Rhetoric Situation of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Social Media and its Impact on Pedagogy

Rhetoric Situation of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Social Media and its Impact on Pedagogy

Muhammad Asif (School of Foreign Languages, Shanghai University, China), Deng Zhiyong (School of Foreign Languages, Shanghai University, China), Mahesh S. Raisinghani (College of Business, Texas Woman's University, USA) and Ahdi Hassan (Plcorpora, Islamabad, Pakistan)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJOPCD.2021070105
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The current study aimed to explore the rhetoric situation of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in social media. In this study, the researcher uses the rhetoric situation theory of Bitzer and Toulmin model of argumentation as a theoretical framework. The secondary data were obtained from social media (i.e., Twitter and Facebook from 15th March 2020 to 31st March 2020). Therefore, all the data were based on the current issue of COVID-19. The qualitative approach is used in this study. The findings revealed rhetoric situation led to the construction of the rhetoric message produced in social media. The rhetoric message was the subject of conversation in social media regarding COVID-19, which is produced intentionally to persuade others. Social media is responsible for the rhetorical situation today. However, rhetoric of the current situation in the pandemic COVID-19 cannot be ignored, the role of rhetorical arguments in the digital era, or better known as the digital rhetoric.
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The novel COVID-19 pandemic has had a deep impact across the world, except the continent of Antartica, the southernmost continent and site of the South Pole, as it is a virtually uninhabited, ice-covered landmass. With the number of people infected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which is rapidly increasing worldwide, public anxieties and worries are elevated in many regions. As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, a wave of fear and worry in the society has arisen. No one wants to get infected with a virus that has a relatively high risk of death (Sahu et al., 2020). Fear and stigma toward the epidemics of COVID-19 may lead to negative consequences of disease control, as prior SARS outbreaks are vivid evidence (Person et al., 2004). Therefore, it is a need to design an effective anti-stigma program that breaks the misperception in COVID-19, increases the public’s knowledge in COVID-19, and spreads encouraging positive and supportive messages. However, it is believed that such a program can be designed with the use of social media, given the high access rate in social media (Tavoschi et al., 2020). Social media through the Internet allows people to communicate without time and space limits, and different platforms of social media (e.g., Facebook, WhatsApp, Line, WeChat, Twitter, Skype) have been well developed. With the correct information and knowledge posted on social media, the fear and stigma are likely to be lowered. However, additional related programs or pedagogical activities on social media are needed to overcome the current fear of COVID-19 globally.

The development of human communications technologies has now penetrated all spheres of life. In the world, the presence of communication technology is also welcomed. The discourse is produced and then disseminated through social media and to the community through a gadget that provides social media applications. It has been observed that from the beginning of this century the current outbreak of COVID-19 is the third attack, history revealed that globally we have encountered highly pathogenic human CoVs twice, i.e., SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, which caused an outbreak originally in China in 2003 and Saudi Arabia in 2012, respectively, and soon spread too many other countries with horrible morbidity and mortality. However, the outbreak of COVID-19 seems to be challenging to cope with just like the previous coronavirus outbreaks in 2003, and 2012, considering the rapid spread via droplets and non-availability of any useful vaccines. Therefore, social media can play a very significant role to persuade people about the infection of COVID-19. The dissemination of information has been detected on social media mostly on Facebook and Twitter.

Aristotle defined rhetoric as any means used for persuasion about a topic. The rhetoric contains three elements, namely: ethos, pathos, and logos. Ethos concerns the credibility of the communicators. The pathos of the ability to stimulate the emotions, and logos interpreted logical evidence that the nature of the message, the message is based on the arguments and evidence, rationalization discourse is used, with the ability to express arguments in favor of becoming a rational proposition. Aristotle believed that ideally, people will be persuaded by the logos, but he acknowledged that most people are more influenced by what we feel and care, rather than what is believed to be factual evidence. In the process, the rhetoric has a clear persuasive function, at the same epistemic function is a way to discover what is known and what is known about the subject. Therefore, the modern definition, rhetoric is a merely deliberate use of language to influence others. Whenever we use language, we are engaged in the act of rhetoric.

Here, the role of rhetoric arguments play the role of social networks. This phenomenon has become a new challenge for an epidemic to pandemic (COVID-19) situation in developing the ethos, logos, and pathos, not just to be liked and chosen by the community, but to raise the level of awareness of the public regarding COVID-19. The following research question is explored in this study:

  • What is the effectiveness of the rhetorical situation of COVID-19 in social media?

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