This week, Xinhua News had only positive news for China, as always, but also a lot of content related to Lunar New Year celebrations and problems in foreign countries other than China. Japan-America Society of Washington DC focused mainly on promoting events that they were hosting. The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in USA only shared three posts this week, and only one of those posts were in English. Two were about Korean foreign policies, and one was about an opportunity for students to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
In the spirit of Chinese celebrations, Xinhua News had a post about spring pancakes, a dish that the Chinese eat in celebration of the commencement of spring. It was a short and easy recipe on how to make spring pancakes. The purpose of this post was to educate their audience on a specific aspect of Chinese tradition and culture, but also to showcase it and even encourage others to experience it through an approachable method. The caption introduces the recipe in “3 steps,” implying that the recipe is short and sweet, and the dish is not that hard to recreate. This calculated length appeals to the modern viewer who wants to save time and also to the people who are interested in traditional Chinese cuisine, but are intimidated by its foreign nature and therefore do not try to experience it firsthand. The images in the post include English instructions at the top in case the pictures are not sufficiently explanatory, which is another tactic to try and engage the audience, by emphasizing the simplicity of cooking this dish and making it easy for foreigners to try out the recipe. It also targets people who are interested in Chinese culture but do not know how to partake in it because they are foreigners. Xinhua News seems to be projecting Chinese culture as something approachable to the non-Chinese as well.
This post also portrays all three rhetorical appeals. The caption reads, “Eat spring pancakes to embrace the spring!” which appeals to the pathos by inciting positive emotions and feelings of celebration for a fresh start to a new season. The refreshing and uplifting tone also emphasizes the excitement of a commencement. The post description also explains why this day in particular is a celebration- because “today is Lichun, the 1st solar term that marks the beginning of spring.” By introducing factual information, the post shows a logos appeal. Furthermore, the post is about the step-by-step recipe to make spring pancakes, so that is another appeal to logos. The images included in the post show the homemade process of making these pancakes; in particular, the second picture depicts a pair of hands of a Chinese lady actually frying the pancake. These aspects emphasize a personal touch to this dish, appealing to the intrinsic ethos because it shows the viewer that it is authentic Chinese cuisine, since an actual Chinese person is cooking it.
The Japan-America Society of Washington DC (JASWDC) had many posts that advertised their events this week. For one of the events, setsubun happy hour, JASWDC took a humorous approach to demand a call to action for their audience. The post starts off with a reference/fact about modern Japanese culture- more specifically, something that is “popular with Japanese youth.” It introduces the phrase “oni-oko pun pun maru” which refers to “a situation where a person gradually becomes annoyed, then angry, then so angry they EXPLODE!” By beginning the post with a fun tidbit on modern Japanese culture, JASWDC attempts to catch their viewers’ attention and also target the younger portion of their audience by emphasizing how young people in Japan use this phrase as well. They are also targeting those who may be studying the Japanese language because they include English romanizations on how to pronounce the saying, as well as writing the phrase in actual Japanese. Furthermore, people who are learning Japanese probably want to know the slang/common lingo, thus they will be more interested in this type of post. The tone here is noteworthy; they use all caps and exclamation points, which adds a stimulating and exciting aspect to the caption, and also a sense of lightheartedness and humor. JASWDC is clearly appealing to pathos in this aspect. The humorous aspect appears again when they ask, “Worried your friends might become oni-oko pun pun maru when they realize you didn’t plan anything for Friday night like you were supposed to?” and tie in the phrase to the real purpose of the post, which is to convince viewers to attend their happy hour event. By utilizing a relatable and common example such as having no Friday night plans, JASWDC attempts to get viewers to relate to this post and ultimately buy tickets. Here is another appeal to pathos because they try to relate to the viewer and include humor. The caption also mentions that there will be light appetizers, drinks, and a raffle. This post also clearly contains a call to action, because they urge viewers to act quickly and buy tickets because there are only “2 days left” until this event. In the end, a link is included and the tone becomes serious, which contrasts the overall lighthearted tone for the majority of the post. They write, “Registration is required. Go to www.jaswdc.org to register.” The sentences are short and concise, indicating a strong call to action.
There were many rhetorical appeals seen in this post. As mentioned earlier, the pathos appeal was strong through the use of humor, relatable examples, and the emphasis on how fun the event will be with food, drinks, and games. There is an evident logos as well, because JASWDC includes ticket price, a description of the event, and also the Japanese fact in the beginning. They write that “JASWDC is here to help” with the lack of Friday night plans, which is an appeal to ethos because they are insinuating that they are a credible source for quality, Japan-related events, and also a reliable organization that reaches out to their audience and gets them to engage in fun activities. Furthermore, in the link, there is a picture that seems to be a screencap from a Japanese TV show. The show has a caption that includes the saying mentioned in the post. This image is another appeal to extrinsic ethos because it proves that the phrase is actually used among the Japanese and in their modern culture.
Unfortunately for the Korean-American Embassy, their social media use was again the worst out of the three. Their only English (shared) post was about an opportunity for GW students to volunteer for the 2018 Winter Olympics that will be held in Korea. As always, there was no additional caption written by the page; only links were provided, which takes the audience to an article by GW Today that goes in depth about the opportunity. The included link showcases a call to action from the Embassy, which is to read more about the opportunity and eventually apply to volunteer for the Olympics. The original post, however, includes a detailed caption that highlights the most important aspects of the article, such as the date of the announcement, January 24th, and how this opportunity came to be, which was through an agreement signed by GWU President Steven Knapp and president of the organizing committee for the 2018 Olympics, Hee-Beom Lee. The purpose of sharing this post is to notify possible GW students that may be on the page, specifically Korean international students that are currently attending, and also to remind other viewers that the 2018 Olympics is coming up, since it will be held in Korea. Even from analyzing the purpose, it is evident that this page does not have a specific target audience, but is trying to appeal to a vast, vague audience of Koreans living in America and the DMV area. I believe that in order to have an effective social media platform, the page administrators need to narrow in on their target audiences and cater their content for a more specific group of people, which will allow them to focus their efforts and time and consequently become more efficient in “selling.”
In the original post, there was an evident appeal to logos because the caption included factual information and referenced relevant information in regards to the event. The extrinsic ethos appeal was the George Washington University itself, as the news source was GW Today and the GW University President was one of the signing parties of the agreement. There was also the credibility from the actual president of the organizing committee for the 2018 Olympics, which is a significant position. The Korean Management Institute was another ethos appeal, because they hosted the summit in which the agreement to have opportunities for GW students took place. Intrinsic ethos was also appealed through the professional and serious tone and language of the article and the caption of the original post. I also recognized an appeal to pathos because the caption reads, “GW students will have the opportunity to ensure the behind-the-scenes of the games run smoothly and will assist in various capacities,” which appeals to emotions of pride and excitement that attract prospective volunteers.
Personally, this post was the most interesting out of all of the posts I’ve seen on their page. While the biggest reason for my interest is probably because I am a GW student, perhaps the content is more interesting and attention grabbing due to its relevance to a worldwide and well-known event, the Olympics, and the fact that there are great opportunities like this one that are being offered to people my age.