might know my dog better than I do. And then on the other hand, I realize that it says far too much about my own personality. I don’t do the cutesy thing when it comes to animals–babies, yes; dogs, no. I don’t want to see bubbly letters by “Mandy” (please giggle in a high-pitched voice when you read that) about how well behaved my dog is. Well, uh, duh, I wouldn’t allow an ill-behaved dog in my house.

So, I suppose that says something about me, doesn’t it? That my tolerance for what I would consider misbehavior is fairly low, but what constitutes “misbehavior?” That’s probably getting way too much in social set ups and how we treat each other, etc etc, but perhaps I’m just reinforcing what I’ve been taught in this particular social structure. I won’t allow my own pet to act in a particular manner that I was never allowed to act in. So, I’m just continuing this cycle.

Still, though, when she was home, I kept eyeing that handkerchief and preparing to take that ridiculous thing off; however, Daisy didn’t seem to mind and, well, it made a good bib when she ate her treat.