Rhetoric on the Internet:
The Screen as Rhetorical Space

A Summary



Peter Denning (Computer Science) prefaced his comments by saying that engineers have been working within an internet environment for the past 20 years and have observed changes in writing quality on the Internet over this time span, Noting that over 400 million websites are currently registered with various search engines, he characterized the web as ýa place to publish rather than communicate,ţ promoting what he called ýthe myth of self publishing.ţ

To offset the current trend of poor writing and design, Denning offered these suggestions: 1) Consider how you are representing yourself to a reader; try to gauge the impact this presentation may have. Remember that the medium displays the text in the way that the browser formats. 2) Keep fonts consistent within the page. The author has less control over what the reader sees. Too many fonts make the message look like a kidnapperÝs ransom note and hard to read. 3) Avoid highly decorative images that do not convey meaning. Ducks flying across the screen for no apparent purpose not only take time to load but are distracting. 4) Avoid excessive links. They can take your reader away from your intended purposeˇand you might never get them back to your page.


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