Fight Club and Social Media Turning to Electracy and Technology to Teach Argumentation

“In electracy the body mood is augmented in the digital prosthesis and becomes capable of supporting sophisticated intelligence. Our larger project is to develop the educational practices (the rhetoric) for using the prosthesis. A literate person reasons on paper (text); an electrate person feels online (felt)” (Ulmer, 2003).

The Project: Use digital prosthesis to support sophisticated intelligence, which includes pathos, ethos, logos and kairos.

The Sophisticated Intelligence
The Digital Prosthetic

A Series of Unfortunate Assumptions

1) The Ignorance Assumption

2) The Idiocy Assumption

3) The Evil Assumption

The "loser" of an argument learns something new. Their perspectives change. They gain new knowledge when they concede. The losers win.

Fight Club: Homework Scene

The Assignment: Start a "fight" on social media—and lose it.

Social Media as Digital Prosthetic
Things to discuss beforehand

1) Ask questions related to research

2) Audience awareness: what and where you post matters

3) Define goals

4) Define trolling

5) Workshop questions in class

Things to discuss afterwards

1) Share experiences

2) Difficulty getting people to engage

3) How does conceding strengthen your own argument?

4) What happened when you conceded?

5) How can you incorporate this experience in your project?


1) Students break down boundaries between academics and personal life by transferring skills into the classroom, not from it

2) Students see social media as a platform for learning

3) Students realize that research can and should be collaborative

4) Students see the value of concessions

5) Students gain a more complex understanding of argumentation

Thank you.

Eric James Stephens

Clemson University,


*adapted from author's blog contribution to Bedford/St. Martin's "Multimodal Mondays"

Created By
Eric Stephens

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