background preloader

Rhetoric of widgets: "like" & the medium is the message

Facebook Twitter

In this pearl, you'll find a series of readings for a week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday) of class that focuses on the rhetorical moves made in the design of social media platforms.

Students will learn about the cultures of use surrounding Facebook, how these uses guide rhetoric, the rhetoric of the "Like" button and how it mediates the world, and a little bit about the meaning behind "the medium is the message."

In the COMMENTS section for each reading, you'll find ideas for classroom exercises and further readings if you would like to expand or extend your class's discussion of the topic. Day #1: the medium is the message. What is the Meaning of The Medium is the Message? By Mark Federman Chief Strategist McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology "In a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that, in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message.

This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium - that is, of any extension of ourselves - result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology. " (McLuhan 7) Thus begins the classic work of Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, in which he introduced the world to his enigmatic paradox, "The medium is the message.

" Of all the Internet searches that end up at the McLuhan Program website and weblog, the search for the meaning of the famous "McLuhan Equation" is the most frequent. McLuhan defines medium for us as well. Reference McLuhan, Marshall. Day #1: tumblr's design. Day #2: like me, like me not. Like Me, Like Me Not likes and dislikes Facebook's "Like" button. It shows how "Like" is a metonymy and a synecdoche. It even imagines what Kenneth Burke and Marshall McLuhan might say about the button. And, since those previous sentences weren't exactly invitations to read on, you'll also find Willy Wonka memes, Ryan Gosling memes, Twilight references, skateboarding dogs, and planking.

You'll even get a chance to practice using the "Like" button. So go ahead and Like Me, Like Me Not if you are, like, ready to clickity-click! (Click on the image or title to enter.) Paul Muhlhauser is an Assistant Professor of English at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. Andrea Campbell is a Clinical Assistant Professor of English at Washington State University Tri-Cities. Day #3: worlds collide! facebook, family & george costanza.