Date of Award:
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This dissertation researched the concept of ethos, or appeal to authority or trust, on the social media platform, Twitter. Looking at collections of tweets, I found that the characteristics of the Twitter platform, as well as the general qualities of writing online, pushed users to use short cuts to trust, such as focusing in on specific buzz words, or through referencing well known organizations and individuals. Users also used internet culture as its own source of authority. They demonstrated that they were up to date on the latest trends and memes, and so were trustworthy accounts to follow. Users appealed to ethos this way because Twitter conversations occurred faster and farther, and with people who most users were either unfamiliar with or who were completely anonymous. Essentially, Twitter user rely on the short cuts to trust and authority in conversations because they are less often engaging with a stable, known audience. Twitter users must continually reassert and define themselves again as their posts circulate widely across and beyond the platform.
Hillen, Andrew J., "Extending Ethos in Digital Rhetorics" (2020). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 7885.
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