Meta-media and meta-communication - Revisiting the concept of genre in the digital media environment
As analytical categories, genres have traditionally occupied a middle ground – between media as technologies and institutions, on the one hand, and discourses as material and modal forms of expression and interaction, on the other. With digitalization, the very concept of genre is in doubt: is the world wide web, Facebook, or the writing on its walls the genre? This article situat es genre in relation to the concepts of meta-media and meta-communication. First, I characterize the computer and the internet as metamedia, incorporating previous genres of embodied communication as well as mass communication. Second, I describe genres as a variety of meta-communication, which serves to configure communication in the first place. In conclusion, I discuss whether and how a category of meta-genres might help to account for some distinctive features of the digital media environment.
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