Do you get the feeling that Facebook is turning into one big motivational poster? Rhetorical theory offers a reason: Those pictures with words embedded in them count as gestures. When you speak, your gestures emphasize and illustrate words. More importantly, they make a connection between your character and that of the audience.Same thing with inspirational pictures.
Gestures make connections between people. That's why we make "gestures" by giving gifts, and why nations gesture with military training exercises and diplomatic missions.The moral of the story: Before we get too excited about all the changes social media are making to society, look at the rhetorical roots. Despite the Web, we're still not that different from the ancient Greeks.
I'll be experimenting with posters in the weeks to come, and will report back on what I find. One big question: How will Facebook's new design affect the popularity of posters? I mean, all pictures are looking like posters. Will my gestures actually stand out? What do you think?