Make sure to deliver

As a final note for Reading Log 3, I present James E. Porter’s “Recovering Delivery for Digital Rhetoric”. Porter’s work underlies every concept I have thus presented, tying them all together by the ever-present rhetoric canon of delivery. His article starts by defining the canon’s Greek history, originating from how speeches were delivered. This takes into consideration physical appearance, voice, tone, mannerisms, etc. Porter then brings up the controversy between modern day rhetoricians that delivery is dead. However, this article intends to refute this modern perception, breaking down the components to delivery and where/how they still exist today: “body/identity, distribution/circulation, access/accessibility, interaction, and economics” (Porter, 2009, p. 208).

The component I would like to focus on, even though they are all quite interrelated and codependent, is “distribution/circulation”. This may ring a bell in your mind, bringing you back to the ideas I deliberated in “Spark ignites a flame”. Porter contributes to Gries’s insight into how much the spreading of information has changed with the advent of the Internet: “technical knowledge about distribution options – i.e., how audiences are likely to access, engage, and interact with information – pertains in critical ways to rhetorical decisions about informational content, design, style, etc. In short, technical knowledge is integral to the art of rhetoric and to the canon of rhetorical delivery in the digital age” (Porter, 2009, p. 208). Even more than noting the now expansive options for distribution, Porter highlights the factors of technical skills, online design, and audience as they all rely on each other. Delivery is no longer how one speaks, but how a writer crafts his communication around the many potential audiences, mediums, technical platforms, and genres. “In the digital realm, online writers need to become rhetorically smart distributors as much as producers of discourse” reiterates this command (Porter, 2009, p. 215).

My final point is to draw attention to Porter’s statements about interactivity. Every writer should keep in mind who they are talking to and that audience’s spreading potential. Everyone talks online; everyone has something they want to say or share. There is no stopping this wildfire of interactivity. The only solution is to acknowledge its presence and utilize its power:

“The true revolution of the Internet lies at the right end of the interactivity spectrum – where users can critically engage what they read or further to the right, when they co-produce and become writers, when the distinction between audience and writer blurs”. (Porter, 2009, p. 218)

The world is no longer divided by those who relay and those who listen. We are all one in the same, and rhetorical content should become amorphous to this environment.


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