Thursday, 5 September 2013

'Internet Diaries' and the genres within Twitter

                   Image from:

Over the past few weeks I have enjoyed navigating my way through the social network that is Twitter. This week's readings were based on the theory of genre and the evolution of the blog. McNeill's articles state that blogs were developed from the early idea of a diary and now 'internet diaries (also known as "blogs") give access to lives in progress to a potential audience of thousands' (McNeill, 2011).  

Twitter is definitely an 'Internet diary' and gives thousands of followers the opportunity to hear details about the life of the person whose Twitter account they are following as they occur. Twitter does not allow a user to set their account to private, as does Facebook and the alike. Twitter allows anyone who clicks the 'Follow' button on a users profile to see everything they have posted about themselves at the click of a button. Therefore, Twitter is much like the internet diaries McNeill describes in this week's reading, as there are no limits on who can read them.

Throughout this week the theory of genres was also discussed. 'Genres are cultural products that can be grouped into classes based on the similarities they hold and it can be said that genre can both enable and restrict the meaning of the product' (Van Luyn, 2013).
I believe that after spending some time on Twitter, that genres are the basis of the split between many users and are also what gives users more power than certain other users. Users who post about certain topics and follow other users are naturally split into genres by the nature of the site and the way that it runs. Some users can then be followed by more people and reposted by more people as they like and tweet about popular and trending things. Or, in the cases of celebrities and iconic figures, they are the trending item themselves. 

Power can easily be gained this way through what information users choose to share with the 'Twitterverse'. If you would like to read more about how this social network chooses what is trending week by week, this article discusses it in relation to celebrities and television shows;

Reference List:

                McNeill, L. (2011). Diary 2.0?: A genre moves from page to screen. In Language and New Media. (C.Rowe & E.L Wyss, Ed.). Creskill, NJ: Hampton Press Inc.
                 Syndell, L.. "How Twitter's Trending Algorithm Picks Its Topics : NPR." NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2013. <>.               
Van Luyn, A. (2013). BA1002: Our Space: Networks, narratives and the making of place, week 6 Lecture.
Image Credits:
              Robert, J.B. (2012). Wordpress: Take 5. My Online Diary. Retrieved from:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rebecca,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post about Twitter. I am not a Twitter user myself, so I read your blog carefully to understand how Twitter can be perceived as an Internet diary. I had no idea that once people follow you, they can see everything you have posted, because there is no private setting. I suppose there is no hiding in the ‘Twitterverse’, as there is in the world of Facebook (which is what I’m doing as my virtual network). As Van Luyn said, “Genre is a precondition for communication, for the creation and interpretation of texts”. In terms of Facebook, people are able to make ‘group pages’, where people make pages on, for example, Harry Potter. They post statuses and images related to the topic, and users are able to comment and contribute to the topic. I assume this would be similar to the ‘trending topic’ on Twitter, as you said “Some users can then be followed by more people and reposted by more people as they like and tweet about popular and trending things”.

    Although I am very unfamiliar with Twitter, I look forward to reading your blogs in the next few weeks, and learning more as you discuss your findings.

    Van Luyn, A. 2013. BA1002: Our Space: Networks, Narratives, and the Making of Place, Week 6 Notes (PowerPoint). Retrieved from: