This week was not an especially active one. While Xinhua News kept up its diligent posting, mainly covering events related to the recent snowstorm and the last celebrations of the Chinese New Year, the Japan-America Society of Washington (JASWDC) only had 3 tweets: one retweet and the other two links to outside sources, so not much original content could be seen. As always, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in USA only had 3 posts, all shared, with only one of them including an English caption. One noteworthy pattern that was seen in Xinhua News was that they seemed to be attempting to balance out their content; they would post a lot of Chinese news, then post consecutive articles regarding international affairs. This was interesting to see because Xinhua News was clearly trying to maintain the image of a international news source, even though they are indirectly controlled by the Chinese government.
This week, JASWDC did not post a lot, but their tweets focused on Japanese culture. One tweet in particular introduced Tohoku’s specialty foods and included a link to a CNN article titled, “8 Japanese dishes you may not have heard of.” The purpose of this post was to inform the audience about Japanese cuisine that is not well-known, which is made evident by JASWDC’s caption which reads, “We all know sushi and ramen, but have you ever seen Tohoku’s specialty foods?” This tweet first grabs the attention of the viewer with the mention of sushi and ramen, which are very familiar words to foreigners and even someone with little knowledge of Japanese culture, as they are iconic aspects of Japan. The language and tone of the tweet further insinuates that the obscurity of these speciality foods makes them more special and cool; the tone of “We all know sushi and ramen” seems to be dismissing the mainstream sushi and ramen, which is similar to the “hipster” appeal- the preference of more obscure things to the mainstream- that is popular in our culture today. Thus, a possible intended audience can be those who think of themselves as “hipster,” which makes sense because usually those people like to try new things and be exposed to new cultures, in this case Japanese culture. Furthermore, the tweet is asking a question to the viewer, which instigates a curiosity that will make them click on the link provided. Therefore, there is a call to action, which is to click on the link and read the article by CNN. Additionally, the title of the article itself sparks curiosity because it describes how the viewer “may not have heard of” these dishes, and even challenges the audience, perhaps to someone who may think they are well-informed on Japanese cuisine and are confident in their knowledge. This particular language is another method of the call to action, getting people to read the article. The thumbnail is an aesthetically-pleasing picture of Japanese food, assumedly one of the specialty dishes mentioned in the article. At first glance, one cannot tell what kind of food the picture is portraying, which shows that it is not common like sushi and ramen. The picture can be another way to get the viewers curious and interested in reading further. The intended audience of this tweet is those interested in Japanese culture, from young adults and older. This age range was inferred because while the tone of the tweet is casual, the language and word choice of the article implies that teens and younger children would be less attracted because it would be harder for them to read and comprehend. It doesn’t seem like JASWDC was targeting those who are interested in actually cooking Japanese dishes, because the article does not give a detailed recipe on how to cook the speciality dishes. This post is definitely more for people who enjoy dining out and eating Japanese food.
The rhetorical appeals of JASWDC’s tweet includes intrinsic ethos that comes from the CNN article which includes pictures of each dish, a detailed description about what it is made of, and even short background information on the dish. There is also extrinsic ethos because the source is CNN, and also in the article where Japanese food experts are mentioned and quoted. The educational background information about the dishes also appeals to logos. The aesthetic food pictures appeal to pathos because it incites feelings of hunger and happiness, and the tone of the tweet also appeals to pathos because it incites curiosity in the viewer.
Xinhua News had a tweet about US-China relations, which included a link to an article on their official website. The purpose of this tweet was to get viewers to read the article, and also to inform the audience about how the US-China relations is expected to play out in the future and assure readers that it will be maintained despite recent events and worries. The tweet reads, “Constructive US-China relations to stay strong in long run, experts say” which is basically the summary of the article and the main message that Xinhua News is conveying. The article starts off by stating that “A constructive U.S.-China relation will stay strong and thrive in a long term even though there have been many talks of uncertainties under the presidency of Donald Trump in relationship between the world’s two largest economies, U.S. experts say,” which emphasizes the importance of this specific relationship, as they are the “world’s two largest economies,” and also assures readers by using US experts as the source of this statement, adding credibility. The rest of the article portrays the economic and political benefits China provides to the US and makes it clear that they believe endangering relations with China is not a good idea. Xinhua News seems to be warning foreign and American readers that China is invaluable to the US and therefore it is in the best interest of the US to maintain a cooperative relationship with China. Additionally, the article also mentions the One-China policy and portrays evident disapproval in what Trump has done with Taiwan. The disapproval is not surprising, considering the fact that Xinhua News is controlled by the national government. The article ends with statistics on international students from both countries, as well as on visitors from China to America- these are included to provide a hopeful conclusion to readers about the future of US-China ties. The intended audience is American readers who are concerned with the future of this relationship because the arguments outlined in the article are biased towards China, and they are clearly trying to “sell” their nationalistic viewpoint on this issue. This article is also targeting people, not necessarily American or Chinese, who are informed on this topic because the reader needs to have some prior knowledge in current international affairs and US-China politics to comprehend the article. It is definitely not geared towards those in Xinhua’s audience who are interested in Chinese culture, but more for those following Chinese politics because the article is relatively lengthy, which would be a boring read for someone not interested in this topic. The main image of the article, which is also the thumbnail of the tweet, shows an American flag and Chinese flag flown together at the New York Stock Exchange, for a special ceremony in 2009. This picture emphasizes the history of cooperation and friendship that the two countries have, which supports the message of the article.
The image of the two flags appeals to pathos because it creates a feeling of pride for Chinese viewers to see their flag represented in an important American city, New York, and specifically at the NYSE. It also incites respect for and positive feelings about the friendship of the two countries. Intrinsic ethos is visible throughout the article, whether it is through the professional and informative tone or the lingo and historical references utilized. There are many quotes from people in important/high positions, such as a Harvard professor and the former US Secretary of State, which adds credibility to the article and appeals to extrinsic ethos. The article itself is very educational and contains factual information that is structured in an organized manner, which appeals to logos.
The South Korean Embassy came in last with their social media performance, as they only had one post that was in English. The post contains a list of information about certain services that are offered by the Embassy, such as renewing passports. The purpose of the post was to inform the audience about the services being offered at an assumedly new location in Virginia. It is a shared post that was in both Korean and English, and it is very detailed, including the costs of the services and contact information. The structure of the post is helpful because it is clear and easy to read and comprehend. Unlike previous posts, the English portion of the post is accessible on the page without having to click on the original post; when one clicks on “See more,” the English can be seen. The intended audience of this post is specifically Korean citizens who need to request/renew passports, Korean international students who need to register their status, etc.- basically, any Korean citizen that need the usual services that an embassy provides. Since both languages are included, the post is targeting not just someone who has recently moved to the US, but to Korean citizens who has lived here for a long period of time.
This post appeals to logos because of all the factual information that is given. Furthermore, there is an intrinsic ethos appeal in the tone, language, and structure of the post because it is professional. Extrinsic ethos is in the embassy itself, because it is an official organization that has the authority and capability to offer these important services.
This post is evidently not targeted towards foreigners, and definitely not “selling” Korea like Xinhua News and JASWDC try to do with their social media. While the post could be seen as an appeal that the embassy is reliable and accessible, it is not a strong method of appealing the organization. It would be more efficient if they prioritize the foreign market and explore beyond their typical Korean audience.