Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School




Program or Major


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Michelle Gibbons


Rhetoric is the driving force fueling every persuasive, informative speech or message relayed by an individual or institution. It has had a momentous influence and effect on our world history and the way that events of both positive and detrimental value have unfolded within the timeline of human existence. As society and our world have advanced, so have our discoveries and usage of technology. In order to assimilate to these advancements however, society has inevitably found new ways to integrate everyday actions with the technology that has been created. This unification has brought forth a new wave of technological platforms and modes that have altered the way we communicate, such as social media and the web, ultimately bringing forth the term ‘digital rhetoric.’ In congruence with these platforms, prominent, influential figures have seized the opportunity to rhetorically communicate with this online audience. The most recurrent individuals to utilize theses social platforms to connect with their audience are political figures; especially when political upheaval or campaigns are in effect.

To fully understand rhetoric as it is used by these powerful figures online, it is then necessary to discern how digital technology and platforms have created a new space for rhetorical communication. It is then crucial to narrow our view toward decorum and its major role within rhetoric. Upon examining these two ideas separately, it is then appropriate to conduct a full analysis on the correlation between these two topics in application towards Trump’s online discourse. By studying the ways in which Trump embraces the powerful tools of rhetoric, we can gain a more well-rounded, deeper understanding of how digital rhetoric operates on social platforms, such as Twitter, to effectively reach and influence a community.