The main focus of the reading “Emerging Personal Media Genres” by Marika Lüders, Lin Prøitz, and Terje Rasmussen is to illustrate how genres should be understood and applied in terms of modern day social media, particularly with the recent rise in blogs and selfies (947). Genres are important to understand because they provide insight as to what to expect from the media, while also giving a general framework for analyzing said genre and media.
Genres are “an interdisciplinary concept with analytical potential as it connects texts and social organization. It helps to clarify relationships between texts and media, as well as between texts and society” (948). This means that understanding how they function in relation to the writers and the readers is especially important because that essentially explains how and why that particular genre operates and succeeds in the way that it does. Take selfies for example. The person posting the picture and corresponding text has a specific idea or message in mind when posting the picture. Those on the receiving end may take away the intended message, or may form their own opinion of the post. Connecting these two mindsets and determining how they work together to form this emerging genre in social media can help us to better understand why people post the things that they do and why people react to these posts the way that they do. This is known as expectations and conventions (953), and it is a key element of understanding this genre.
Another key element of this genre is time. When factored in with expectations and conventions, this is another component within this genre that helps to explain why people act and react in the ways that they do (954). With media such as blogs and text messages, time is very important due to nature of material. Online journals and blogs, for example, might document the author’s daily activities or ideas one day at a time. Text messages, on the other hand, are meant to be quick and easily responded to. This draws back to the idea of time working in tandem with expectations and conventions to set the framework for this genre.
So is the desire for communication what drives this genre? Or is it the user’s desire to create an image or social presence for him or herself? I personally think that it is a combination of both. When I post on social media, for example, it is because I have something that I want to share. But there are times that I will stop myself from posting things because I wonder if those viewing it will have a negative response. This stifles communication and goes to show that I have a certain idea of what I want my social media presence to be. Similarly, there are times that I alter things that I want to post in an attempt to somehow change my initial message or how I want it to be received. There are also times that I will think of something that I want to say, but decide to wait until a better or more appropriate time to say it. Again, these traits support my thought that both communication and the user’s personal social media presence image are important in forming and explaining genre.