Readymade Rhetoric:
Love the One You're With

by: paul muhlhauser and robert kachur

Readymade rhetoric is nothing new and it’s nothing old. It pops up and down and in and out of communication practices. Born of the need for expediency, we define readymade rhetoric as the prefab collection of communication practices—images, words and phrases—that we draw upon to communicate quickly. In academia, for example, one way we use definitions are as readymade lenses for approaching the rhetorical world expediently. In popular culture, readymades are found in greeting cards, on t-shirts, and in Word documents. Play with Word and you’ll find templates, readymade style police, and clip art pictures. Read an email and you’ll find readymades in those valedictions that help us finish a message: “Sincerely,” “Yours,” “Best.”

In addition to email, Word, and clip art, the Interweb has made readymade rhetoric ubiquitous and widgetful. A widget is an “application" or a component of an interface, that enables a user to perform a function or access a service” ("Widget"). For us, digital widgets are rhetorical readymades that have a number of important affordances and constraints we often forget about in our use and implementation of them. Widgets, even in their simple incarnations (i.e. “Like”ing, “Favorite”ing, thumbs upping and downing, or autocompleting words) are powerful forms of participation that can mean a lot without seeming to mean much (see Muhlhauser and Campbell's "Like Me, Like Me Not" for a close reading of the "Like" widget and its meaning or lack thereof). In other words, widgets—their use, design, and function—are important participatory considerations for web authors.


Readymade rhetoric—and widgets in particular—raise important issues about our participation in communication, especially considering the web’s participatory ethic and how companies are learning to design with this ethic in mind. For us, the web’s participatory ethic is the way in which digital technologies have developed cultures-of-use  and connotations that encourage audiences (communities) and audience members to create, recreate, and/or fashion media as well as participate in media through commenting, self-publishing, sharing, and, well, helping each other solve problems. Whether it be by “lurking” in communities to learn the discourse and become more active participants later (Jenkins, Ford, and Green 156) or by being media producers, a participatory ethic is the notion that the web is generative: for play, remix, appropriation, involvement, and contribution.

Of course, readymades can be constraining too—as you know if you’ve ever struggled to find the right birthday card, the right valediction, or the right way to use/not use the “Like” button in response to tragic news. As we argue in our playful vlog to the right, which provides a detailed consideration of the constraints presented by readymade valedictions, a readymade’s perceived constraints can increase over time, causing it to lose its time-saving value and fall into disuse. At its core, readymade rhetoric exists to provide a fast way to read and to write the world. It is one way we practice an ethic of expediency—that value system that Katz defines as prizing “rationality, efficiency, speed, productivity, and power” (Katz 266).

Because readymade rhetoric is a form of technological expediency, Katz rightly cautions us that it must be used reflectively, informed by values other than expediency alone: At its worst, “technological expediency . . . becomes an end in itself. Progress becomes a virtue at any cost” (Katz 265). Aware that “telos is politically constructed and ethics are culturally relative, we must realize the role our rhetoric plays in continually creating, recreating, and maintaining not only knowledge, but values as well” (Katz 271). We must, more specifically, continually ask what kind of communication readymade rhetoric privileges, and who benefits most and least from our use of it.

This kind of rhetorical interrogation is, of course, the kind of hard work that counters the ethic of expediency. And that’s the whole point. We believe that the opportunities for cultural analysis that ubiquitous readymades afford infuses them with tremendous participatory and pedagogical potential – for their critique, creation, and use.

Theorhetorically yours, Readymade Rhetoric

There has been a “shift from distribution to circulation [that] signals a movement toward a more participatory model of culture, one which sees the public not as simply consumers of preconstructed messages but as people who are shaping, sharing, reframing, and remixing media content in ways which might not have been previously imagined” (Jenkins, Ford, & Green 2). In fact, as a concept, readymade rhetoric fits well with Jenkins (@henryjenkins), Ford (@Sam_Ford), and Green’s (@joshgreen) suggestions for harnessing participatory culture by thinking about media in terms of its spreadability: “the potential — both technical and cultural — for audiences [who are authors, who are audiences - addition ours] to share content for their own purposes, sometimes with the permission of rights holders, sometimes against their wishes” (3). Readymade rhetoric is similar in how its forms create opportunities for sharing.

Readymade rhetoric has, we believe, become an even more important part of communication practices as the database has eclipsed the narrative as a form of communication in new media. As Manovich (@manovich) might say, the paradigm - the importance of having the pieces and knowing where to find them - has eclipsed or become privileged over the syntagm (231). The paradigm, database, or collection becomes explicit and the syntagm (order, narrative, or combination) becomes implicit.

Additionally, readymade rhetoric is at play whenever authors remix culture, whenever they take from pre-existing forms (databases) of media, content, or style and mash them together. Lessig (@lessig) might argue that when a person utilizes readymade rhetoric he/she is participating in Read/Write culture, “where ordinary citizens “read” their culture by listening to it or by reading representations of it (e.g., musical scores). Citizens add to the culture they read by creating and re-creating the culture around them” (Lessig 28).

Unfortunately, a number of readymade widgets for participation in the digital world follow Lessig’s (@lessig) conception of a Read Only culture: “a culture less practiced in performance, or amateur creativity, and more comfortable (think: couch) with simple consumption” (Lessig 27). From this cultural perspective, it’s difficult to imagine in a world with readymades, like today’s, because access to manipulation of content is highly controlled and inaccessible. Though you can mash up web pages with readymade widgets (i.e. “Like” buttons, “Follow” buttons, “Share” buttons), you can’t really re-create them how you’d like very easily. These readymades are “highly regulated.”

Kristin Arola (@kristinarola) comments on this “couch” aspect of readymades in her argument criticizing Web 2.0 readymades (templates). She argues that “we need to acknowledge and engage with the fact that new forms of writing in Web 2.0 often exclude design insofar as design is, as I define it, the purposeful choice and arrangement of page elements. Though our students may choose a template in Blogger, Bebo, or MySpace with preformatted colors, fonts, and shapes, they rarely have the opportunity to create these choices for themselves” (6). As Sherry Turkle (@STurkle) points out, the stakes of confronting the deterministic bent of highly regulated readymades are high:

We expect more from technology and less from each other…Overwhelmed, we have been drawn to connections that seem low risk and always at hand: Facebook friends, avatars, IRC chat partners. If convenience and control continue to be our priorities, we shall be tempted by sociable robots, where, like gamblers at their slot machines, we are promised excitement programmed in, just enough to keep us in the game. At the robotic moment, we have to be concerned that the simplification and reduction of relationship is no longer something we complain about. It may become what we expect, even desire. (522)

To remix a McLuhan readymade, then, “new media” and readymades “are not bridges between man and nature, they are nature” (qtd. in The Essential McLuhan 210): readymade technologies create habitual and/or normalized environments that we, you, and students sometimes overlook when considering how interfaces are designed and programmed rhetorically.

Continuing the transformative discussions asking composition instructors to pay attention to digital technologies’ affordances and constraints begun by Hawisher (@hawisher) & Selfe (@selfe2) in "The Rhetoric of Technology and the Electronic Writing Class" and Selfe (@selfe2) & Selfe (@selfe3) in "The Politics of the Interface" over two decades ago (and carried on by a number of scholars who have influenced us, such as Cheryl Cheryl Ball [@s2ceball], Patty Ericsson [@PattyEricsson], Johndan Johnson-Eilola [@johndan], Jason Farman [@farman], Joddy Murray [@joddy_m], and Anne Wysocki [@afwysocki] among many important others), Arola (@kristinarola) argues, “interfaces do rhetorical work. If we are to critically engage with the rhetoric of the interface and critically engage with Web 2.0, we must pay attention to how Web 2.0 interfaces are shaping our interactions and ourselves…“ (7). She goes on to “suggest that those of us committed to engaging with modes of meaning beyond the alphabetic need to work to bring design to a discursive level so that we, along with our students, become attuned to the ways in which design encourages users to participate in online spaces. If we are to enact a meaningful multimodal pedagogy, then we need to make design visible” (13).

In more words, and to follow Arola (@kristinarola) in a slightly modified and inclusive way: if we are to enact meaningful multimodal communicative practices and a participatory pedagogy, then we need to make design and widget construction visible. We need to critique and reflect upon the “nature” of readymades and how we use them. Readymades are nature - they become our values and communication practices. And in the form of widgets, we share Turkle’s concern that they tend to make communication less thoughtful. Just as important, they guide us into how we feel ethos - into being constituted by feeling good and credible about likes and favorites. The feedback creates a new kind of person where an author is constituted by the audience rather than the other way around. We become created by what our subjects comment on and “Like” or “Favorite.”

But we also believe that this simplification and reduction of relationship only happens when we aren’t critical of the rhetoric of technology, when we forget how it could have been used differently and don’t know how to use it differently. As Arola suggests, we can learn to denaturalize design—and widgets in particular. For us, this is not just in order to recognize how readymade widgets limit our communicative practices, but so we can explore how to transform and adapt them in order to open up communicative practices.

Love the Widgets You’re With

To remix a readymade from one of our favorite new media icons and involuntary prankster (rickrolling)—

Rick Astley Readymade rhetoric we are

Never gonna give you up

Never gonna let you down

Never gonna run around and desert you
(remix of Never Gonna Give You Up perf. by Rick Astley -@rickastley)

Ideally, we believe that the best way to understand how to denaturalize widgets is to create them. We agree with President Obama's (@BarackObama) call to action last year in his promotion of Computer Science Education week in which he encouraged young people to learn programming. In fact, Obama's (@BarackObama) call to program is somewhat similar to one aspect of the NCTE's Position Statement on 21st Century Literacies:

Active, successful participants in this 21st century global society must be able to

Though Obama (@BarackObama) isn’t very specific about the benefits of such education in this particular call to action and the NCTE isn't clear about the types of "tools" of technology, we feel like several other rhet/comp scholars (e.g. @cbdilger, @kristinarola, and @kstolley) who emphasize the merits of knowing code. We believe that knowing code can help authors better understand what can be created in digital environments and think critically about what was done and how it may have been done differently. Our pedagogical assumption here is that there is value in understanding how widgets are created for imagining how they can be uncreated, changed, or recreated; there is value in such processes because it assists authors in denaturalizing Example Widgetsreadymades. Though taken slightly out of context, Nicholas Burbules sums up this position in his discussion of understanding the rhetoric behind hyperlinks: The more that one is aware of how this is done, the more one can be aware that it was done and that it could have been done otherwise" (118-119).

Another way to think about our position is by using Stuart Selber's (@selber) readymade for understanding the different types of digital literacies (functional, critical, and rhetorical): The Conceptual Landscape of a Computer Multiliteracies Program.

In other words, in our hegemonic system, functional literacy is invaluable. Experiences with functional literacy leads to productive conversations about critical and rhetorical literacy. For us and for Selber (@selber) these categories are not mutually exclusive. Muhlhauser (@doctamuhlhauser) and Bradbury in their work discussing the affordances and constraints of visual display technologies' (i.e. static imagery and slideshows) explain functional literacies' importance and connection to pedagogy this way:

While we do agree that composition instructors' task is to facilitate students' critical abilities and instruct students in technologies as an "integrated process" married to practice, we believe it is harsh to assume technical training does not expand "students' intellectual capacity." For us, it assumes students' critical thinking skills are modular and shut down when being trained in technical processes. It also assumes that it is enough to let students learn the technical on their own—that anyone can do it. This is not always the case. Often even digitally savvy students need help imagining how to make a software [or code] work the way they want. Instead of thinking of technical training as something that is limiting, we like to imagine it as an expansive avenue for developing literacies.

Ideally, instructors and students should create or manipulate their own readymade widgets for participation. After all, we’d like our own “Like-ert” scale for comments on our websites. We want to like and dislike and favorite and unfavorite simultaneously. We want widgets that create opportunities for easy participation that make the ethic of expediency a little more meaningful.

But we don’t want to forget another “ideally” that often gets overlooked in the hype over coding acumen and discussions about what sorts of digital knowledge rhetoric and composition instructors "need" to know or "need" to teach. This particular “ideally” is a pedagogical value system inspired by Crosby, Stills, Nash (@CSNOfficial) & Young (@Nielyoung):

Love the One You're With

Learning to code well takes a LOT of time, effort, knowledge, and, well, passion (you know, that feeling we hope students get about learning the subject we teach) for rhetoric and composition teachers, who often have to be autodidacts to make such teaching opportunities possible in their classrooms. And this can be an intimidating task—trying to stay "with it" to learn the functional literacy of new and constantly changing and developing digital tools. Steven Krause (@stevendkrause) in his discussion of what we perceive as a foray into using the more involved HTML 5 features such as the canvas element and writing javascript comments:

From what I’ve learned so far, I don’t think I need to know HTML5 to successfully write web-based content in the same way I don’t need to know how my transmission works to drive my car.

For Krause (@stevendkrause), there is a limit regarding the type of functional literacy being taught (i.e. a little HTML and CSS are fine, but beyond that it might be a little too much and move beyond the scope of digital rhetoric and composition classes). And his "transmission" metaphor is important. In other words, one instructor's transmission might be HTML 5, while another instructor's might be Prezi. In other words, stepping into programming or even using WYSIWYG programs to create HTML and CSS is challenging and takes a lot of experience to do competently. It takes a lot of practice and play to learn and know how to learn to troubleshoot and help students with “just in time” assistance or teaching.

We also consider Bill Hart-Davidson's (@billhd) position that digital rhetors do not necessarily need to know how to code. His blog post and the resulting and passionate Twitter discussion (thank you, Chris Lindgren [@lndgrn] for capturing this moment on Storify and analyzing the rhetorical moves made in the argument in "To Code or Not to Code: The Consequences of Act-Consequence Relations in Argumentation") on the "to code or not to code" topic articulates his position clearly:

So my advice to my fellow and aspiring digital rhetoricians is this: forget about code. It’s like mastering the five paragraph essay rather than learning to write well. Instead, learn to make algorithms.

"Make algorithms" might be thought of as a focus on the critical or rhetorical literacy Stuart Selber mentions rather than functional literacy. For Hart-Davidson (@billhd) the genre or critical and rhetorical thought process is computational or algorithmic, which doesn't necessarily have to be computer coding. An algorithm may have a digital or "programmy" connotation but it can be thought of as "A step-by-step process or set of operations to be followed to solve a particular problem" (Jones and Hafner 192). Hart-Davidson (@billhd) sees it more as a non-"programmy" process and asks that digital rhetors learn to be "computational thnkers": "Computational thinking is the thought process involved in formulating problems and their solutions so that the solutions are represented in a form that can effectively be carried out by an information-processing agent" (Wing qtd. in Hart-Davidson). In more words, he imagines digital rhetoricans as "directors" and managers of programming and software development who work with programmers. Digital rhetoricians think "computationally" and use their critical and rhetorical literacies to guide and troubleshoot digital compositions or productions.

As an alternative “ideally” or value system to the learn to code movement, we offer a Love the One You’re With pedagogy: a pedagogy focused more on how to find and use the opportunities afforded by readymade widgets and bring them together to create rhetorically savvy texts. For us, it’s important to play with what’s offered and imagine how readymades can work together to communicate. A pedagogy of readymades uses what’s there to get things (websites, blogs, pamphlets, infographics, etc.) “goldiloxxy” or just right. We aren’t stuck in the value system about digital tech that seems to suggest “learn to code” or know how to program (“knowing the nuts and bolts”) is the only and IDEAL way to learn to manipulate digital technologies. In fact, we argue that a Love the One You’re With pedagogy is no less thoughtful or critical. Our pedagogical assumption here is that there is value in understanding what widget options exist and imagining what the widgets or combinations of widgets allow users to create, uncreate, change, or recreate. Again, there is value in such processes because these puzzles of mixing pieces together assist authors in denaturalizing readymades and thinking critically about how to construct meaning.

The kind of new media or digital multimedia document composition we are referring to can be considered similar to designing a room or even writing an essay —both of which rely on readymades to work. As interior designers, we might put a clock there, a rug over here, and a sofa on that wall. Do we know how to make or “program” any of those objects? No. As writers of verbal text, did we make the pen/computer/text editor, the paper/screen, or even the language? Nah. But we use them to compose texts. We can think about why we chose that word over another. We may not be thinking critically about “authoring” a room or a language, but we are thinking critically about selection (what’d you pick and why?) and arrangement (where’d you put it and how come?), function (what’s it do and why is this important?) and expediency (do we make do with what we have or keep looking and what are the effects of my expediency on my audience?)

A new media or multimedia readymaker/author can also think critically about selection (i.e. why did I choose that picture?), arrangement (i.e. why did I choose that template or organization and why did I put that picture there?), function (i.e. what’s that widget allow me to do to that picture or what does it afford and constrain?), and expediency (i.e. do the benefits of what I have outweigh the benefits of creating something new?). An author might select to use a variety of web based widgets. He/she might use or Piktochart to create an infographic for a Tumblr blog because he/she likes the arrangement options and functionality of one over the other. He/she might use to find clip art because he/she found the “right” image for a logo, it’s in the public domain, and there is a photoediting widget in the site that lets him/her customize it a little more. The author might use Bubblr to arrange a comic using clip art or visual argument from selected Flickr pictures, a more expedient resource than composing his/her own pictures (though such pictures might be less stock and tailored to fit the communication's purpose). He/she might want to arrange the same resources to animate the comic or the argument using Moovly for a different affect/effect. He/she might learn about the functions of Disqus and select it because it encourages participation through a number of social media venues and the “back-end” is arranged in a user-friendly way (it’s easy to navigate). He/she could be selecting a tag cloud plugin for a WordPress site because of how it arranges important tags when compared to other ways of communicating significant topics and expedites comprehension of the big picture (though the details in the "small" pictures might be lost). An author might select Daniel Eden's readymade code for animating a part of a website that functions as an emphasizer of important information or to illustrate a concept or use Adobe's Widget Browser to add a slideshow or a lightbox to a web page. An author using readymades might even select from various social media and curation platforms (e.g. Twitter, Pinterest, Pearl Trees, or Scoop.It) and think about how they function differently to create coherent web presence (Muhlhauser does this in his Nichepertise assignment for New Media Writing students).

A Love the One You’re With pedagogy might use Storify and Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker to create sophisticated and rhetorically savvy compositions and further show students how to denaturalize new media technologies by helping them think about what they are pulling apart, putting together, and how they are experiencing the affordances and constraints of the functions of these readymade widgets. Storify and Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker are curation programs that draw from a variety of databases (Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Giphy, SoundCloud etc.) to create digital stories/narratives/reports (Storify) or remix movies (Popcorn Maker).

Link to article - Like Me Like Me NotThe creation process can and should, in fact, start with analysis of readymades’ affordances and constraints. Considering Muhlhauser (@doctamuhlhauser) and Campbell’s (@akatecampbell) detailed analysis of the layers of communicative ambiguity created by Facebook’s “Like” button in “Like Me, Like Me Not” can serve as a good starting place. Why, for instance, can’t you “Dislike” something? And what’s at stake for an individual in participatory culture when making an isolated comment is the only alternative to silence?

Example Google Poem using autocomplete - i have this - i have this feeling - i have this weird feeling in my stomach - i have this condition that makes me want to kill - i have this little abuse problem with expensive footwearDitto Baker (@_paulbaker_) and Potts’s (@WatchedPotts) article on what Sampsa Nuotio calls Google Poetics (i.e. the succession of search terms that emerge unbidden during a Google search), which can be quite whimsical. Their article “‘Why do white people have thin lips?’Example Google autocomplete for Why do white people - why do white people tan - why do white people act black - why do white people have thin lips - why do white people think they are better - why do white people want to be black Google and the perpetuation of stereotypes via auto-complete search forms” takes the tricky prediction widget of autocorrect to task for insidiously perpetuating racial and ethnic stereotypes through its consensus based algorithm. Rather than whimsical, we are presented with offensive and awkward "poetry." Again, the promise of participatory internet culture is turned on its head: What does participation mean when Google is constantly validating what kind of participation is normative?

In addition to examining readymade affordances and constraints, we recommend embracing and utilizing aporia or aporic moments as a way to see or make apparent those head-turning moments. Aporia is that rhetorical concept for #awkward. It's the uncertain feeling one gets when communicating with a readymade results in a communicative dissonance. It's when one says "Happy Memorial Day" or "Like"s a friend's tragedy on Facebook—where situations, contexts, and readymade communication seem at odds. Recognizing such moments in the limitations of readymades creates opportunities for conversations about what a widget can and can't do—what it affords and constrains. (Though not focused on digital aporia, this even more playful vlog takes a more detailed look at aporia as a pedagogical tool.)

Rather than learning to code, a Love the One You’re With pedagogy is based on finding readymade widgets and learning how to successfully combine them. In other words, the focus is on assisting students in locating readymades and thinking critically about the selection, the arrangement, and the functionality of readymades in creating effective compositions. For us, learning how to create and use readymades is just as important as learning to denaturalize them. We don’t mean to suggest that students don’t also critique the affordances and constraints of the widgets (e.g. the “Like” button and Google’s autocomplete) or that “learning to code” isn’t possible in an English class. We only mean to suggest that putting together readymades successfully and knowing where and how to use them is in itself challenging and a worthy focus for instructors and goes hand in hand with thinking about the “nature” of readymades. Love the One You’re With is a pedagogical idea that asks instructors to embrace (albeit critically) the ethic of expediency in order to decenter it by learning to find, manipulate, and critique readymades

Works We Loved

Andrea Lunsford. Digital Image. n.d. "English Expert - Andrea Lunsford." The Human Experience: Inside Humanities at Stanford University. Web.

Archistico. "Archistico." [Heading typeface]. FontSquirrel. 20 May 2013. Web. Aug. 2014.

Arola, Kristin L. "The Design of Web 2.0: The Rise of the Template, The Fall of Design." Computers and Composition. 27 (2010): 4-14. Print.

Baker, Paul and Amanda Potts. "‘Why do white people have thin lips?’ Google and the perpetuation of stereotypes via auto-complete search forms." Critical Discourse Studies. 10.2 (2013): 187-204. Print.

Bill HD [Bill Hart-Davidson]. "Code? Not So Much." Gayle Morris Sweetland Digital Writing Collaborative. University of Michigan Press. 17 Oct. 2012. Web. 5 Nov. 2014.

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"Code." Merriam-Webster, 2014.Web. 8 Nov. 2014. "President Obama asks America to learn computer science." Online video. YouTube. YouTube. 8 Dec. 2013. Web. 10 July 2014.

Coyier, Chris. "Smooth Scrolling." CSS-Tricks. 17 Oct. 2013. Web. 8 Nov. 2014. [This is the Javascript used for the smooth scrolling aspect to the interface.]

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Hawisher, Gaile E. and Cynthia L. Selfe. "The Rhetoric of Technology and the Electronic Writing Class." College Composition and Communication. 42.1 (1991): 55-65. Print.

"I have this feeling." 2014. Digital image. Google Poetics. Web.

Jenkins, Henry, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green. Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. New York: New York U. Press, 2013. Kindle AZW file.

Jones, Rodney H. and Christoph Hafner. Understanding Digital Literacies: A Practical Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2012. Print.

Katz, Steven B. "The Ethic of Expediency: Classical Rhetoric, Technology, and the Holocaust. " College English. 54.3 (1992): 255-275. Print.

Krause, Steve. "Boldly (or foolishly) going where I haven’t gone before: HTML5." 10 Mar. 2012. Web. 5 Nov. 2014.

Lessig, Lawrence. Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. New York: Penguin Press, 2008. Kindle AZW file.

Lindgren, Chris [lingeringcode]. "To Code, or Not To Code (Not So Much)?" Storify by Livefyre. 2012. Web. 5 Nov. 2014.

---. "To Code or Not to Code: The Consequences of Act-Consequence Relations in Argumentation." N.d. Web. 5 Nov. 2014.

McLuhan, Eric and Frank Zingrone. The Essential McLuhan. New York: Basic Books, 1995. Print.

Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2001. Print.

Muhlhauser, Paul and Andrea Campbell. "Like Me, Like Me Not." Harlot: A Revealing Look at the Arts of Persuasion. 8 (2012). Web.

Muhlhauser, Paul and Kelly Bradbury. "Moving Images: Rhetoric, Slideshows, and Representation." Computers and Composition. Fall 2013. Web.

Muhlhauser, Paul and Robert Kachur, dir. A Rousing Intercourse: Valediction. 2012. Vlog. MP4, OGV, and WebM.

"Portrait of Quintilian." Digital Image. n.d. Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia. Web.

Nyek! Pinoy Komik Fonts. "Anudaw." [Navigation typeface]. FontSquirrel. 11 Sept. 2009. Web. 8 Nov. 2014.

RickAstleyVEVO. "Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up." YouTube. YouTube. 24 Oct. 2009. Web. 10 July 2014.

Selber, Stuart A. Multiliteracies for a Digital Age. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2004. Print.

Selfe, Cynthia L. and Richard J. Selfe, Jr. "The Politics of the Interface: Power and Its Exercise in Electronic Contact Zones." College Composition and Communication. 45.4 (1994): 480-504. Print.

Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. New York: Basic Books, 2011. EPub file.

"Widget." Computing. New Oxford American Dictionary. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 2012. Apple's Maverick OS English default dictionary.

ZU_09. "Plato." Digital Image. 2013. iStock. Getty Images. Web.

***Digital visual images (video posters, "Widgets we'd like to see.," visual image, Rick Astley visual image, "Like Me, Like Me Not" visual image, and Google auto-complete example "Why do white people") not listed above were remixed/created by Paul Muhlhauser using screenshots and Adobe Photoshop. The Google auto-complete example "Why do white people" was generated 11 July 2014.***