Networked Media, Networked Rhetorics

Attention and Deliberation in the Early Blogosphere

By (author) Damien Smith Pfister

Hardback - £55.95

Publication date:

04 November 2014

Length of book:

288 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271064604

In Networked Media, Networked Rhetorics, Damien Pfister explores communicative practices in networked media environments, analyzing, in particular, how the blogosphere has changed the conduct and coverage of public debate. Pfister shows how the late modern imaginary was susceptible to “deliberation traps” related to invention, emotion, and expertise, and how bloggers have played a role in helping contemporary public deliberation evade these traps. Three case studies at the heart of Networked Media, Networked Rhetorics show how new intermediaries, including bloggers, generate publicity, solidarity, and translation in the networked public sphere. Bloggers “flooding the zone” in the wake of Trent Lott’s controversial toast to Strom Thurmond in 2002 demonstrated their ability to invent and circulate novel arguments; the pre-2003 invasion reports from the “Baghdad blogger” illustrated how solidarity is built through affective connections; and the science blog RealClimate continues to serve as a rapid-response site for the translation of expert claims for public audiences. Networked Media, Networked Rhetorics concludes with a bold outline for rhetorical studies after the internet.

“In Networked Media, Networked Rhetorics, Damien Pfister tells a compelling and consequential story of the rise of the blogosphere from an obscure technology to a powerful mode of communication capable of unseating senators and revealing the horrors of war. Pfister focuses on key moments in the early blogosphere to explain how it has remade public discourse, reframed emotion, and reconfigured expertise. He adroitly blends contemporary analyses of public discourse with innovative interpretations of classical rhetorical terminology. Pfister’s book offers important lessons for scholars in rhetoric, deliberation, and technology studies, as well as anyone interested in learning how the blogosphere has produced a powerful connection between deliberation in public squares and personal computer keyboards.”

—Robert Asen, University of Wisconsin–Madison