Social Media and the Rhetorical Situation

This project was a broad project focused on surveying three prolific users of social media with the intent of researching the persona they construct within their rhetorical situation.

I chose to use the social media platform Facebook and chose to survey three women.

The names of these three women have been changed in the graphs below to protect their privacy.

First, I simply graphed their posts over a time of two weeks. I found a trend in that each post tended to fall into one of five categories– shares, personal posts, work posts, family posts, and posts with quotes from their children.

I tallied up the number of posts in each category and graphed it as such:

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 10.31.42 PM


  • It can be seen that Woman A posted the most personal posts while Woman B posted less and Woman C less than both of them.
  • Woman C posted the most about her family while Woman B posted less and Woman A posted even less than both.
  • Women A and B posted relatively the same amount of work posts while Woman C posted less about her job.
  • Woman A shared the most posts while the other two women tended to share less with Woman B sharing the least.

These were just a few of the observations that I made from creating this chart.

Next, I added up the number of likes in each category. Then I divided the total number of posts in each category with its respective number of likes. That number serves as the average number of likes per post in each category.

The results of that are shown here:

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 10.31.52 PM

  • Woman A’s posts with original quotes in them received a much greater average number of likes than any other posts of hers or the other women’s.
  • Shares received the least amount of likes across the board.
  • Woman B and C’s work posts received more likes than their other posts while woman A’s work posts received significantly less likes than the rest of her posts.

Each of those facts can be observed by studying the above graph that I made from data collected from each woman’s Facebook profile.

Each of these women, whether they realize it or not, has crafted an online persona for themselves. What they post the most about refelcts where their priorities and interests are. One can get a glimpse of their life behind the screen by analyzing the content of their Facebook profile.

This leads us to examine: What kind of persona are we presenting on social media?

Do we even realize that what we post on social media is often a direct reflection of what means the most to us?

Oh be careful little thumbs what you post.

Read on. 

~ CB



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