By Mr R E Stewart
The essays during this ebook research where of electronic communications or "rhetoric" in smooth tradition. They recommend that, just like the printing revolution sooner than it, the net is shaping tectonic cultural stream, yet is presently stuck among conventional technocratic methods of pondering, and the extra unpredictable terrain of human behaviour.
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Additional info for A new rhetoric: Essays on using the internet to communicate
In all of this, I don't need to know anything about how the cheesecake is made, the practices at the company which provides it, or anything about the poor minion paid a pittance to bike through a tempest at three in the morning just so I can contribute to rising levels of obesity. The internet has connected me easily to something I want, and yet, in a sense, I couldn't be more disconnected from reality. This ultimately paints a very melancholy and bleak view of modern life: we are increasingly alienated individuals defined solely by our capacity to make elaborate calculations in our own interest (which, circuitously, only reinforce our state of alienation).
Instead they begin at the sharp end of trying to communicate – not always successfully – using the bewildering range of digital tools now available. For the last eight years I have managed online communications at a national government agency, an experience which, for more than one reason, can induce light-headedness. So if the thoughts I have set out give the impression of vertigo, this might be why. It also means they are based on a heady cocktail of workaday interest, and moments of sheer panic at how to make sense out of an area of rapidly changing professional practice.
So the journalist’s problem looks a lot like the web browser’s problem and the publishing house’s problem. Their own judgement might look pitifully inadequate and submerged next to a rising ocean of information and perspective, but perhaps they need to find new ways to become better informed by this information, rather than stand aloof from it. Journalism of this sort might become more responsive to the reflex movements of society, rather than operating inside inflexible ideologies and contracted public personas.