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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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