Analysis of a Discourse Community:  Learning of Content Concepts on Twitter



Content comes at us countless times every single day. This fact of the matter is that this constant bombardment of content is not going to stop any time soon and grows by the day. Living in the 21st century is a mental battle of filtering ideas, products, brands, and all types of propaganda. To effectively understand our world we need to dive deeper than the surface and examine the meaning of all content we see. Whatever example one would choose, the content was made for a reason; this is pivotal to remember. There is always a reason, or purpose, that somebody wants you to see their content and people need to be aware of that. Though throughout this class, I have learned a lot more than just about purpose, content strategies are learned about and used for a purpose. 

In this class, we looked at writing very differently than most writing courses. I explored how writing can be dissected and analyzed in every form, not just educational writing. The same ideas of content analysis can be used to better understand writing in places like advertising and social media. Writing on Twitter was new for me along with many classmates because as students many of us use social media for communication, fun, and building a figure. Throughout this semester, we have used Twitter in a much different and more engaging way. Many class members had a leg-up on the start of using Twitter because of familiarity with the user experience which is often an initial hurdle to learning to use a new medium or platform. We Tweeted ideas and tips to explore our thoughts and bounce ideas off each other as a learning community. Twitter in this scenario could be compared to a writer’s room talking through processes and speaking what each person is specifically working through. Because of the freedom in class projects, different students were working on often very different projects and fighting problems of our own as they come up. This gave each student, especially in an online class, their own personal writing process. We could just Twitter as a classroom students would explain their difficulties and others would share solutions and feedback that could then in-turn help themselves and others if they come by a similar issue.

In these examples, one can see the discourse community that the class has. As members of a course at Millersville, we already have a lot of similarities and our own discourse community. Though in this specific space, we took what we knew about social media in general and Twitter specifically and merged that with the learning of content concepts, writing growth, and content analysis. This helped me as I had a familiar space to communicate these new ideas in and by doing that applying the given concepts to writing on Twitter. It is a multi-dimensional growth technique that puts us in control. This showed a cyclical development: learn concepts, ask questions, learn from that, apply in projects, then apply to growth back on Twitter,

Some key concepts that I know I will take with me relate to the diversity of content and even perceived “writing.” As discussed, writing is more and more often multimodal. In the 21st century, writing without the use of colors, images, videos, and interactive tools is not going to be recognized by the majority of people. Imagine seeing a billboard or other type of advertisement that looked like an essay page. This clearly sounds ridiculous but that reaction points directly to the fact that every tool used on the advertisements we see like color, shape, and design are used on purpose and likely with a lot of thought behind it. 

As a person looking into careers possibly in design and social media, these little thoughts and reminders will stay in the back of my head and help me through the most likely career writing I would do. Now as I perceive and create content, the first things I consider are purpose and audience before the designing starts because these ideas help direct all other design choices. On the other side of my career focus industry, there is more formal writing but this writing is more technical. For example, show documentation and itineraries are essential for running a successful show in the entertainment technology world. Another form of writing I may use are technical reports and designs for the engineering side. Scholarly writing, social media, show reports, and technical designs are all very different forms of writing but in this class, I learned that all forms can be analyzed and learned tools can be used to write more effectively. 

I like the word effectively as a term that really shows how the ideas of content analysis can be applied. In writing, we can make anything but what is one trying to accomplish? The word effective leads to the fact that there is a goal and we want to use these writing strategies to accomplish any goal, effectively. Writing in a way that does not distract or complicate the message but shows the content in an efficient and successful way that your audience can receive your message and perceive it the way you desire accomplishing your goal. Additionally, to be effective a writer or content creator must establish their ethos. Why is it that anyone should take your content seriously? In digital content creation, you need to write and design in specific ways to be taken seriously in different circumstances. Think about how content looks when a large company makes a formal message or apology compared to their advertising. Both are professional content examples but without choosing the best form of content your ethos is destroyed. Digital spaces are constantly changing and to stay on top of effective content creation and understanding we have to keep up with the changing times of how platforms are used and what are the current social norms are and how the community works and perceives content.

So once again what is content? In short, content is everything. Everything can be analyzed and have questions asked to understand what it is. I think it is necessary to specify digital content as we look to define this conceptual term. Digital content is something created or put together to serve a purpose or accomplish a goal. That is regardless of what that purpose is or who the audience might be. Just like everywhere around us, our devices and digital spaces are defined and created by the content and the structure. That is all there is to a digital space. It is all about content and structure, and there is even content within the structure like a logo at the top of just about any webpage. 

This idea of content goes miles ahead of just its definition; there are infinite types and uses of content. This course has shown that understanding concept is not merely about knowing the definition of the term, understanding content is an exploration and growing process. It takes looking into each example: learning and applying your learning to the next example in a cyclical process. More so, this reigns true specifically to effective writing and applying hundreds of content concepts into personal writing. In this class, I have more than anything looked deeper into content concepts. In every writing class students learn about purpose, audience, ethos, and other content concepts but this semester I have been able to study what these ideas really show us and how to utilize them, transforming into our own content and show in our own writing.