About

Portrait of Alex Reid

For more than 20 years, I have studied digital rhetorical-communication practices. Before joining the department of Media Study at the University at Buffalo in 2020, I was a faculty member in UB’s English department where I served as director of composition and teaching fellows, overseeing the university writing program and mentoring graduate teaching assistants. 

In my time at UB, I’ve taught courses on social media, media infrastructure, video games, media theory, professional-technical communication, and digital pedagogy. Currently I am the director for UB’s Writing Across the Curriculum program and was appointed as an Open SUNY Online Ambassador for UB in 2020 in recognition for my work in online teaching. 

My work employs posthuman and new materialist approaches to study how human capacities for rhetoric/communication arise through relations among our bodies, nonhumans, and our environment in processes that are interdependent but not deterministic. For example, in “Speech Synthesis and Negotiation,” I investigate digital assistants (e.g., Siri) as they address rhetorical and aesthetic challenges similar to those of human speakers through processes of speech synthesis and negotiation. “Composing with Deliberate Speed” studies algorithms as they participate in our decision-making through a process he terms distributed deliberation. While such algorithms are necessary for humans to access information across networks, they introduce a range of ethical and political challenges as we have seen with the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories.

Photo of iPhone with Siri activated
from “Speech Synthesis and Negotiation: AI’s Nonhuman Rhetoric”

My forthcoming book, Rhetorics of the Digital Nonhumanities, expands on this research and develops a new materialist, digital rhetorical method. The book addresses softwarized procedural rhetorics, structures of synthetic attention, integrative assemblages of digital composing, and electrate collective experiments. Rhetorics continues the work of my earlier monograph, The Two Virtuals: New Media and Composition.