Article in:Internet Pragmatics: Online-First Articles
The analysis of (in)formality in self-presentation on Instagram
Drawing on Goffman’s (1990 ) metaphor of stage, this paper considers Instagram a frontstage environment where users are cautious of being watched and attune their performance to how they want to be perceived via strategic self-presentation. This understanding of online performance is particularly pertinent in the discussions of bloggers who turn to Instagram to promote their work to new audiences. Examining the self-presentation practices of three fashion bloggers, this paper argues that to gain popularity on Instagram, bloggers utilize the features of formality and informality in the construction of an authentic and likable self-image. Since in the photographs the bloggers’ professional life is usually depicted as distant from their audience’s reality, the accompanying textual caption serves as a means of providing balance for the overall image the poster seeks to present. Consequently, the caption abounds with features of informality, which connote linguistic immediacy and imitate an intimate conversation with peers.
Keywords: Instagram, self-presentation, performance, informality, language of immediacy, language of distance, visual semiotics, authenticity
Published online: 22 March 2021
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