My understanding of genre changed drastically since beginning this class. Before, I saw genre as a category under which different types of communication can be placed in order to help define them. I believed genre was nothing more than a set of guidelines that creators used to determine where their work would be most useful or appropriate. I was surprised to learn, as stated in What is a Blog? What is a Wiki?, that genres are also defined by “the kinds of uses to which they are put, and the ways these uses construct social indentities and communities” (Meyers 1). I was interested to learn, as Vivian has also stated, that genres often evolve out of social need.
In general, my understanding of genre has become both clearer and more cloudy. The more I learn about genre, the more complicated it becomes. However, I feel as though I’m more in touch with the term and all of the weight it holds in the digital publishing realm. Now, I would define genre as types of texts used for purposes of communication. Texts are classified into a specific genre through many factors including form, content, rhetorical situation, and purpose. One of the things that surprised me most about genre is how important time period and cultural context are in defining and altering genres. In Blogging As Social Action, the term ancestral genre appears. Ancestral genre was something I had never heard about before, but now I understand that its role in “constraining the perception and definition of the situation and its decorum for both the rhetor and the audience” is important to understanding a genre’s rhetorical situation (Miller and Shepherd 9). I think for digital genres it is even more important to look at ancestral genres because so many digital genres draw on pieces of older genres, and many digital genres have non-digital counterparts. For example, in our readings, a blog is defined as a genre that comes from many non-digital genres including logs and diary entries.
I never thought about how time period and resources could affect genre, and its definitely something I want to look at when doing research for my wiki. For project one, I will be exploring book trailers as a digital genre. I’m interested in this genre because I find it really cool that book trailers use digital media as propaganda for texts that can be both digital and print, and I’m interested in learning how those digital and non-digital texts interact in this particular genre.
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