In my discourse group, the general method of communication is Twitter. This is the place where the members of the community generally meet for the first time, speak to each other daily, and express themselves in general. Prior to selecting this genre to study my chosen community, I would say I was extensively familiar, even affluent, with this method of communication. Reading tweets, someone expects to glean information pertaining to the lives of the people they follow (in this situation: friends), as well as current events, and occasionally, or perhaps more often than not, comedic expression.
The fascinating thing about a tweet as a genre of communication is the complete universality of the medium. Generally, few, if any credentials are required to create a Twitter account. A person must be above the age of thirteen, and literate enough to read a sign up menu, and that is it, they are set. This is an appeal of the platform, as well as an intermittent problem. As far as the specific discourse community I am studying, the sub-community of Twitters massive user base. In this community, the writers are generally above the age of 13, but below the age of 35, and it is expected that a user has read the webcomic that is used as a basis for most general discussion.
In conjunction with the sub-community writer base’s general and unspoken rules concerning having read the aforementioned comic, it can be inferred that given the nature of Twitter, the same rules would apply to the audience. On the platform, a follower of a user who the user is following back is referred to as a mutual. This relationship, conveys the correlation between writer and audience, them being one and the same.
In this artifact specifically, the purpose of the text is both comedy, but also on a deeper level, a connection between members of the audience who “understand”. There is a certain camaraderie, a feeling of inclusion, for the audience when they come across a tweet like this, with a specific joke or reference that they can be “in on”. In this particular situation, the joke being in reference to a specific comic character with very overt connections to a certain biblical figure. The relationship this creates between the writer and reader, is one of friendship and comfort, and that is extremely important with this genre of artifact. That being said, for an audience that wouldn’t “get it”, this artifact would be strange and meaningless.
Overall, the rules for this genre are unspoken at best and non-existent at worst. In the sub-community I am writing about, I have observed the rules to be mostly noticeable in the nuance of writing style, vocabulary, and general voice. The tone is incredibly impersonal, written with lax grammatical rules and disregard for censorship. It is written as if talking to a close friend, or even as if simply recording one’s own thoughts. It’s passive and thoughtless, even. Sentences are short, limited to 240 characters and rarely even reaching that.