“recovering delivery for digital rhetoric”

Porter develops a theory of delivery of digital communication. He images his theory as a kind of techne, abstract and procedural knowledges, made possible by five topoi. Taken together, Porter imagines his five topoi as function to “aid invention as well as the design and evaluation of writing” (p. 211).

  • body/identity — like Queen and Delagrange, Porter notes that digital space does not dislocate the material realities of the non-virtual from digital representations. In other words, through digital spaces, the body and the machine merge, blurring boundaries between the distinctions of natural and technological beings (see Haraway). Porter imagines the digital body as visual but also as speaking, b/c the internet is a medium that supports the multiple media of text, video/visual and aurality.
  • distribution/circulation — refers to the rhetorical decisions a rhetor makes about presenting their discourse. Issues involved in the presentation of texts include: timing, audience impact, and the capacity for circulation (or the life of a document w/o the rhetor’s direct intervention)
  • access/accessiblity — refers to the idea that messages should be designed in ways that mitigate access issues/the digital divide. Such ways include designing texts for print and for the network in alternate media and formats and designing texts for mobile phones. Likewise, refers to the idea that information should be designed in ways that help people with disabilities consume and produce information. To design with these ideas in mind means “starting with audience need — and with the diversity of audiences — and then developing a rhetorical approach” (216).
  • interaction — refers to how users engage interfaces and each other in digital environments. Emphasizes the idea that designers create texts that invite certain kinds of audience responses. This deals with the notion of choice per Brooke’s proairitic invention. More specifically, information should be designed in ways that provide users with a set of choices and practices to “critically engage with what they read” via comment boxes “or to “co-produce and become writers” (This is an example of another medium-specific concept of audience such as Perleman’s universal audience.)
  • economics — emphasizes the idea that writing involves labor, and that writing in a digital space is motivated by labor-associated issues and terms (e.g. production, consumption). Discusses ideas related to social sharing and the gift exchange economy, digital recycling, and the rights of users to remix, recirculate copyrighted work.

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