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Posts Tagged ‘ethos’

LSW 2: Somewhere Between “Whom” and “LMAO!”

“To Whom it May Concern.”

“OMG, Check this out!  LMAO!”

Depending on who you’re talking to, there are countless ways to greet people and carry on a conversation from there.  Language patterns and rhetorical features are as varied over social media as they are in face-to-face communication.  Users are being more innovative with their language than ever before, and the 2-way symmetrical model of communication is redefining what it means to speak professionally.  The name of the game is to communicate in the way that is most effective for the audience you’re trying to reach.

As a professional, when you address your customers, it is important to listen to them first, just as chapter 2 in our text book describes.  You have to get a feel for who your audience is, and pick-up on ways the customers are interacting with each other.  That way, when you join the conversation, you can communicate with language patterns that are relatable, yet still professional.  This rhetorical concept is known as building ethos, or credibility.  You will want to interact with them in a way that makes your audience want to trust you, like you, and still respect you as a professional.

Take the two greetings above, for instance.  “To whom it May Concern,” may be professional, but it’s not going to win over a casual audience.  On the other hand, “OMG, check this out!  LMAO!” is relatable, but probably not a good professional strategy unless you’re marketing to tweeners.  Again, the key is to listen to your customers, and find a naturally professional and relatable way to say, “hello.”

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Categories: Christina Tags: , ,

Rhetoric and Humor in Social Media

January 22, 2013 Leave a comment

Analyzing the type of language and content that people post on SM can correlate directly to Aristotle’s five canons of rhetoric: Invention, style, arrangement, delivery, and memory. Through invention, we post opinions that are debatable; through style, we could choose to provide a link to a source to back up our findings or include a picture; the arrangement is how we would order our thoughts to best articulate our language/message; through delivery, we would utilize the caps lock key and emphasize certain punctuation marks (such as the exclamation point, question mark, dashes, and the other symbols that are coupled on the numbers row), and take advantage of the enter key to form new paragraphs to create emphasis; and with memory, we would be more than familiar with the material we are conveying as to create ethos (credibility) with the audience.

In looking more closely at the types of language and words used in customer service, one could find humor in the message. This style is harder to achieve without destroying ethos, because money is serious. And when people feel their money and time aren’t being taken seriously, that said company’s credibility goes out the window. While humor can be conveyed through customer service in SM, it requires a degree of finesse, a refined technique, and the customer’s best interest in mind. Integrating some of the customer service jargon (customer loyalty, customer expectations, customer satisfaction, mission statement, support staff (instituteofcustomerservice.com/1848/all/3/Glossary)) isn’t as hard as remaining trustworthy to one’s customers and slipping in a punch line at the same time.

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