Affinity, Rhetoric, and Genres OH MY!

Checking the Affinity Maps

Pair up or group up with those around you and share your Affinity Maps! Talk about the design choices, what you learned from it, and what is similar/different!

Importance of "Affinity" and "Connected Learning"

Axel Bruns uses the word “produsage,” derived from production and usage/user, where he claims the role of the consumer is no longer relevant and there is a blurring of boundaries between the producer and user. His focus is on spaces where the users are also/always producers, regardless of their knowledge or presumed role, such as Wikipedia, but it extrapolates onto Youtube, Reddit, games, and other communities.

Affinity spaces are spaces where people share an affinity for some shared identity that is typically connected to an activity, value, or norm

Kafai and Burke’s framework--low floors, high ceilings, wide walls, and open windows--guides the instructor and students to engage in a critical analysis of emergent technology and if it is a good choice for the desired project. They describe low floors as a tool that is intuitive enough for all users to learn; high ceilings as a program that can add layers of complexity for more nuanced designs; wide walls as a tool that allows the user experience to flatten out and bring in their previous knowledge and experiences to create recognizable genres; and open windows which allows users to share, collaborate, and get feedback on their compositions. This framework allows us to think critically of the software, as Kafai and Burke suggest, to be more mindful creators which can identify the affordances and limitations of tools for their needs.

Rhetoric and Genre

When doing an analysis, think of Audience, Purpose, Context, and Design:

  • The audience an author wants to reach (the who)
  • The purpose an author has for communicating to that audience (the what and why)
  • The context in which an author wants to communicate that purpose or call for action (the when and where)
  • The writing and design choices an author makes in a text that draw on audience, purpose, and context (the how) 37)

Questions for audience (pg. 38)

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Who might be the secondary audience(s)?
  • What values or opinions do the primary and secondary audiences hold?
  • How does the author use design elements to appeal to these values or opinions?

Questions for purpose (pg. 39)

  • What do you consider to be the overall intention for the text?
  • What multimodal elements lead you to this conclusions?
  • Might there be one or more secondary intentions? Why do you think so?

Questions for Context (pg. 42)

  • What is the medium (print, app, web, video, etc.)? Why do you think the author chose this particular medium over another one?
  • Where did you find the text? What was the publication venue (book, newspaper, album, television, etc.)?
  • What were the historical conventions for this type of text? What materials, media, or publishing venues were available at the time?
  • What are the social and cultural connotations within the text? What colors, pictures, or phrases are used? What technologies does the text use?
  • How will readers interact with this text? Will they read it on their phone or tablet while walking down the street? On a desktop computer in a public library? On a laptop in their backyard?

Think about GENRE CONVENTIONS in relation to the PURPOSE


Created with an image by geralt - "smartphone network work"

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