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Rhetorical velocity

Rhetorical velocity is a term originating from the fields of Composition Studies and Rhetoric used to describe how rhetoricians may strategically theorize and anticipate the third party recomposition of their texts. In their 2009 article "Composing for Recomposition: Rhetorical Velocity and Delivery"[1] in Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, Professors Jim Ridolfo and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss provide the example of a writer delivering a press release, where the writer of the release rhetorically anticipates the positive and negative ways in which the text may be recomposed into other texts, including news articles, blog posts, and video content. Not only does practicing rhetorical velocity allow the speaker/writer to develop a closer relationship to his or her audience but it also allows the speaker/writer to theorize of all possible outcomes with time and delivery. Ridolfo and DeVoss argue that this thinking is indicative of modern notion of actio, one that requires a new strategy and theory for thinking about the delivery, distribution, and recomposition of texts and rhetorical objects. It is stated in their article that, "...composing in the digital age is different than traditional practices of composing." Since traditional composition consists of one's original work that is transformed into writing, digital composition requires a lot more editing in its own sphere. Ridfolfo and DeVoss referred to its qualities as "mix, mass and merge".

In 2010, West Point Professor Michael Edwards and Virginia Military Institute Professor D. Alexis Hart interviewed Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell, the current Commander of the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan, and asked him about rhetorical velocity and the matter of military documents stamped For Official Use Only.[2]

For example, the rhetorical velocity of a press advisory encompasses the publication deadlines, reporters material conditions (including how local reporters prefer to receive and process the text). These considerations are calculated alongside the rhetorical goals of the advisory writer(s). It takes into account the delivery and composition of the given work in relation to the writers future goals for reproduction. In this sense rhetorical velocity considers the future time (and in particular moments) and place(s) of texts as part of a distributive strategy.[3]


  1. ^ Ridolfo, Jim and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss. “Composing for Recomposition: Rhetorical Velocity and Delivery.” Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy 13.2 (2009).
  2. ^ Edwards, Michael and D. Alexis Hart. "A Soldier Interacting, Without Mediation: Mike Edwards and Alexis Hart interview Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine.." Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy 14.3 (2010).
  3. ^ Eyman, Douglas. (2005). Modules. WRA 202: Introduction to Professional Writing. Retrieved January 9, 2008, from