Reading Log–Article 19

  1. Hurley, “The Rhetoric of Reach”

The article primarily addresses instructors of technical communication, urging them to teach their students more about social media. Using examples such as the Anthony Weiner PR fiasco, the author notes the detrimental toll that poor use of social media can have on a person’s reputation and career. Still, students are weary to examine social media within the context of technical communication and professionalism. They are hurdled with warning about the pitfalls of social media within the classroom, but Hurley argues that it should also be argued as a tool to display their work. Hurley extends her claim by emphasizing that technical communication instructors are also well-suited to teach social media in the classrooms because they can demystify the current rhetoric of fear and illegitimacy about social media. She then discusses the heuristics of reach and crowdsourcing to foster student development in the genre of social medium. She also examines a case study from an introductory technical communication course. Using a barrage of statistics, she notes the demystification present in social media, and challenges that to change. She notes that while social media is primarily informal, that should not exclude from the professional world. She also examines student ability in performing popular social media tasks, such as uploading a video to Youtube. She concludes the article by saying that social media and writing are part of larger complex of communication practices, and that technical communication pedagogies should encourage students to be proactive in their use of social media.

I agreed with the author’s points and observations about social media. As a student, I have been lectured about the downfalls of social media multiple times, but not until I came to college was it presented to me as a platform for professionalism. The truth is that it is malleable, and what it made of it is really up to the user. I liked the research methodologies in which she went about making her case, and found the results to be quite fascinating. I do not know if the changes she suggests in teaching social media conduct will ever be practiced, but it will be interesting to see what changes are made as it becomes even more prevalent in our lives.

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