Logos in online communications changes because diction has changed such as in the use of slang. Words can be copied, pasted, and inserted into related documents that are then shared with the group via the online collaboration software and so words have become less sacrosanct, more a part of the common domain.
Online collaboration tools aid communication and make at-a-distance meetings possible. However, online communication has drawbacks. One major drawback with online communication is the potential for misunderstanding because of the lack of nonverbal communication cues. Unless the speaker uses video conferencing tools, his or her emotions are difficult to read. The use of emoticons does not make up for slight twitches in facial muscles, eye contact, or posture in helping viewers read the speaker. Therefore, online communication tools make the pathos part of the rhetorical equation more difficult to execute. Group members need to use creative means to convey emotions, such as images or music. Written text needs to be imbued with emotion as well as multimedia content to be effective.
The ethos of group members is in many ways easier to construe with online collaboration software. Group members can easily perform quick background checks, logging into their virtual office environment and browsing their coworkers profiles and backgrounds. Participants in online collaboration projects may upload portfolios of their work or link to Web sites detailing their experience.
Online collaboration tools make the rhetorical process more accessible to all members of a group. Not needing to go through the shivers of stage fright when delivering a speech will help shier members of an organization shine. The memory aspect of the rhetorical canon is not as important because online collaboration tools include clipboards and other tools that aid a speaker in organizing his or her material.
Searching the web for ancillary information or external support is easy and can be accomplished instantaneously and simultaneously with other group members. Group members need not worry about audience biases related to gender, race, class, or cultural background because online collaboration can be double blind.
The Internet has made new rhetoric possible. Online job opportunities led to online consulting and freelancing possibilities. Organizations can create intranets for closed collaborations or rely on the Internet for telecommuters. The Internet is global and helps group members transcend the limitations of time and space when collaborating on projects. New information can be shared instantaneously, and questions and answers can be fielded as soon as they arise. Group members can upload photos, audio, and video files from anywhere on the planet. The Internet makes the virtual office possible.
Furthermore, the Internet reflects the global community. Access to ideas and diverse ways of thinking helps organizations solve problems creatively. Diversity is enhanced by the Internet, which links together people from vastly different cultures and age groups. With the World Wide Web at group members fingertips, individuals can quickly research terms or ideas and thereby gain a greater understanding of their role in any project. The potential for multimedia content, the use of instant messaging for synchronous and the use of email for asynchronous communication, and the use of Web sites for up-to-date information dissemination are the foundations of online collaboration projects.
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