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Victoria Timmons

Professor Bradley
ENC 2135
A Hometown and its Genre
The city of Savannah, Georgia has many different means by which its citizens
communicate all of the activities, gatherings, organizations and other events that place it
into the genre of a community. What makes Savannah fall in the category of a small-town
community are the genres of communication by which members stay in touch and up-todate with current information. Genre itself is a way to categorize compositions (Brazeiller
and Kleinfield 5). Compositions can be anything from a piece of writing, to music, even
to verbal or visual contact, and the list goes on. Ones life experiences, who they are as a
person, the time of day and even a mood theyre in when they see it can all come together
to affect each persons perspective on the genre. Therefore certain conventions of the
modes and media by which a small- town communicates exist to portray this genre in
different contexts.
Though the population of Savannah isnt terribly small in itself, there is a feeling
of closeness as it is a place where it seems everyone knows each other. Most residents are
a part of a variety of different sub-communities based on where a persons child goes to
school or who theyre friends with. For example, most everyone who lives in Savannah at
least knows of, if is not already involved in, one of the rival cheerleading organizations
competing for athletes and the title of being the best in the area. Though this organization
seems like a very small category of people in the midst of an entire city, its a part of

Savannah as a specific community. Parents get involved and the entire genre of
cheerleading becomes a competition specific to Savannah.
Because many people in the Savannah area are involved in the cheerleading
world, and there are only two main organizations, communication is pertinent to its
functioning. The Savannah cheerleading organizations use tactics to recruit girls from the
area and even from each other. Promoting through each medium- advertizing in
magazines (print), on social media (digital) and even events (face-to-face) are all major
components of the sub-groups communication. Social media is an integral part of
keeping people up to date with everything involving a community and this is especially
true for Savannahs cheerleading businesses. They post videos of athletes gaining new
skills, pictures of the teams, and scores from competitions. The top organization even has
a float in the highly anticipated St. Patricks Day parade every year. This promotional
form of communication is to advertize to parents by utilizing rhetorical appeals. For
example, a parent in the community may encounter ethos because of the organizations
high status of being the best. They also may see the logos because of other examples of
girls becoming better athletes through the program.
Another well-known sub-community in which people are involved is the school
system. A huge part of the community revolves around kids, the sports they play and
other various programs that encompass this substantial part of Savannah. A big rivalry
between two competing schools make sporting events, and the talk surrounding them
intensify each year. Jerry Grillo, in his article about Savannahs Benedictine football team
defines the football games as clashing between opposite forces, with a history of fierce
competition, sometimes bordering on hatred, sometimes crossing the boarder

With such big rivalries, some communication is face-to-face but doesnt

necessarily assume verbal interaction. For example, long time rivals such as Savannah
Christian and Calvary have an unspoken communication through a competitive
atmosphere. Because of this, most members in the community know of this rivalry
(logos) and feel strongly (pathos) about one team, player, etc. There is a level of
expectation for people in the community to walk in the building at an event and feel the
tension in the form of this unspoken communication. In contrast, trash talk is also
employed to get a certain level of communication across. This instigation is mostly for
the fans of the other team and the purpose is to evoke pathos. Other modes of
communication that evoke pathos in this context are text-based. This includes signs
encouraging a team by writing beat the cavs or this is raider territory.
Living in a small town usually means that word gets around very quickly and
once one person knows-so does everyone else. This gossip, however, allows for up-todate, constant circulation of news and also for the community to stay close and involved
with everyday happenings. The talk through social media and with gossip in which
parents and athletes are involved offset the feeling of walking into a room with the
familiar tension and heaviness in the air. Though this communication can be somewhat
trivial, the purpose is more for the entertainment of the audience. Students, parents and
most in the community gather for sporting events, talking about whatever big news is
going around that week. This communication is significant because most everyone knows
each other, allowing the conversations to be relevant. The conventions for the genre of
gossip, however, may employ ethos and logos. Questions of whether a person or source is
reliable, if the gossip is believable and makes sense are both part of this form of

This face-to-face communication isnt the only way news circulates, however.
Social media, not only provides daily news through twitter and other online sites but it
allows a way to connect the community through facebook and twitter posts allowing for
further connectedness within the sub-communities. Communicating through this medium
of digital technology, rather than solely face-to face interaction, causes personal lives to
become more public. The main difference between these two mediums for
communication is how personal one can be. A face-to-face interaction may be more
intimate and direct than a post on a social media site. In person, the communication
involves more gossip and social media, though sometimes used for that reason, is more
about trending topics and sharing of information. Even though social media is a general
text in which many cities utilize, Savannahs residents can communicate within its
vastness to promote organizations, raise awareness, etc. Because Savannah is a small
town, text-based sources such as newspapers (somewhat outdated in other communities)
are a way for community members to stay up to date with high school sporting events and
other news.
Aside from sports, each school through an informative genre promotes itself to
parents by advertising. Members already a part of a school program may promote the
school through word of mouth. One big form of advertising for schools in Savannah is
through the use of billboards. Viewers have certain expectations for this mode of
communication. Most expect some school slogan or text involving either pathos or ethos
along with an image, usually of a student. For example, a Savannah Christian schools
billboard usually has their slogan Developing the whole person to the glory of God.

This statement not only employs emotion to a Christian viewer, but also utilizes ethos
because of the impact and authority of the statement. Accompanying a slogan is a picture
usually of a student smiling. This visual mode right by the text or slogan implies that
students are not only Developing to the glory of God but are also enjoying learning.
The purpose for this form of advertising is to grab parents attention and recruit possible
Another integral part of Savannahs educational community is the world
renowned Savannah College of Art and Design or SCAD, one of the most prestigious
art academies not only in Savannah but in the world. SCAD is not only about teaching
hopeful artists but about their volunteers in Savannah offering their time and talent to
support such organizations as :The Beach Institute African American Cultural Center, the
American Cancer Society and many others. They also founded a program called book
buddies, a mentoring and reading program with children from local elementary schools.
These good works, along with many others, when communicated to the people of
Savannah, evoke pathos and relay them as a credible source for any money donations.
These works may even exceed the expectations of the audience through pathos and
therefore slightly subvert them. This involvement is through very personal face-to-face
interaction, involving many parts of the community, through which students better the
city of Savannah. Another form of communication is by a student run television
production group and their own radio station for broadcasting news, program information
and other SCAD related activities to the town.
Other Sub-communities including Savannahs churches, neighborhoods and
different organizations function to provide more services, events and gatherings and

create even closer groups of people. Through Savannahs churches, mission trips, along
with other community volunteer work is done. A popular church in Savannah is Savannah
Christian. This large congregation is a significant part of the community and is involved
in many of the ministrys around town. This large group of Savannahs citizens
communicates through services on Sundays with the various activities, promotional
videos and event announcements. People of all ages come to participate in their own
service such as Sunday youth group and childrens church. Church members serve by
arranging and volunteering mission trips, which brings together many people from the
community. The videos showing of previous mission trips utilize pathos to try to
persuade the church members to get involved. A small group within the church conducts
a music ministry. This children and adult program devotes time to performing every
Sunday, holidays and other various events. This visual mode is a way of communicating
the gospel. This sub-community is a large part of Savannahs neighborly tradition.
Other times when communication through the town is especially
prominent is when tragedy occurs. Whether its a house fire or even the loss of a young
person, the community bands together to support and comfort friends in their time of
need. This communication aspect provides the community with personal connectedness.
When a family in a popular Savannah neighborhood lost all of their belongings to a house
fire, friends and others donated kids clothes, replaced some items that were lost and
raised over six thousand dollars for the cause. The gofundme site through the medium of
digital technology allowed citizens to easily help out in this crisis. The introduction on
the site, explaining the event and who the family is utilizes pathos because the purpose
for audience is to donate. The link was shared on facebook, and citizens who either knew

or didnt know the family were able to help out. This method of communication was very
effective as an informative genre.
Another, more tragic event that brought together the community was when a
young nursing student from Savannah lost her life in a car accident. Many memorials
were held and the community shared its condolences through face-to-face (visual) and
social media (text-based) contact to comfort the family. The news of the crash spread
rapidly, and in only a couple hours after the accident, the link had been shared on
facebook and the topic was trending on twitter. The use of social media in these cases is
crucial to the connectedness of the community because, without it, the news would
spread much less rapidly.
Each form of communication within the community has a different purpose and a
completely different context by which it is relayed. The purpose for social media and
text-based media sources are to make news readily available and allow a constant stream
of communication within the community. Through the use of twenty-first century tools,
members can instagram, text, email and tweet for instantaneous information that puts
everyone in the know. All forms of communication through each group in Savannah are
effective in that they provide information quickly, concisely and for each specific
audience. The Face-to-face and visual media through events and other community
gatherings create a sense of togetherness for the purpose of a more intimate interaction.
Each context by which the groups create an effective, competitive educational system, a
large extracurricular activity organization or even just communicate through different
types of media, allow for the hometown of Savannah, Georgia to fall nicely into the
category of a community.

Works Cited
"Click Here to Support Tonya's Family "After Fire" Fund by Donna Johansen
Stembridge." N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Jan. 2016.
Braziller, Amy, and Elizabeth Kleinfeld. The Bedford Book of Genres: A Guide &
Reader. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2014. Print.
"Bragging Rights." Sports Leisure. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Jan. 2016.
"Leadership." N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.