Author

Tiffani Long

Date Approved

12-12-2012

Date Posted

4-24-2013

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication, Media and Theatre Arts

Committee Member

Michael Tew, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Doris Fields, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jack Kay, Ph.D.

Abstract

This communication research study identifies the presence of the African-American rhetorical traditions of call-response, signification, tonal semantics, and narrative sequencing used in communication on the online social media network, Twitter. The objective of this study is to provide insight into the culture and community of Twitter. Additionally, the research demonstrates how traditional oral rhetorical traditions survive in the digital world. Over a 15-day period, tweets were collected by the author using a computer screenshot feature. Using a coding rubric, three coders, including the author, coded the collected tweets for the four rhetorical traditions. Resulting from this procedure, the coders concluded the presence of all four African-American rhetorical traditions used by Tweeters, as well as evolved forms of certain traditions. These findings provide evidence of a distinct Twitter community and prompt further research on the transfer of traditional oral rhetoric from offline communities to online communities.

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