Chapter 7: Making Your Own Argument

Better Understanding the Medium of Your Central Document

However, we should not just restrict ourselves to the content of Occupy Wall Street’s Facebook page. We should also consider the medium of Occupy Wall Street’s Facebook page. By this, we mean, you should not limit yourself to just the information given on the page (images, videos, words, audio) but should also look at how the Facebook page organizes, creates, maintains and distributes information. How a document presents its information is just as important as the information it presents. Understanding how the document organizes, displays and distributes information will help you better understand its rhetorical intention and effects. This is not limited to thinking about Facebook organizational pages —you should ask this of every central document, were it a survey, a letter, a newspaper article, or some other type of document.

In order to better understand the medium you are being asked to analyze,  you can begin with some basic general questions:

  • What specific language is unique to the medium being used? How is your specific user using this language? (“Like” “Shares” Group”)
  • What mechanics are UNIQUE to your SPECIFIC central document you’ve focused on – i.e. a word limit, a focus on photographs, the image disappears after a set amount of time etc.
  • What numbers are present on the page? What actions or documents are the numbers related to? How large are the numbers?
  • What is the most common action on this page? Posting text? Posting photos? Commenting?
  • How active is this page? How frequent is user activity?
    From Pixabay.


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Write Here, Right Now: An Interactive Introduction to Academic Writing and Research Copyright © 2018 by Ryerson University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.