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Michelle Young

June 5, 2015
WP #1
Whats on Your Mind?
For many centuries, people have recorded their lives and have shared their ideas among
many other people. These forms of communications have never changed. Whether we tend to
communicate verbally or visually through pictures and writing, the one thing that separates the
type of communication is the matter of permanency. In one way, verbal communication can be
recorded, but for the most part, writings are timeless because it has stood against the test of time.
Today, media has made it easier for everyone to share and record their personal thoughts with the
world. To become influential on a social media site, understanding certain conventions for status
updates for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram is crucial. By understanding who the audience is,
what kind of context the social media uses, and by being an active member of their community
can allow the user to gain more popularity on the internet.
In this modern era, we can capture our everyday lives like a diary on the internet. These
journal-like entries that people post on the web is considered a status. On Oxford Dictionaries, a
status is defined as a posting on a social networking website that indicates a users current
situation, state of mind, or opinion about something. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, and
Instagram have helped to preserve our current thoughts into the cyberspace. This genre of
statuses have become a way of life for most people. Knowing how each genre works can only
benefit one by simply applying the common rules for its style of writing. Learning about
genres and how they function is more important than mastering one particular genre; it is this
knowledge that helps us to recognize and to determine appropriate responses to different

situations (Dirk 259). By allowing the users to express themselves freely, this has changed
the way we have kept records of our past.
Facebook is a site where one connects with their friends and family. It is one of the many
ways to keep in touch with people and updating them on how one is doing directly or indirectly.
Facebook posts will notify the users close circle of friends and family and allows them to like,
share, or even comment on the post. When a person likes someone elses posts, the news of
how significant this post is will pop up on the news feeds of friends that the original user do not
have connections with. This action of liking can widely share someones post to float around to
many other people across the globe. The popular the post, the more likely the person will become
famous for what they have shared.
Twitter is a simpler social media, where a user can publicly or in private share their
thoughts with other people. Most use it to update other people on what they are doing or what
they are thinking. If one likes what the other user tweeted, then they may choose to follow the
person. By following the person, this allows the user to receive feeds of anything they have
tweeted. One may also retweet the tweet to share with their followers or even favorite a
tweet to save it under their personal collection of tweets that they like. The more followers and
retweets someone gets, the more available the persons profile will be on the internet.
Instagram is very much like Twitter. The concept is very similar, but this site focuses
more on the beauty of photography. The subject of these photos could be anything the user
desires. It includes features like filters to alter the photo taken to look a certain way and to add an
artistic touch. Even though these two sites offer the same concept, Twitter is more free and
subjective for the user, while Instagram is geared toward a community, where they share and
appreciate photography.

All of these social media sites typically have their own type of context that tend to shape
how the user will express themselves through their posts and have common themes among them.
For example, the user has complete freedom over what they would like to post as long as they do
not abuse the copyright infringement of other peoples works. One can create a status about
what they are currently doing or planning to do and/or their thoughts about music, restaurant, and
even politics. While all of these examples of social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) can
be restricted to close friends and family, some may decide to make some or all of their lives
completely public. If they decided to become public with their lives, then the types of posts
would most likely be significantly different than the posts they would share with their loved
ones. Since these sites also allow people to feel as though they are entitled to their freedom of
speech through a protected username, some may go out of their way to state something they
normally wouldnt say or do in their everyday life. There are always news about cyber-bullying,
where these statuses and comments are affecting people in their everyday lives. Knowing that
these posts can be made anonymously or not, people take it to the next step to critique someone
instead of what bullying used to be prior to social media. This access to indirectly able to affect
ones life has become problematic today. By doing such actions, this could affect whether the
user can gain or lose support by their fellow community.
Depending on how social media is utilized, this can also affect the target audience. The
tone of the status can determine what kind of community the user will attract. Most of the
popular people on the internet, like celebrities, tend to be informal. This informality will make it
seem as if the user, themselves, are talking directly to the reader. The tone is usually friendly and
down to earth. By speaking in this manner, the fans will feel like they are treated like a close
companion. While celebrities tend to speak in a friendly tone, other public figures like

government officials will be more formal. The reason why these two kinds of people differ in
how they tweet, is because they are trying to reach a certain audience and because they want to
be seen a certain way. For instance, Barack Obama has a Twitter and he mostly uses it to make
comments of what he plans to do. On April 11, 2015, he tweeted, President Obama is working
with Caribbean leaders to make clean energy a priority (Obama). Then, lets compare him to
someone like Lady Gaga. She also promotes what she is up to, but they both convey their points
very differently. With the hit of her newest album, she tweets, 'CHEEK TO CHEEK' is #1 on
the WORLDWIDE iTunes album chart! BUY HERE: (Lady Gaga) While both could post
like the other, they do not, because they are trying to express themselves in a way they would
like to be seen and related with their followers.
Some of the ways to indicate whether something is a status is to see if it follows some of
these guidelines. On these sites, there will always be a time stamp of noting when the post was
made. This indicates when the idea was created and how the post may be relevant in time. On
August 19, 2013, Beyonc posted on Twitter, Today is World Humanitarian Day. If someone
were to read this tweet at some point, they would assume August 19th is always World
Humanitarian Day. Time stamps are relevant to the status the user posts online and it helps give
contextual clues about the particular status.
Another common pattern of a status is the use of a hashtag. Hashtags help emphasize a
certain point. By adding hashtags, this can be used to start or support a trend. One of the popular
hashtags in the past have been #ThrowBackThursdays. This is when one reminisce of some
kind of event that has occurred in the past and they can only make posts like this on Thursdays.
When many people uses this hashtags enough, this starts the trend. When the trend becomes
more popular and if your post was liked by many, more people will have access to your account.

With more views of the users account, the more influential the user becomes over time.
Hashtags also allows other users to easily access certain topics or ideas within a website.
Social media sites have feature that allows the user to add pictures, videos and links to
their status. With one click of the mouse or with a tap of the screen, the multimedia becomes
widely available to everyone. If one wanted to share a video they watched that they thought was
funny, they can by providing a link to that website on their status.
Instantaneous posts requires first-order thinking. It is common for people to put what they
have in mind without reflecting about the post. The use of first-order thinking captivates many
people, because the user is being completely open and vulnerable like any other people in real
life. First-order thinking is intuitive and creative and doesnt strive for conscious direction or
control. We use it when we get hunches or see gestalts. (Elbow 55). Because status are written
on the spur of the moment, the user may use acronyms to shorten certain phrases. Acronyms also
adds to the idea of how approachable the user is trying to be with their followers. By using
acronyms like LOL, one may feel as though they were talking to their friends since acronyms
are never formal.
Some of the differences from other written material on the web are that they usually will
not have sources listed like a research paper or a news article. Statuses often do not talk about
facts or usually have a serious tone. Though it is possible, it is hardly seen or applied in this type
of genre.
People should learn genre so that they can understand when to utilize certain conventions
to communicate for a variety of purposes and to use them appropriately. There are many ways to
convey certain ideas. If one were to understand the differences and its rightful context, they can

only succeed because they are able to articulate their thoughts to influence others. By tending to
the needs of the audience, one can easily become popular in time.


Dirk, Kerry. Navigating Genres. Print.

Elbow, Peter. Embracing Contraries: Explorations in Learning and Teaching. Oxford U Pess,
1986. Print

"Status." Oxford Dictionaries. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.