Jennifer Reinwald

Jennifer J. Reinwald, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Affiliated Programs


  • Phd, Communication (2021)
    University of Pittsburgh (PA)
  • MA, Media Studies (2014)
    University of Texas at Austin (TX)
  • BA, Communication Arts (2011)
    Allegheny College (PA)

About Me

As an educator, I strive to maintain an environment in which questions and questioning thrive. From questioning, students strengthen their critical thinking abilities. As a social media researcher, I am acutely aware of the vast amount of information available. I see it as my job to prepare students to use their resources effectively in a way that encourages thoughtful engagement with messages they encounter daily. 

In my courses, I challenge students to tackle complex topics thoughtfully and confidently through both written and verbal presentation techniques. I also strive to make practical connections between the content and the student. Theory should not be an intangible talking point. Rather, theory needs to be grounded in practical examples to reinforce its importance to daily communication and decoding of messages. 

Research Interests

I am primarily interested in digital rhetoric and rhetorical theories, but I approach my research from an interdisciplinary perspective drawing from media studies, media ecology, information and data science, library and archival sciences, and cultural studies.  

My dissertation examines hashtags on Twitter and what their role is as a rhetorical tool beyond linking or connecting. Importantly, I am interested in mundane social media, or social media that serves a purpose that may seem frivolous or unimportant at first glance. Rather than focusing primarily on well-known hashtags or hashtags that serve a social justice function, I'm interested in hashtags that do not trend as rhetorical devises and hashtags that are used for individualized pleasure. I am also interested in how algorithms and digital infrastructure impact what role hashtags can play as rhetorical tools given recent inquiries into the biases present in computer coding.

Separate from hashtags, I am also interested in exploring how social media perpetuates neoliberal, consumerist cooptation of other cultures under the guise of feminist self-care. Specifically, I'm interested in hygge, or the Danish ethic of coziness and well-being, that has transformed into an Instagram phenomenon based in the consumption of "comfort items." I'm interested in the tension between social media as well-being promoter and social media as well-being destroyer.


Reinwald, J. (2017) "“Hashtags and Attention through the Tetrad: The Rhetorical Circulation of #ALSIceBucketChallenge,” Theorizing Digital Rhetoric, Edited by Aaron Hess and Amber Davisson, Routledge, 184-195.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

National Communication Association, Rhetoric Society of America


In the Media