Genre! So much more than books!

This picture shows a bunch of squares that represent genres and sub-genres of topics encompassed in "nonfiction"

I have to agree with many of my colleagues in saying that I had little understanding of genre in its complexity before the most common readings given for this class.  My understanding consisted mainly of entertainment based genres in literature, music, and cinema with little understanding of its usefulness or existence in other fields such as marketing, academia, and art.  Kerry Dirk defines genre in her article “Navigating Genres” by saying, “something new happens that requires a response, [and someone creates that response]. Then when that situation happens again, another person uses the first response as a basis for the second, and eventually everyone who encounters this situation is basing his/her response on the previous ones”.  This action of responding from one thing to the next is rhetoric and these rhetorics can be put together to make a genre based on shared characteristics.  Any group of things that are alike in some way and respond to something can be a genre, therefore, making essays, academic papers, and even memes genres rather than genre being limited to horror or science fiction.

Before reading “Blogging as Social Action” I didn’t see blogs as a genre, in fact, I think it is safe to say I had never thought about blogs in any depth before that article was assigned, but immediately starting the reading I was met with “the weblog phenomenon raises a number of rhetorical issues, and for us the incidents summarized above point to one of the more intriguing of these — the peculiar intersection of the public and private that weblogs seem to invite” truly, a nominee for 2014’s most interesting rhetoric of the year, but all jokes aside it taught me that simple things like blogs are rhetorical and are through their rhetoric a genre.

As I have read over these articles I am incredibly interested in why we create genres.  Human beings are curious creatures and our curiosity leads us on a journey to understand the world around us.  While genrefication can lead to a loss of complexity, it also allows us to look at the world in a way that makes sense and is maneuverable, a simplification in order to make complexity possible in a way.  I have no research to back up what this paragraph says, but it sure does feel right, and I felt like sharing today, so this is what you get.

I also wanted to give props to Vicky Chatley for her discussion of “Wattpad and similar collaborative story-writing apps” as a genre, considering I used Wattpad for many years of my life without thinking of it as a genre of any kind; or knowing that there were other kinds of collaborative story-writing apps.  I myself have been watching Good Mythical Morning for many years and have also watched similar online morning shows in the past, so digital morning shows is the genre I have been looking at doing for my wiki entry.


Works Cited:

Dirk, Kerry. Navigating Genre.–navigating-genres.pdf.

Miller, Carolyn R, and Dawn Shepherd. Blogging as a Social Action: A Genre Analysis of the Weblog. 7 Aug. 2014.