The Commenting Persona: Reception Theory and the Digital Rhetorical Audience

Ryan KOR


This article explores the implications of integrating a recep-tion-based approach to audience studies into the current conception of the rhetorical audience. It asserts that by tracing the contours of online audience response to a rhetorical text, a “commenting persona” emerges that can speak on behalf of the text’s actual audience. This commenting persona, then, fills a gap in the popular “persona” theory of the rhetorical audience by locating a persona that resides outside of the rhetorical text, rather than being a projection created within the text. The article hopes to provide a theoretical framework for rhetorical scholars to integrate reception theory into their analysis of the after-life of rhetorical text and the response by the actual audiences that consume them.

Keywords: Digital Audience; Reception Studies; Rhetoric; New Media; Online Persona

DOI: 10.24193/jmr.30.4