Esoteric Theory With a Side Order of Internet Junkie
Dave Clark’s essay on rhetoric in technology was extremely esoteric but I was able to take away some good ideas. I agree with him that technology and rhetoric are co-embedded in culture (p 85). I also agree that the words rhetoric and technology are both hard to pin down, so doing a review of the discipline is a slippery slope.
The theoretical frameworks he introduces (rhetorical analysis, technology transfer and diffusion, genre theory and activity theory) don’t seem to click into place- none of them seem to neatly apply themselves to technology rhetoric. It is true when he says, “This lack is unfortunate at a time when technical communicators more than ever need to develop and use rhetorical tools for evaluating and implementing new technologies” (p 96). However, technology (no matter how you define it) is moving so fast that, as a target, it is going to continue to be hard to nail down.
I also found it interesting that he notes that other scholars have acknowledged that current activity theory analyses are incomplete because, “… [they] ignore the circumstances in which much knowledge work is done, that is, in for-profit, hierarchical corporations” (Thralls and Blyler, 1993, p. 14).
As I sit here and type, I have no internet. I don’t know the last time this has happened to me. We have ordered an upgrade to our DSL and AT&T didn’t tell us there would be a minimum twelve-hour outage while they complete the steps. It is absolutely disconcerting. Both my husband and I had a day off: he is sick and I took a vacation day to study. When I came downstairs this morning, he said: “You’re going to have a tough day ahead.” He told me about the outage. I told him I had all my homework on my desktop. Luckily.
It has been frustrating, as I’ve worked on assignments, to not be able to hop on the internet to look up a fact, use the much easier OWL database, and take a ‘brain break’ by checking my Facebook or Pinterest.
The reason I bring all of this up is that it relates to the Qualman reading for this week. He discusses, “That old adage that you can only have two out of the following – cheap, quick, or quality – doesn’t hold true within social media …”(p 108). He’s wrong-o. For us AT&T only lets us have one: quality.
In some of our other readings, he’s talked about the “little man” being able to champion his cause on social media, however some conglomerations are so big and have such a strangle hold that it doesn’t matter if you tweet or blog about it – unless you’re already famous. AT&T won’t let me get an iPhone unless I get a data plan with it. I am in wifi range almost every waking moment of my life. I don’t need a data plan. It made my husband madder than a wet hen that they wouldn’t separate out the service, but we can’t retaliate by boycotting AT&T. We still need them for their sweet, sweet bandwidth.
As of now, I have only three and a half hours left to wait til we’re back online. Maybe. Since I’m really having a hard time with the withdrawal, it makes me wonder if – as a new media student – I am a junkie studying heroin.