In Composing for Recomposition: Rhetorical Velocity and Delivery, Ridolfo and DeVoss define rhetorical velocity as “the strategic theorizing for how a text might be recomposed (and why it might be recomposed) by third parties, and how this recomposing may be useful or not to the short- or long-term rhetorical objectives of the rhetorician.” The authors pose a series of questions (Image 1) to help establish the necessary composition for your desired rhetorical velocity, or recomposition. They emphasize the importance of understanding who and why someone would want to recompose a piece of work before developing your original piece, however sometimes there does not naturally exist an audience willing to carry your message. In such instances the rhetorician must identify an audience they want to create interest for to facilitate recirculation and further promotion of their message. Careful consideration must be taken to control the message so that it still benefits you when it is out of your control.

My first campaign piece focuses on educator training programs in the United States and how they need to be structured to ensure they are training effective teachers who understand how children learn and who stay in their teaching positions for more than three years. In draft form, I utilized an extensive number of statistics and case studies to provide the basis for my recommendation, in hindsight this format is very dense and does not lend itself well to recomposition in the way that I would like.

My goal is to develop a piece that garners interest from education professionals and potential educators. To accomplish this, I need to take care when deciding how many and which statistics to include. As we discussed in last week’s post about working with numbers, society is growing ever more skeptical about statistics, individual educators may interpret these statistics as personal attacks or distrust their accuracy due to their own experiences. While illustrating the current state of the education system is important I now wonder if that would have the opposite effect of what I intended. Considering the recomposition and circulation of my piece it may be best to focus much more on the case studies and evidence of how we can improve the profession for everyone. Approaching the topic with the demonstrated intent of continuing improvement of the education system, rather than calling the system broken, will likely gain more traction with current education professionals.

The content and audience are not all that needs to be considered though, I need to revamp my format as well. When sharing articles on social media sites such as Facebook, readers often highlight the phrase or quote that impacted them the most. Knowing the case studies are the most emotionally charged pieces of evidence for my campaign, they need to be visibly separated from the body text through boxing, indentation, or other means to help my target audience identify and share the most powerful piece of the campaign – the real-world evidence. To avoid negative appropriation of my recommendations (to the greatest extent possible) I have elected to separate my proposed policy changes from the discussion on educator training. It is important to come to an agreement on the methodology of educator training before involving politics. If a consensus can be reach on the methodology and pedagogical requirements of educator training, only then can we begin to consider the political implications.



Rhetorical velocity is the conscious strategy on how to deliver an argument. Rhetoricians need to have a specific plan to implement their ideas and how to most effectively convey their message to the public. Some questions to consider while making this plan are: Who is interested in this topic? How will they interpret and then recompose the work? What long and short term effects will this have on the overall delivery of the argument. As I have stated in previous blog posts, it is vital to an effective argument to know both your audience and how to best deliver the message to the audience so that they can understand it. This is a basic foundation of rhetorical velocity. If your audience is mostly from the younger generations, i.e. millennials and generation X, the internet and social media are perfect mediums to deliver a message. For example, the use of hashtags (#) has become a staple of social media today. Hashtags allow users to track what is trending at any moment in social media, the more popular the hashtag, the more people see the posts associated with it. While creating a trending topic on Twitter of Instagram can be a tall task, using hashtags will at least connect you to a community of users that are talking about the same topic. Anything posted online has the potential to reach any person with an internet connection in seconds and it is there forever.  Using the internet has been a main strategy of businesses, politicians and anyone with something to say since the rise of social media and in today’s world, it is almost unheard of to neglect the power of the internet.

Another main part of rhetorical velocity is building the message for the distinct purpose of recomposition – or the aim that the audience will “recompose” you message and distribute it further for their own audiences. Ridolfo and DeVoss claim that using “building blocks” is a good way to do this. In other words, provide your audience with the proper materials and information to and materials to build an argument of their own. Using recomposition effectively can be the difference between creating the next trending topic or being just another tweet in the sea of information on the internet.

Plagiarizing or “Recomposing”

The main takeaway from this reading was the idea that published pieces are malleable forms of communication that are meant to be retold and restructured. In fact, these pieces are most effective when they can be “remixed” because it is human nature to try to reimagine and create new ideas from older ones. A successful piece is one that many people use to try formulate their own idea. To this end, it is important for an author to think of their work almost as a spark to start a larger conversation.

One of the first mechanics of piece to consider is its delivery. Whether it comes in the form of a brochure, magazine article, editorial, or video is important because these each have different methods of dispensing information. Some formats are easier to digest than others. It is important for an author to decide which of these formats best allows for communicating the data. For one of my pieces, I chose to create a brochure. These are limited in space to display information so only the strongest arguments can be made or only the most damning statistics can be included. This can also be a blessing, however, as most readers are only looking for eye-catching statistics that they can regurgitate later.

Another thing to keep in mind is amplification. Because of social media, anything can become viral and rack up millions of views. This is something that came to mind when I wrote my editorial. The most successful articles I have read on Facebook have very similar qualities. They are usually hosted on a well-known site, such as NPR or The Atlantic, and call out that our political climate is heading for the apocalypse. I chose to try to replicate these ideas in my editorial. Another idea I thought about was the way I collected my information. All the statistics I presented were taken from other articles I read while doing research and then recomposed to fit the needs of my editorial. I only retained the best figures and points so the next person reads can repurpose them to suit their needs.

Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!

I like goofy titles to get you to read. Call it a Brady Bunch-ilicious rhetorical device. You guys and gal may be too young to know the show (or episode), but I think the professor gets my drift. That said, this:

In order to compose documents in such a way that readers can use them to make something else, there needs to be a clear format. There is no room for ambiguity with formatting. If we want people to mimic our rhetorical style, there must be a style and not slop. Furthermore, to compose with recomposition in mind does not mean to compose something with plagiarism in mind. A work that is used to create something else should actually create something else. I don’t like the idea of people taking credit for my words, but I don’t mind them mimicking my format or reforming my words. People are creative enough to do their own work which is original. I don’t mind pushing people in the right direction. I do mind if they steal my ingenuity. The following is an example.

In order to compose my campaign writing for strategic recomposition, I could give a certain template to use, allowing others to put in their own information. I believe people should do original work; however, by offering examples and templates to use, I may aid someone in mimicking my rhetorical style, while not encouraging plagiarism. With my campaign piece in particular, I could encourage others to devise a mental health campaign using the same format and style I used. Perhaps we could swap stories regarding the mentally ill to enhance each others’ work. Sharing the same template would allow us to strengthen our work as we see the well done work of others with the same passion. Maybe there is something in my campaign that is broke and needs fixed. Having others work on their own pieces with said template could strengthen my piece as I see the creativity of others.

How might this play out practically, For instance, in my second campaign piece, I give a speech about mental health awareness. I first give my story. This includes dealing with the disorders and also with people opposed to me as I dealt with them. I then speak of the ubiquity of mental illness. Finally, I give a call to others to educate the ignorant and to be compassionate to sufferers of mental illness. Everyone’s story is unique, so I would encourage everyone in their uniqueness; however, I like how my speech flows, so I would encourage others to use the template I used, namely, give a story followed by underlining the vastness of mental illness and finally the call to compassion and eradicating ignorance. Everyone is unique, so it would be fun to see what others would come up with or how they would say things!

Catching Fire: Not A “The Hunger Games” Reference

In today’s world, it is common to believe that “everything has already been thought of” or “everything you need to say has already been said.” This is very true, in some respects. When writing a paper for a class, we draw upon respectable sources and use their arguments to support our position. Rarely is anything written that is a brand-new concept. We live in a society that is well connected and creative in the sense that we use the works of others to generate a “new” response. The meme known as the “Grumpy Cat” has been recomposed to creatively relay a message.


In this example, the person who uploaded the image for the first time probably did not anticipate the viral fame and twists put on this image that would follow. I really liked how Lawrence Lessig expressed the idea of remixing and how writing is a way to remix culture. He defines remix as “what we do when we mix together culture or knowledge, and then give others the opportunity to re-express that which we have mixed… culture is remix, knowledge is remix, politics is remix. Remix is how we as humans live and everyone within our society engages in this act of creativity.” This can be hard to do intentionally, and happens more often than not by accident. How can I make something with the idea of recomposition in mind? To me, I believe that the genre has a lot to do with this concern. A long-written document (white paper, lab report, essay, etc.) may be used as a reference for someone else’s work; however, it is unlikely that another person will try to re-purpose the piece. I think that graphics and music are the most common pieces that are likely to be recomposed. In addition, shorter pieces (blog, editorial, press release, etc.) provide an opportunity to be recomposed if they evoke a strong emotional response in the viewer. Something boring will not be recirculated.

My second campaign piece is a flyer that will hopefully draw viewers to my blog. In my opinion, it evokes a gloomy, eerie feeling from the viewer. I anticipate this response; however, someone with a different background or mindset could have a completely different perspective. For the revision of this piece, I will make a greater attempt to produce something that can be recomposed to fit the issues of “scientific uncertainty.” If I can accomplish this, I believe that my campaign will succeed.

Lastly, delivery and rhetorical velocity are crucial in determining whether or not a campaign catches fire or dies immediately. Luckily, we are born in an era where information can be distributed and re-purposed almost instantly with the click of a button. I like how Ridolfo and DeVoss define rhetorical velocity; specifically, how it “refers to the understanding and rapidity at which information is crafted, delivered, distributed, recomposed, redelivered, redistributed, etc., across physical and virtual networks and spaces.” Instead of producing my flyer as a physical printout, I can use the internet and social media to distribute it more quickly. It would be more beneficial for me to work with science and technology “giants” (popular Facebook groups and popular Twitter accounts) to help relay my message quickly and effectively. Posting from my personal accounts would be a waste time since I have ~500 total followers/friends. These accounts can help me reach millions of people, which is the key to keeping a campaign going. Since my target audience is parents, I could also tap into “parental help” groups/accounts as well. For example, there are Facebook groups such as “Kids Health” and “The Average Parent” where a community of parents help instruct one another and offer suggestions. My campaign is centered around recommendations on how to reduce a child’s exposure to electronic radiation. These resources are not ones that I had previously considered, but they may help improve the rhetorical velocity of my campaign.

Blog #5

First of all, I have to say this article introduces so many regarding the culture of

recomposition. Especially when talking about remix, I can really see how technology

changes can affect the style of remix. It’s more open with more possibilities even in

videos, audios, or other, instead of probably “single to single” in the old time.

Therefore, when we compose our work that prepared to be recomposed by others,

it has not to be limited to certain format or structure. Instead, it can be in various

formats and it will be delivered and recomposed by other different medias either,

just like the example of “Chocolate Rain” in the article. Also, as Greek Demosthenes

emphasized three times, the most important element of rhetoric is delivery. Thus,

how the work will be delivered hugely decide how it’s going to be recomposed.

For the purpose of the work to be recomposed by readers as much as possible, I

think one important key issue will be how it can be delivered. By using different

rhetorical deliveries, the result can be very different. We have to admit that as

technology becomes more and more advanced, the way to deliver can be more

electronically. However, a lot of times readers can actually gain more understandings

of the articles, for example, by rewriting them on the papers or reading paper

version instead of electronic version. Therefore, I think sometimes is not a bad idea

to try the old style of delivery as well. In addition, we have to consider the velocity,

which is greatly depending on the way to deliver. For example, the speed to spread

something out can be different by through videos, channels, blogs, etc.

Last but not least, an important idea of recomposing is that because the reader is

recomposing the article by his or her new understanding and then more people will

read, readers can be authors at the same time.

It’s like those arrow pads in Crash Team Racing, except for rhetoric

When I think of rhetorical velocity, I think of articles that get retweeted with the account adding a compelling sentence of text. Writing in anticipation of recomposition demands a familiarity with what compels individuals to engage with your writing in the first place. By identifying the causes of initial audience engagement, one can foresee subsequent activity beyond the primary. I have never approached my writing with strategic recomposition in mind. Not that I haven’t wanted my thoughts or views to be circulated while I enjoy proper attribution, but it just seems like an intellectually shallow purpose as an individual without a broader objective. Writing with strategic recomposition in mind means being rejecting that purity I just described and understanding that word of mouth is the most effective endorsement, and people need to be led to those endorsements if the campaign goal is going to be vigorously pursued. Having a consistent message throughout the writing that restates your thesis in different ways that can appeal to a more diverse audience might be effective. For example, using a metaphor might resonate more strongly with some people, while using statistics to explain the same argument might appeal to others. Providing options while remaining consistent in substance could really promote circulation and staying power.

A recession is when you lose your job, a depression is when I lose mine

“Davies’ explanation of statistics as, “…tools designed to simplify the job of government, for better or worse” was something that I had never thought about before. This simplification is implicit in data aggregation, but I never spent time thinking about the concept before. I think that just by including this idea as a disclaimer when using data is powerful in and of itself. I think a lot of the skepticism of statistics comes from who collects the data. For example, if someone is generally distrustful of the government, then they will question the data government collects. If it’s possible, providing data that is collected by organizations or institutions or sectors that the data can help to explain could lend objectivity. For example, I both of my campaign pieces I use statistics compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org, which I highly recommend for any interested parties). For most of the data on the site, the candidates and organizations are required by law to submit what they are receiving or donating. To me, that lends credibility. In this instance, there is no expertise because it’s essentially just regurgitation of information. By portraying data providers as messengers reduces their “elitist” qualities.

Composing to Recompose

Rhetorical velocity focuses on when and how a piece is delivered to an audience.   It is initially defined as “a strategic approach to composing for rhetorical delivery”.  Later in the article, the author defines rhetorical velocity as “an understanding of how the speed at which information composed to be recomposed travels”.  I think that to compose a piece of writing for recomposition means that when you are creating your piece, you have to be ready for your work to be changed or edited to fit many different settings.  For example, an article you write could be put in a magazine, and they might add a picture you did not originally include.  This is not a major reconfiguration of your work, but the magazine is trying to enhance your article to best fit their platform.  On the other hand, something you say could be completely misinterpreted and you could be quoted as support for something that does not directly relate to your work.  This would completely change the meaning of your work, and could be used to support something that you are very opposed to.

To encourage people to reconfigure my work to contribute positively to my campaign, I think it would be best to make my pieces easily implemented on other platforms.  For example, my second campaign piece could be a flyer or something that is shared on social media.  When it is printed out as a flyer, it will be harder for it people to reconfigure it because they cannot edit my work directly.  If it is shared on social media, every time someone reposts it they can write their own comments about what they think, and every time something is added, the meaning will change slightly.  I think that in order for a piece to be successful online, it has to be composed in a way that is easily shared and everyone can recompose the message themselves.

Be Green: How to Recycle Your Work

Initially, strategically writing with intent for recomposition can be an intimidating task that seems almost impossible. For example, how am I supposed to know how somebody else will want to use my work? However, there are a few things that can be done in order to facilitate recomposition in a way the writer will approve.

First off, recomposition is only possible when somebody is so inspired by your work, that they would like to put their own spin on it. The writer needs to provoke his/her audience. If the work is too boring or too ineffective there is a zero percent change it will be recomposed.

Next, the piece must have the ability to be easily reused. The work must not be so complex, that it cannot be put into a different genre. For example, if you a writing a white paper, many things need to be thoroughly explained before the final conclusion is drawn. This type of work will be extremely difficult to transfer into a brochure where the space is extremely limited. If you are writing with the intent for somebody else to repurpose your work, it is a good idea to keep things simple. Your repurposed work will only be less complex than the original.

One important thing I took away from the reading states, “Remix is how we as humans live and everyone within our society engages in this act of creativity.” This is an interesting point that suggests that essentially everything we are doing has already been done; we are only remixing it. To some extent, this is true. All of our work, especially as students, that we are doing is based on research that other people have already conducted.

In order to apply this to our Writing for the Public pieces, I think it would be beneficial to have some main points that are short, sweet, and to the point. These points, if possible, should not need much explanation. It would be easiest for these points to be able to stand alone if the intent is for recomposition.