Genre writing

The question of genre writing for the Web has me stumped–what irony!! I teach genre in literature and ponder with my class questions like, why did this author express these ideas in a poem and not a short story? how does the dramatic genre limit character development? yadayadayada. In composition as well, I encourage students to begin the semester writing a Montaigne-like essay in which they essaient to express ideas, explore, expostulate (you know — get it out there!) without too much attention to formatting. In fact, even when moving on to more structured, formal writing, I hope that genre will be a bit subtle — don’t throw it in my face.

So the question of writing in digital spaces exposes my naivete on the topic. I have noticed that my awareness of social norms and protocols has made me self-conscious about how to begin and end blog posts, for instance. I want to begin, “Dear So and So,” and end with “Best regards” or “See you soon, Dawn.” I looked around and noticed no one else does this (those who I imagine are more savvy than myself!). I am tempted to do this in text messages as well. Silly, silly, I know. From what I have seen so far, blogging involves quick, clear expression, some witticism, and first and foremost, having something to say that is worth reading. I have no idea why anyone other than my mother would want to read my ramblings if they were not sharing rare, unique, informed thoughts. Pressure.

After posting last night about becoming technologically savvy as an instructor, I realized that I want to focus at least as much attention to how I communicate as a professional online. In Dr. Holm’s class last week we talked about the importance of joining associations in our fields and getting involved in online discussions (not to mention conferences and publishing, but that, too, and obviously, is a whole different blog post!) I will need to stalk some blogs of people I admire–scholars, that is–and see how they present themselves in these online situations. Blog, Wiki, Website. In Dr. Sherwood’s class, we are using our blogs as a way of sharing thoughts–like a journal–I wonder, then, how many blogs I will eventually need? For each I would need a different persona: Instructor, Colleague, Friend. We do this every day in one-on-one communication and the truth of the matter is we never want to present ourselves in a way that does not fit the situation.

Signing off now!

1 thought on “Genre writing

  1. Your post reminded me of the way that journalists today are expected to maintain a digital presence in addition to their many other existing responsibilities. And this new “duty” often comes without any accompanying increase in pay or decrease in other existing work. In a similar way, academics are now expected to demonstrate technological prowess in establishing and sustaining a digital space that testifies in yet another public fashion to their competence. I don’t mean to sound too sour, and I see the benefits in learning to claim your digital domain, so to speak, but it does add to the ever-increasing list of areas in which expertise has now become an expectation rather than perk.

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