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Comunicar Journal 41: Black holes of Communication (Vol. 21 - 2013)

Ethos, pathos and logos in Facebook. User networking: New «rhetor» of the 21th century


One of the «black holes» of academic research in Communication is the shallowness of reflections on the classic origins of Communication, its aims and points of entry. In this respect, the study of communicative processes on the Internet becomes particularly relevant (specifically the social networks processes) when observed from the classic rhetorical perspective. We focus on the use of persuasion strategies (ethos, pathos, logos) as well as the abundant use of rhetorical figures. Such parameters, along with the resources that emergent technologies offer, unleash creativity and afford humanist aspects to network communication. These give online platforms an extremely persuasive strength. Thus, we may speak of the network user of the 21st century as the new «Rhetorician». Our research on Facebook addresses the presence of rhetoric in online social network communication: the user of these platforms applies communicative strategies described by the Rhetoricians dating back to GrecoRoman antiquity. The methodology in this work (the study of three typified cases and the content analysis of conversations generated on Facebook walls) allows us to intertwine rhetoric and communication today, mediated by the emergence of online networks. We propose the retrieval of certain parameters of deep, critical thought to the benefit of a more human communication.