Alarm blaring, I roll over to find my phone. I’ve hit snooze about three times already; if I don’t get up now I’ll be late for class. I question what state of mind I must have been in to sign up for an 8:00 AM and two classes immediately following it. I find my phone, turn off my alarm and begin to look at what all I had missed during the whole six hours I was asleep. There’s always something; the online world never sleeps. I check everything: my messages, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and even my emails.
This won’t be the last time though; I’ll check them all over again in about an hour and then several more times within the hours to follow. As awful as it is, I’m always on my phone. It’s such a great way to stay in touch with people, and it makes so many different genres of communication available to me. I roll out of bed, run a brush through my hair, brush my teeth and try to put a little makeup on. I see that I have two new text messages from my boyfriend that lives in Orlando. I quickly respond to his text saying, “Good morning!!! As I walk out the door for my first class at approximately 7:48 AM, I text my close friend who is in it with me.
I let her know that I’m on my way to her dorm. Then, about one hundred feet from her building I’ll text her again letting her know that I’ve arrived. As early as it is, I’ve already used one genre of communication: text messaging. This is easily the most common form of communication used by people who are not physically with each other. It is possible that a genre has sub-genres within itself. For example, my boyfriend and I being long distance, our relationship depends heavily on texting.
Since we’re so comfortable texting each other, the way I text him is a lot different than how I text other people. We have very casual conversations. With him, I may abbreviate words and not worry much about my grammar or sentence structure. This is much different than how I’d text a classmate or someone else I was less familiar with. For them, I would be a lot more formal. I would be careful with the words that I choose and make sure to use proper grammar. Before sending the text I would reread it to make sure that no mistakes were made. Surprisingly, my friend and I manage to get to class a few minutes early.
We find seats in the large lecture hall and sit down. I pull out my phone and, as I said I would, go through and check my social media to pass the time, as if I missed something since I last checked each of them forty-five minutes ago. I open twitter and scroll through the new tweets. I see that someone has tweeted “Why did I sign up for an 8:00 AM again?… ” I laugh to myself because I remember thinking the exact same thing this morning. I retweet their tweet and continue scrolling. Although twitter isn’t often thought of as a form of communication, it is a great way to connect with people.
For me, it’s how I stay connected with everyone I went to high school with. You can tell by their tweets how they’re doing and what they’re up to. It’s an easy way to stay updated about people’s lives without actually having to stay in constant contact with them. Class starts, so I put away my phone and begin to take notes. However, it isn’t long until my ADD kicks in and I find it impossible to pay attention. I take my phone back out and check Instagram. I look through the pictures posted within the last twelve hours and see that there was a lot going on last night.
I see that Kappa Sigma had a date function last night and my friend dressed like a jogger, another friend got thrown in the fountain for her birthday, and I see Kim Kardashian’s latest selfie. Instagram is where people post memorable pictures for their followers to see. Again, the people I follow are mostly people from high school. It’s another way to stay updated with what everyone is doing, but in the form of pictures. Class comes to an end. I pack up my stuff and head off to what will be my second class of the day. The class is just across the street from where my first one was so I get there with plenty of time to spare.
I find a seat and get out my phone for the fourth time today. This time I open Snapchat. This app allows people to communicate using pictures and videos. Once you take it, you can choose to either add a caption or draw on your picture or video. This allows people to communicate in a fun and creative way. The app also allows everyone to have a “snapstory” where they can post these pictures and videos. The coolest thing about Snapchat is that each picture and video only stays on a person’s snapstory for twenty-four hours. After that, it erases and can no longer be seen, but until then people can watch the snap-stories as much as they want.
Snapchat is a newer form of social media and probably my favorite. It makes it possible for people to capture moments of their day and share them with all of their friends. I can see pictures that people post from parties or I can literally watch a video of my friend getting thrown in the Westcott fountain because it was her birthday. About the same time that I’ve run out of snap-stories to watch, it is time for my next class to begin. I find this class more interesting than my last, so I manage to keep my phone away for most of it. It isn’t until the break in between this class and my next that I pull it out again.
Now I go on Facebook. Facebook was one of the original forms of social media. Facebook was more popular for my age group back when I was in middle school, but it is still widely used today. I scroll through my feed and see tons of status updates, shared articles and pictures posted by practically everyone I’ve ever known. I don’t do much posting on this website but I do enjoy seeing what old friends are up to by looking through their most recent pictures. Unlike Instagram, people post multiple pictures at a time. And unlike Snapchat, the pictures and videos do not get taken down after twenty-four hours.
For me, Facebook is the way I stay in touch with family for the most part. I love seeing videos of my little cousin Annabelle as she grows each month, hearing about the snowfall from my family up North and seeing status updates from my cousin and her husband who are living in Turkey for two years while they teach students English and travel around Europe during their time off. After the shooting at the Strozier Library, I immediately posted a status that let all of my family and friends know that I was safe after the tragic incident.
Facebook is a genre that makes communicating with a large number of people extremely easy. With time still left to spare, I realize that I’ve run out of social media sites to check. I then see that I have thirteen new emails. I open them and see ten emails from various stores and websites. I also see an email from my Statistics professor letting us know that class has been cancelled for the following day, an email from my dad asking for the information on the apartment I plan on living in next year and an email from my dentist reminding me of my appointment coming up later in the week.
Although I rarely use this form of communication, it is a good way to get in touch with my parents while they’re at work. It is an even better way to communicate with my professors, other than face-to-face interaction. Like text messaging, there are different sub-genres of emailing. If I am emailing my father about something while he is at work, I will make it short and simply state the question that I must ask him. Whereas emailing a professor, I will start with a greeting and be more detailed with what I am saying.
I will use proper grammar and sentence structure also. Once I’ve finished with what I need to say I will thank them for their time and write my full name at the bottom of the email. I will take the time to proofread the email before I send it as well. Emails, although not as popular as they were in earlier years, are an excellent way to communicate with people over the Internet. Finally, as my last class of the day begins, I put away my phone. This class is smaller and more interactive, so I’ll have to stay off of it the entire time.
For this class I use a completely different, and easily the most important, form of communication: face-to-face conversation. This is one of the most undervalued forms of communication. I sit and listen to my professor talk about what all we’re going to do with our time in class today. After, she breaks us up into groups so we can evaluate a short story and answer follow up questions. After reading to ourselves, my group members and I begin discussing what we’ve just read. The way I talk to my group members is different than how I’d talk to other people.
I talk to them in a much more formal manner since this is the first time I’ve talked to most of them. I will put more thought into the words I say and our conversation will pertain to what we’ve just read. This is different than how I’d talk to a friend. With them, the conversation would be more casual and I would be more comfortable saying the first thing that comes to my mind. Also, the conversation wouldn’t be contained to one specific subject. Each group wraps up their discussion and we briefly talk as a class. Time runs out and we’re told by our professor to have a good weekend.
As I step out of the classroom, I get a phone call from my mom. She’s on her lunch break and just wanted to check in. We talk about how my classes are going and how I’m doing money wise. She also catches me up on things that are going on at home: my little sister just made the varsity softball team as a freshman and my other sister just got her first job. Like texting and emails, the way I talk to my mom is completely different than how I talk on the phone with my boyfriend. And even that is completely different than how I’d talk to someone I wasn’t close with, like an employer.
With my boyfriend, our phone conversations are very casual. I’ll call him periodically throughout the day to ask him something or just to check in if I’m lonely or bored. Our conversations are very scattered. A lot of times I interrupt him because I think of something that I’d been meaning to ask him for a while. If I were to do that to my mother she would drive up to Tallahassee just to yell at me. The way I would talk to an employer is also a lot different than my phone conversations with both my mom and my boyfriend.
With an employer, I would figure out what I was going to say before I call. I might even write it down. I would be extremely cordial and polite. Before hanging up I would thank them for their time and possibly answering a question I had asked. And I most definitely would not end the call with “I love you. ” As I hang up the phone with my mom, I think about my day. I’ve been up for a total of four hours and have already used eight different genres of communication. Each one is unique, but serves the same purpose: to connect me with the people in my life.