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eRhetoric is considered the art of persuasion in digital media and manipulating content to fit the medium in which it is presented. This includes the study of online communication, and how the medium of the internet shapes this communication. eRhetoric also involves a study of digital culture, and the effects of technology on how we interact with each other. The study of eRhetoric is related to the study of Computers and writing; however, the focus in this area blends attention to impacts of digital media on communication with an understanding of the principles of classical rhetoric. Courses on eRhetoric are currently being taught at the university-level in California, Minnesota, Michigan, and Ohio.

Differences from other forms of rhetoric

eRhetoric is constantly evolving along with technology as new techniques such as Ajax (direct communication between the browser and web-server without a page reload) come into widespread use. The five canons of rhetoric still apply, but to a different degree. Invention and Delivery perhaps become more important, while Memory may not be as relevant. More emphasis may be placed on visual rhetoric with a shift of emphasis put on the audience/user choice, guiding them through their argument in a specific order. Generally links are used to allow the user to control the pace and order of reading with navigability being an important consideration for style. eRhetoric has the ability to reach a massive audience quickly and constantly over time (if a website is maintained, for example). However, as a medium, it is not as respected as regular rhetoric, but is gaining credibility.

Examples of media relying upon eRhetoric

  • Websites: html
  • Digital media: web/personal movies, audio, images, media editing
  • Modern business and academics: Powerpoint, Office, databases, online academic journals, online conferencing
  • Social or personal communication: blogs, instant messaging, online communities and networks.


  • Hammerich, Irene; Claire Harrison (2001). "4: E-Rhetoric: A New Form of Persuasion". Developing Online Content: The Principles of Writing and Editing for the Web. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780471146117. 

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