The in-class discussion was not evaluated, though it may require some careful moderating.
Students will likely have a lot of fun with the exercise, but both times I've implemented the plan, I have had to work to keep the conversation from devolving into making vun of the profile in question.
Regardless of specific rhetorical aim (a casual hook up, a future spouse, or something in between), at heart, each of these texts is saying to readers, “this is who I am, accept me.” So they seemed like a great source text to get my students really thinking about how and why they evaluate people: what sort of snap judgements they make, how they read into things without even realizing it.
And it also served as an excellent talking point about the public nature of the internet - how just because we don’t anticipate particular audiences doesn’t mean our intended audience will be the only readers.
Should you seek out sample profiles to excerpt, here are my suggestions: There is, perhaps, no clearer instance of an argument based on character than online dating profiles.
In groups of three, you'll be assigned to a particular bachelor or bachelorette below.
To encourage students to reflect on their own online identities, as well as the ways in which they shift their self-presentations based on their perceptions of audience and genre.
Perhaps more so than any other piece of writing, and even more so than my students' facebook pages, the self-summaries presented in online dating profiles are fundamentally arguments of ethos.
Students analyze portions of profiles excerpted from the free online dating site, Ok Cupid, in order to talk about ethos, values, ideology and goodwill.
The exercise, in turn, encourages students to consider their own online presences, their values, and the ways in which rhetoric has “real world” applications.