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The editor describes the topic of social media and the effect it has had on online engagement and how humans view interactive networking in an article written in The New York Times by Thomas L. Friedman titled “Social Media: Killer or Creator.” The author addresses the theme from a conflicted viewpoint but later explains that, while it was meant to generate more efficient networking possibilities, the overall effect has been that social media has destroyed the importance of human interaction (Friedman). However, the most critical aspect of the newspaper article that enables the reader to perceive the sense in the author’s viewpoint is the inclusion of various appeals that prove that social media has had more negatives that it has been beneficial. The use of pathos, ethos, kairos, and logos in the writing of the newspaper is vital in enabling the audience to grasp the highlighted concepts regarding the adverse outcomes that have since been associated with online discussions on social media.
One significant input that creates interest and desire in the audience to make them believe that social media is not improving lives is the author’s idea to include logos as an appeal to the theme. The Greek word “logos” stands for “word” and it is founded on the basis that the appeal to reason ensures that the reader gets a logical appeal that gets them to believe in the argument highlighted (University Writing Center). The foundation used in understanding the role of this feature is the editor’s focus on the message that they are passing and is featured by the use of data to warrant the argument. The author writes, “Internet changed my life forever. While browsing Facebook, I saw a photo … of a tortured, dead body of a young Egyptian guy. His name was Khaled Said. Khaled was a 29-year-old Alexandrian who was killed by police. I saw myself in his picture. … I anonymously created a Facebook page and called it ‘We Are All Khaled Said.’ In just three days, the page had over 100,000 people, fellow Egyptians who shared the same concern” (Friedman). The use of such data in the writing of the article enables the author to put an element of internal consistency within the theme that is critical in the audience’s capacity to build a logical appeal.
Another important consideration in the rhetorical analysis of the subject is the apprehension of the role of ethos in making the targeted reader believe that social media has more negative effects. Ethos is the Greek word for character and enables the reader to focus on the trustworthiness of the speaker in making the sentiments. The evidence in the use of this feature of rhetorical assessment of the commentary is the apprehension that ethos is manifested through ensuring that they do not take sides before highlighting why one side is preferred. The author states that “Five years ago,” concluded Ghonim, “I said, ‘If you want to liberate society, all you need is the Internet.’ Today I believe if we want to liberate society, we first need to liberate the Internet” (Friedman). Thus, apart from the headline used for the article, the author proceeds to state that while the internet was the solution to liberating a society, it is now the problem that people need to focus on to transform the society. Thus, while he initially appreciated the debate and the benefits that the internet and the social media offered, the author uses ethos to convince the reader into believing that the overall effect is that the internet has had more negative outcomes.
It is also worth noting the role of pathos as a critical aspect of persuading the reader to understand why the social media is not benefiting anymore that it was previously. The University Writing Center describe that Pathos as a Greek word for suffering and tends to focus on the ability to create attention on the reader’s capacity for empathy. In the course of the narration into the hardships that he underwent as a result of his desire to move the masses and mobilize them against impunity and mass killing, the author describes an instance when he was required to stay in custody without anyone close (Friedman). The author writes, “It was a moment of defeat…I stayed silent for more than two years, and I used the time to reflect on everything that happened” (Friedman). The use of an imaginable story as described in this case is a perfect way to get the reader into using their mental capacity for logic and grasp the argument the author is making about the adverse effects of social media as he ended up being more isolated.
The last element in the rhetorical analysis of the subject of the effects of social media is the aspect of kairos, which stands for “right time” in Greek. It is common for bloggers to discuss their opinion regarding trending issues to gain more traffic om their sites. It is similarly an opportune moment when it is perceived that the timing is appropriate for the writing of the article because social media is becoming an indispensable entity for human interaction in the present era. The tone and structure used through the mentioning of the application of social media in many settings such as the military underscore the fact that social media is being applied in many settings and it is high time people questioned whether they are benefiting or getting hurt. The author states that “Over the last few years we’ve been treated to a number of “Facebook revolutions,” from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street to the squares of Istanbul, Kiev and Hong Kong, all fueled by social media” (Friedman). The author underscores the fact that the last few years have seen a rapid growth and appreciation of social media even though few people have become inquisitive into assessing the impact that it has had to human coexistence.
In summary, the author states that social media is becoming an indispensable entity but with adverse consequences which he further proves by applying various elements of appeal. The core ideas that are included to create the feeling of persuasion are the consideration for appeal to suffering, message, character, and opportunity. Overall, the individual concerns of logos, ethos, pathos, and kairos enable the reader to appreciate the stand that the author makes regarding the negative impacts of social media on the user. Thus, through the appeals in the newspaper article, the author of the article succeeds at ensuring that the reader believes in the standpoint he makes to convince them that social media has had an overall adverse effect.
Friedman, Thomas L. “Social Media: Destroyer or Creator?” The New York Times Company Feb. 2016. Web.
University Writing Center. “What Are Logos, Ethos, Pathos, and Kairos?” A Rhetoric with Readings (2010): n. pag. Web.
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