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Social media influencers and #DigitalDetoxDay: A multimodal discourse analysis of an Instagram anti-stigma mental health campaign

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KOVÁČOVÁ Dominika

Rok publikování 2021
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Citace
Popis Although social media activity has been shown to significantly impact the mental and physical health of vulnerable groups of users such as adolescents (Charmaraman et al., 2020; Sheldon et al., 2019), the positive effect of social media in raising mental health awareness should not be overlooked. A particularly important role in this respect is assumed by social media influencers, who frequently break the silence about issues such as depression, anxiety, even social media addiction, and participate in online movements and campaigns dedicated to these causes. In this paper, attention is paid to a specific case study: an anti-stigma mental health campaign, which encouraged people not to use social media for one whole day. By sharing an Instagram post with a photo of the campaign symbol – a circle with the word ‘OFF’ written inside it – painted on one’s palm and using the #DigitalDetoxDay hashtag, a large number of social media influencers showed their support for the initiative and commitment to participating in the cause. Since the participation in the campaign is marked both visually and textually, this study adopts a multimodal discourse analysis approach to investigate how in these posts the influencers, whose income is contingent on their active online presence, represent the effect social media have on their wellbeing. To achieve this, the dataset consisting of 100 #DigitalDetoxDay posts shared on Instagram is used. The preliminary findings of the analysis show that the influencers who joined the campaign portray their online experience as having both beneficial and detrimental effects on their wellbeing. Moreover, in the majority of the collected posts, the influencers construct anxiety and social media addiction as a shared experience and thus encourage their followers to join them in the initiative. In effect, the #DigitalDetoxDay posts afford the influencer’s self-presentation a certain level of authenticity and relatability.

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