Multimodality in the Real World

After thinking about this assignment for a few days, I guess I really began to notice the amount of texts in my life that are multimodal, which I hadn’t really been aware of before! I discovered many different texts from Instagram posts to Youtube videos and food labels to Earth science books. I was expecting to see a lot more that fulfilled all five modes of communication, but I really didn’t. It could have been that I didn’t pay close enough attention (though I really thought I was!) but there was really only one that stood out to me as having all five. Since there were well over 20 texts I examined in the last three days, I narrowed it down to three that used more than two modes to quickly talk about.

First, I discovered an Instagram post from the @umichathletics account. The picture is a close up of the football team on the field, facing the bustling student section. The student section and scoreboard above them are slightly blurred out, because one football player in the front of the picture, arm extended out with a fist clenched, is highlighted. The bottom corner of the picture reads: (block M) @UMichAthletics, to promote both their Instagram and Twitter accounts to those that view this. The caption below relates to the feeling of Michigan Football returning. The modes I noticed in this piece were linguistic for the caption and words on the picture, visual for the picture and its edit, and spatial for how close the picture was taken to the one football player in relation to the rest of the people in the picture as well as its presence online.

multi modal text football pic

 Next, one of my good friends sent me a Youtube video to watch. Titled “Til It Happens To You,” by Lady Gaga, I found this video was about the reality of sexual assault on college campuses. The video begins with a warning about the graphic content portrayed in it, yet how realistic it truly is. The video shows four different situations, all resulting in sexual assault. Lady Gaga’s song in the background includes phrases such as: “until it happens to you, you won’t know, it won’t be real.” It gives not only a visual, but auditory and textual experience for the viewer on an eye-opening subject that tends to be overlooked. This video was the one multimodal text I found that stood out to me as containing all five modes of communication. The linguistic mode is used through the word choice in the lyrics, as well as the text shown on the screen before and after the video. The visual mode was well thought out through the variety of situations in the piece, as well as the artistic choice to put it all in black and white. The aural mode is depicted through the subtle as well as striking piano notes in the piece, as well as the emphasis Lady Gaga puts on certain words in the lyrics. Spatially, the camera angles definitely had to be thought out, as well as the placement of the text in the beginning and end of the video. Lastly, the gestural mode was depicted through the body language of the sexual predators as well as victims, which was very clear throughout the entire video.

Third, I noticed the text communications on the grilled chicken strips I was making for dinner one night. The bag is mostly orange, which stands out to customers in the aisle (I know it does to me at least). The label on the bag says “Just…Grilled Chicken Strips.” The chicken font size in the title is larger than the rest, to emphasize what the product is mainly made out of. The front contains a very appealing picture of the grilled chicken strips in a salad with many greens. The back includes a description of the chicken with the use of many adjectives in a cursive font. The back also contains the nutrition facts label. The bottom has heating instructions for both the stove and the microwave. The modes used in this were: linguistic, visual, and spatial.


All three of these texts included the linguistic, visual, and spatial modes. I found that these three were actually very different types of texts, all using multimodality in a different way. Though they all had their own purpose, I think they were displayed in very unique mediums. They do come from a similar time period in that they were all either bought, read or posted this week. I really liked analyzing these pieces because I think it was very interesting how each creator of these texts really thought about the multiple modes they were utilizing to project the project’s purpose. I think it’s amazing the amount of creative freedom we have when it comes to writing, and I can’t wait to hopefully successfully use multimodality in my future projects!

2 thoughts to “Multimodality in the Real World”

  1. Really great job finding multi-modality in everyday life! I struggled with this, so it was really nice to see it laid out in such an organized way. My favorite example of yours is the Lady Gaga music video. This video was tough to watch but is so hugely important in the message that it is sending. I like how you point out how this video incorporates all modes of communication. I think that it is because of this that it sends such a powerful and impactful message to all viewers.

  2. I’m so impressed that you noticed 20 different texts of multi-modality in only 3 days! It’s clear that you really took this assignment to the next level. I’m also glad that you mentioned Lady Gaga’s YouTube video. I’ve been meaning to watch this video for quick some time, and I’m so glad I finally did. Like you said, the video was extremely eye-opening, and I think the use of all fives modes of communication plays a huge role in Lady Gaga’s ability to touch the viewer in many ways. You highlighted a very eclectic group of texts for this assignment, which I really appreciate. Great job!

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