rhetorical tropes and figures in blogging


Blogs can serve as forums for experimenting with forms, tropes, and figures.

: Trope, figure, form: I'm using the terms interchangeably here to define a generative form or pattern that has become regularized enough to be identifiable. Rhetoric has figures of speech such as metonomy, metaphor, irony. Poetry uses couplets, rhyme schemes, and poetic forms such as limericks and sonnets. Bloggers make use of all the traditional figures and tropes, but add some such as lists, rants, FAQs, dialogues...

: Tropes and figures, whatever the flavor, give form to ideas. And so engaging a form helps generate and shape ideas simultaneously.

And it's not only a matter of being a public place that drives experimentation. Blog postings tend to be linked outside the blog, which helps to situate the posting in a larger context, and allow exposition beyond the close-as-hand.

Some blog tropes and figures are based on print-based tropes and figures, but often use the link as a means of attaching or developing the exposition beyond the immediate page.

Other blog tropes stem from other online forms, such as discussion lists (rants), IM, and FAQs.

Here is a developing catalog of some of the typical rhetorical forms bloggers use to generate and structure postings.

* lists. lists of anything, about anything, as a fast way of focusing and generating specifics. Lists can make a point about a situation, or, as [http://theindomitable.blogspot.com/2004_01_01_theindomitable_archive.html#107471810582573165 composed by Julianne], a list can suggest the narrative that created it.
* variation on lists: the categorization list:
* haiku-like lines. brevity taken to the extreme. "homework, homework, homework." the immediacy of the blog matches the immediacy of the posting.

* haiku-link poems. take the brief entry and make words links to other pages and moments. [http://www.shrek2.com/ gloriosa!]

* fragments. fragments of anything: sentences, observations, comments.

* oppositions and counterposings: within entries, between entries

* vignettes of a day. the blogger makes a number of postings in one day, often following an unfolding set of events, or tracing a change in attitude, mood, or mind.

* the journal entry. the writing is a moment of pause and reflection on recent events immediate to the writer. these read like journal or diary entries, sometimes relaying private if not intimate details. the writer may or may not acknowledge a reader, but he or she is fully aware that the post might be read, and shapes the posting to suit a rhetorical purpose. [http://www.pepysdiary.com/ Pepys' Diary]

* rants. characterized by overstatement, monological, single-minded forward motion. rants do not admit alternative views, rely on appeals to pathos. Rants, however, know they are rants: the writer often acknowledges the form.

* FAQ. Frequently Asked Questions. the form, born of the Internet (although perhaps related to the catechism) can be used to give shape to a multitude of ideas.

* link-poem: poem or set of lines in which links play significant role to creating meaning.

* the occasional link-essay. Authors regularly situate blog entries in place and time by writing about the moment of writing. The occasional essay posting goes one further by making the post a formal essay about a situation of the moment, and incorporating links in ways to advance the exposition. Joshua Murray on [http://www.joshcom.org/joggua.html joggua] developed the blog essay extensivlely.

* commentary
by interlineary annotation
by collection and collocation

* mosaic: collected extracts: a set of quotations (and images, and links) grabbed from online (with links to sources) and collected to articulate a (stated or unstated) point, characterize a moment, etc.

* dialogue: real, imagined, hoped for.



* linking: link types and uses
opposition
annotation
query
"hey, look at this!
contextualization
link as commentary on linktext: as in linking the word
Walmart to a critical essay on Walmart.
* ...

Some of these rheotrical figures are also BlogInventionStrategies. The rhetorical framework of the personal letter, the emai note, and even the 5-paragraph theme all help focus and drive invention, giving it direction and signaling when it is complete.


see also BlogInventionStrategies | BlogNarrativeFigures | BlogRhetoric
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