Navigating Genres

Genres are something that mostly everyone has heard of, whether it be genres of books, movies, music, etc. Personally, when I hear the word genre I typically think of books. Book genres consist of romance, horror, fiction, non-fiction, etc. However, after reading Kerry Dirk’s chapter “Navigating Genres”, within the essay Writing SpacesI have realized there are so many other genres beyond books.

Dirk states, “In other words, knowing what a genre is used for can help people to accomplish goals, whether that goal be getting a job by knowing how to write a stellar resume, winning a person’s heart by writing a romantic love letter, or getting into college by writing an effective personal statement.”

Multiple Genres

Digital genres are something that I have not really thought about before reading Dirk’s piece. Within this essay, she discusses genres as a way of communicating with others, specifically through music. This made me think of ways that I communicate in digital genres. In today’s society I would argue that most individuals use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to communicate with others. People who use these sites post things to talk to their audience or get a reaction out of them.

Dirk states, “By this point you might realize that  you have been participating in many different genres– whether you are telling a joke, writing an email, or uploading a witty status of Facebook. Because you know how these genres function as social actions, you can quite accurately predict how they function rhetorically; your joke should generate a laugh, your email should elicit a response, and your updated Facebook status should generate comments from your online friends.”

For me, the most common use of social media is Instagram. Although Instagram itself is not considered a digital genre, it has a digital genre within it. For example, the way one uses Instagram to communicate to their audience is solely through posting pictures. Typically, one would post a picture then

Hashtags on Instagram

type a short caption underneath of it with the optional use of hashtags. Because this site is only used for pictures with captions, it creates its own digital genre that is different than other sites. Twitter, for instance, creates another digital genre within its site because when communicating with others, one is limited to how long their post is. Twitter only allows so many characters written per post for the reason to keep it short and to the point, which then generates another digital genre.



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