Publication details

Story Time on Instagram : Exploring the Narrative Potential of Instagram Posts and Their Role in the Identity Performance of Lifestyle Influencers



Year of publication 2020
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Microblogging services such as Twitter and Instagram have enabled us to share stories and our daily experiences almost instantaneously with our friends and followers. In contrast to storytelling in offline contexts, online stories mainly assume the form of the micropost, the format of which is delimited by the affordances of the microblogging platform. Representing a still understudied area of narrative research, this paper thus explores the narrative potential of Instagram microposts and examines their features instrumental in constructing online narratives, such as deixis, interactivity and metadata (hashtags, tags, geo tags). The analytical data consists of posts extracted from five Instagram profiles of female beauty and lifestyle influencers who actively use microblogging services to engage with their followers and for the purposes of their self-presentation. Adopting a multimodal discourse analysis approach, the paper stresses the relationship between the visual and textual elements of Instagram posts and studies their role in the construction of a coherent narrative. While the main focus is put on the patterns of narrative construction recurrent in all five profiles, attention is also paid to the idiosyncratic features which users utilize in their posts for the purposes of self-branding. Furthermore, the analysis is not limited to the microstructure of individual narratives but examines their interconnections and their role in the macrostructure underlying the user’s profile. The present paper thus demonstrates that each Instagram profile represents a web of overtly unrelated narratives, which – when studied diachronically – form one’s online identity.
Related projects:

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info