3. Wiki as a genre

Wikipedia Logo

Wikipedia Logo

Wikipedia has become staple in everyday looking-up of random knowledge that you just don’t remember. It’s an Internet encyclopedia that almost everyone has access to. As Vivian mentions in her blog post, the wiki genre came to be because people wanted a genre that was more collaborative and dynamic than passive.

As a genre, I think wikis and Wikipedia are a great example of convergence between an encyclopedia and the Internet to form something that was a “need” of the public – instant information at their fingertips. As Meyers talks about in her chapter titled “2 Genre: What is a blog? What is a wiki?”, wikis, like blogs, are based on HTML coding, but there is much more opportunity for many people to participate in the actual creation of each page. On each Wikipedia page, for example, there is an “edit this page” button where users have the opportunity to change the page, and even see previous changes that have been made to the page by other users (20). This allows for a more interactive experience on the site. Wikis, like Susqupub, allow for students to become publishers of content that they write for classes with Dr. Lang,  which makes students participate as writers, publishers, and readers/viewers.

In analyzing wikis as a genre, I have come to the conclusion that they were built with collaboration in mind, and are structured to make that collaboration easy to find and obvious to the readers. Wikis use most of the modes in its design, including the linguistic, visual, and spatial modes. Sometimes the aural and gestural modes are used, depending on what a wiki page is about/catered towards. Wikis have a linear and non-linear set up: linear because if you read a wiki page all the way through, it typically makes sense from one paragraph to the next; non-linear in that you might be able to jump from section to section on the page if there is a linked table of contents. What makes a wiki genre different from that of a blog is the interactivity in the creation of the wiki itself. There can be many contributors, but they can connect all of their work together in a non-linear way that allows readers to jump from one page to the next.

I predict that genres like wiki will help to develop more online and digital genres as it becomes more collaborative and more people understand the nature of the genre to begin with.

 

Word Count: 408

Ball, Cheryl E. et al. Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Mulimodal Projects. 2nd ed., New York, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2018.

Meyers, Greg. “Genre: What is a blog? What is a wiki?” Discourse of Blogs and Wikis, p. 15-27.