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Doing Hashtags: Identifying Hashtags’ Role in the Rhetorical Tool Kit

Reinwald, Jennifer Jean (2021) Doing Hashtags: Identifying Hashtags’ Role in the Rhetorical Tool Kit. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation analyzes four genres of hashtags—socio-political, seasonal, daily-use, and non-trending—and identifies the rhetorical tools present in each tag, especially those tools separate from linking or connection. Guided by the question “what do hashtags do?” this project explores the rhetorical agency hashtags have rather than focusing on what people do with hashtags. Starting with socio-political hashtags, the project explores how #MeToo functions to create community through its style and its timing. Though the tag functions to create community, it also functions to create exclusion. Next, the project explores seasonal hashtags and their relationship to chrόnos, or time as an element of movement, and its relationship to ritual. Also related to chrόnos, daily hashtags are explored as related to memory. Finally, non-trending hashtags, though difficult to find, are identified as an important rhetorical tool that offers parody, context-creation, and style-marking as three key rhetorical functions. Taken together, these four genres of hashtags offer and expanded vision of the hashtag as a rhetorical tool, nuancing how digital rhetoricians study and understand hashtags as communicative features of social media.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Reinwald, Jennifer Jeanjjr86@pitt.edujjr86
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMalin, Brenton J.bmalin@pitt.edubmalin
Committee MemberOlson, Lester C.olson@pitt.eduolson
Committee MemberZboray, Ronaldzboray@pitt.eduzboray
Committee MemberHartelius,
Committee MemberPfister,
Date: 5 August 2021
Defense Date: 27 April 2021
Approval Date: 8 October 2021
Submission Date: 5 August 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 175
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Communication: Rhetoric and Communication
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: hashtags, digital rhetoric, digital media
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2021 19:17
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2021 19:17


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