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Jackson Reed Truslow

Professor R. Efstathion
ENC 2135
September 7th 2015
Rhetorical Analysis
For my text I chose a video from YouTube titled, Can we Auto-Correct Humanity? The
video, a 3:27 spoken word poem by a speaker known as Prince Ea, analyzes how we as a society
and as a generation have become completely influenced by social media. This video was
developed in September of 2014, a point when technological innovation and social media was
growing at an advanced rate. In our modern society, there is an inverse relationship between
personal interaction and technological innovation. This inverse relationship can be understood to
be the result of a social disconnect that is currently taking place within our society. This video
points out this disconnect, and how a rise in technology, results in less face to face interactions,
and debilitates many peoples abilities to communicate in person.
The speaker, Richard Williams a.k.a. Prince Ea, is an African American male. He is in his
mid-20s and is famous for his use of spoken word poetry. He is famous via YouTube, and uses
this advantage in order to communicate his opinions and messages. Originally from St. Louis,
Missouri, he began his career in 2005, and is still a highly respected activist and social speaker.
Prince Eas audience for this text is somewhat broad. Prince Ea intended his audience to be all of
our society, because he believes that our society is becoming addicted to technology, even calling
the modern generation a generation of media overstimulation. At the beginning he states that
the average person will spend 4 years looking at their cell phones. This statistic immediately
draws the attention of the audience. This video delivers a clear message that we must disconnect
from our technology, and strive to be more connected with one another in society. At one point
saying no longer do I want to spoil a precious moment by recording it with a phone, Prince Ea
is clearly speaking to the audience, who he believes to be driven by cell phones, in a generation

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Jackson Reed Truslow


Professor R. Efstathion
ENC 2135
September 7th 2015
where cell phone use is consistently on the rise. The cultural context of this video pertains to our
modern society. Prince Ea is able to relate to our technological culture, because he is a member
of the generation known as the millennial generation. This personal relation to our
society/generation allows Prince Ea insight as an author, and the ability to develop a more
personal message. At one point, even claiming that it is hard to have a conversation without
abbreviation, which is a reference to modern day text and instant messaging lingo, and hereby
reflects his perspective of our culture as being media-driven. This quote also develops Eas claim
that our society is becoming negatively affected by technology, and should partake in more
personal interactions, rather than communicating via text. The millennial generation is often
known for having a tendency towards instant messaging, multitasking, and use of the internet on
a daily basis. The author is trying to convey the message that our society is dictated by
technology and social media, and he is doing so effectively by balancing fact with opinion and
thoroughly developing his claim against technology. Prince Eas purpose in creating this
message, is convincing the audience that we are living in an anti-social world, where power is
held by our electronics. Ea is hereby attempting to provoke people to understand that they are
controlled by social media. The time period of Eas message is current, and Ea is writing in
response to his reaction of technologys power. Also, the text was written in America, which
draws attention to the fact that America is largely consumed by products and is somewhat
controlled by technological products. Prince Ea is addressing the problem of our societal flaws,
due to the fact that we are distracted, and that as we attempt to connect through the internet, we
are disconnecting socially. Ea was prompted to create this message because, as he claims, though
technology claims to connect us, the connection has gotten no better. This message is vital for

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Jackson Reed Truslow


Professor R. Efstathion
ENC 2135
September 7th 2015
our society, but it is constrained by the fact that it is on YouTube. Much of Eas intended
audience may not receive this message, as he used a social networking source in order to
transmit his text. Much of the millennial generation will hear this message, yet constraints such
as the portion of society that does not use YouTube will be restricted from obtaining this
message. Other constraints include the fact that many people may not see this video, because
Prince Ea is relying on it going viral and reaching a large portion of the millennial generation.
The genre of this text is a video. This text takes on somewhat of a dramatic, yet
suspenseful tone. However, had the text been written in another genre form, such as comedy, the
message delivered and intended audience would have been altered, and the overall purpose of
Prince Eas text would be irrelevant. The current form of the text is poetic, however in the format
of a play, the message would have been longer, and therefore the rhetorical situation would have
had a separate audience and culture, though the purpose would more than likely remain
unchanged. As a novel, the text would have many more constraints, due to the fact that that the
intended audience, the millennial generation, would have less access, because less people in our
modern society read novels. The genre chosen was appropriate for the purpose of the text,
because the dramatic/suspenseful tone holds the audiences attention, and reaches the intended
audience, which is mainly composed of users of social media.
Prince Ea creates a sense of credibility by including himself as a part of the audience he
is addressing. In one scene in the text, the author claims that he reached out to a friend for a face
to face interaction, and in return the friend offered to skype him. This ethical appeal to the
audience reveals that the author suffers from the flaws of our social disconnect as well. By
creating a sense of alikeness and by relating to his intended audience, Prince Ea is able to

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Jackson Reed Truslow


Professor R. Efstathion
ENC 2135
September 7th 2015
develop a sense of credibility. He also does this by stating that in order to overcome the power of
technology in our society, we must do it ourselves, take control or be controlled. By using the
term we, Prince Ea is once again relating to the intended audience. The purpose of creating this
sense of credibility is to not only draw the audiences attention, but to maintain the audiences
attention as well.
By stating that technology has made us more separate and selfish than ever, the author
is creating a sense of emotional appeal, and is claiming that our generation is debilitated by its
addiction to technology. This use of ethos engages the audiences emotions by dramatically
expressing his opinion. He also shows multiple scenes with couples. In one of these scenes, a
man is holding a woman, while looking at and being distracted by his cell phone. At this point,
Prince Ea is referring to our society as selfish and separate, in order to make an emotional
appeal that many people can relate to. This appeal is that we are so captivated by our technology,
that we seem to lack the ability to connect one-on-one.
Prince Ea also states that studies show that the average persons attention span is one
second less than a goldfish, which is a use of logical appeal, and persuades the audience that
technology in our society is a very relevant danger. To support his logical appeal, he makes the
claim that an average smartphone user will spend 4 years looking at their phone. The purpose
for this opening statement is to draw in the intended audiences attention, while providing a fact
that may seem to be unbelievable. He then goes on to develop a claim against technologys
control over humanity, which supports the logical appeal of his text.
The message by Prince Ea succeeds in fulfilling his intended purpose, because it has
reached over 13 million viewers on social media, and allows the audience to become more aware

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Jackson Reed Truslow


Professor R. Efstathion
ENC 2135
September 7th 2015
of the social disconnect taking place. This message also fulfills its purpose of creating a sense of
awareness for the intended audience, by providing ethical, emotional, and logical appeals in
order to support his claim that our societys modern generation is controlled by technology.
Though we may believe rises in technology further our interpersonal development as a society,
this is not the case, and Prince Ea draws attention to this fact. Though technology, and social
media especially, has made the world seem smaller and has connected may of us, the truth is that
technology draws us apart. As our use of modern communication, such as text, Skype, and
FaceTime grows, our ability to socialize in person becomes diminished. The rhetorical appeals,
along with the rhetorical situation, appropriately addresses the issue of technologys domination
in our society. The content of this text relates to the dramatic genre, as well as the form, because
they correspond with a dramatic tone, and appeal to the audience by utilizing proper rhetoric and
developing the message of the speaker. This artifact can also be seen as ironic, because of the
fact that even though the message speaks against addiction to technology and excessive use of
social media, the source which is used to convey the message is a popular social media site,
known as YouTube. This example of contradiction, is necessary though, in order for Prince Ea to
reach his intended audience.
Works Cited:
Ea, Prince. "Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?" YouTube. YouTube, 29 Sept. 2014. Web. 07 Sept.
2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRl8EIhrQjQ&noredirect=1

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