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.


Posted on October 22, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Heidi,

    I can imagine how tough it is to study without internet connection, though it is possible especially when homework is on the desk top but of course there is always something to check on the internet or that brain break of checking your friends on face book. Your experience though its not a pleasant one it emphasizes the importance of social media in our lives. Just think of being without internet for two days as an online student how life will be. If I can be given a chance to write about the advantages of social media I can write a book for sure.

    Qualman(p.108) mentioned cheap,quick, or quality given a chance I will go for quality because its durable.

  2. Heidi, your post really hit a nerve with me on so many levels. I am currently working on a huge life transition – my husband and I are selling our home in Wisconsin to move to Fort Worth, Texas. We have lived in this location for over 30 years and always in the midwest.

    I created a database (my thing I guess) with all the homes we are presently interested in. There are data, pictures, pricing and the like, but one of the most important elements is mostly unknown to me – internet.

    We both work from home; therefore, we HAVE to have either DSL or Cable – period. Satellite or dialup will not work. Unfortunately, very few homes list the type of internet provider they have and the listers do not carry this information either.

    Because we have to sell our home first, we don’t want to ask our realtor down there to get this information because as new homes come on the market and favorities of ours get sold, this would be a lot to ask. So, in the meantime, we are looking at homes we would love to live in not knowing if they pass the “internet test”.

    I begin to ask questions like :

    “what if our home sells, we need to move, but can’t find a home in our price range with acceptable internet?”

    Here is an example: MLS # 11651070

    This home is beautiful, has the garages my husband wants, a barn for my horses. Plus a pretty home and a pool. Just one catch – what type of internet? ACK I hate to be a slave to technology. Because of this, I have about 40 properties that I am currently watching, some more promising than others, but I want to have a good group to work through just in case. After everything I have learned this semester so far, you would think that within 26 miles of Fort Worth, Texas you could find true high speed internet.

    Quality has to be my choice as well – I will pay the price to do my job from home!

  3. Heidi,

    I like your poster where you said you like the computer because your friends live in it !
    It reminds me of a man who took the computer and crashed it down because the wife was always on the internet and he felt left out. Now he decided to destroy his competitor the computer its really something you can compete with for sure.

    I did not connect well with the one with bungled hands what is the meaning?

  4. The bungled hands are a person’s hands being tied up with the cord of the computer mouse, implying that the person is so caught up with their computer that they are literally “tied to it” and can’t get away. They’re using the physical symobolism as a metaphor for being addicted (tied to) the computer.

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