Visual Rhetoric

Week Ten Blog Post

Everyone has heard the idiom “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Images are able to perfectly show things that words cannot describe. When words fail us, images can portray our thoughts and feelings. Pictures are more effective than both written text and spoken words. Pictures feel less rhetorical because they help people draw their own conclusions. Since no one is arguing what they want to convince a person of, and they are using an image instead, people are more likely to agree and draw their own conclusions. Images feel like less of a debate than an argument.

Social media platforms are attractive, especially to young adults. Not only is their design simple, easy to use, and effective, but they allow you to communicate with people from all walks of life. You can connect with friends, family, and strangers alike. This makes social media platforms ideal for expressing rhetoric. In the age where everyone has something to say, people usually don’t care who hears, as long as their message is out there.

Visual rhetoric is arguably more powerful than other forms of rhetoric. It is able to effectively draw in an audience, present them with proof, and change opinions or instill ideas. Being able to see an action or a problem is a better way to understand something than just by reading about it or hearing about it. By seeing something, you have solid evidence, and you are able to imagine repercussions or even solutions. Social media is a good platform to effectively persuade large audiences. By sharing images and videos, people are able to present all kinds of effective arguments.

A good example of visual rhetoric is Lily, the cutesy AT&T girl whom everyone absolutely adores. Apparently, she is so likable, she is able to persuade people into switching to AT&T! Not only is she able to persuade people to switch cell phone carriers, but the actress’s video about helping the refugees in Lesbos was contagious because it made me want to help the world’s citizens. By posting the video “Milana Can’t Do Nothing: Refugees in Lesbos” to YouTube, Milana Vayntrub was able to contribute to the dialog circulating about refugees. Instead of being a passive member of society, she decided to be an active citizen of the world. This video is powerful because she shows us every step of her journey. She gives us her thoughts on initially making this decision after her vacation and tracks her journey. She captured this life-changing event on film. Not only has she created an inspirational video, she has created a piece of visual rhetoric.

Though there are these examples of uplifting and inspirational visual rhetoric pieces, there are some bad, as well. Unfortunately, ISIS has somehow manipulated young adults into joining them. ISIS has figured out a way to effectively use Twitter to draw in audiences and win over their support, as well as gain some new recruits. Oftentimes, members of ISIS tweet pictures with threatening captions. These tweets are visual rhetoric pieces that appeal to other radical individuals and continue the spread of terrorism.

It is easy to draw people in on social media. By having attractive posts and multiple followers, one can appear to have credibility, even if they don’t. Rhetoricians are using social media platforms in order to draw in audiences. By accruing an audience, they are then able to sway more peoples’ opinions. By posting pictures and videos, they are able to strengthen their argument, and have a bigger turnout than by using just text.


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