How to be authentic on Instagram: Self-presentation and language choice of Basque university students in a multi-scalar context

Agurtzane Elordui and Jokin Aiestaran


This paper analyses the way young people negotiate their ‘real’ identity on Instagram, and how self-presentation can be developed by means of language choice. We draw our data from the corpus of the Gaztesare project. It contains the Instagram production of Basque university students who draw on an inventory of multilingual resources in their interactions. We consider Instagram to be a multi-scalar context in which different orders of indexicality converge (Blommaert 2010). The study analyses, from this multi-scalar perspective, the place of Basque in the language choices the students make in order to belong, to be authentic as someone or something (Varis and Wang 2011). It concludes that local Basque dialects are tools for self-positioning as an ‘authentic’ voice in Instagram chat, but standard Batua, is empowering at a higher scale on Timelines, in which the same speakers use it for a more credible translocal voice.

Publication history
Table of contents

I would say yes I am a little different. When I use Euskara Batua, I see a more serious Maite, a Maite who can become more important in front of people, because she expresses herself with greater intensity… And when I speak in Biscayan, I don’t think this image is that serious, but rather [that] of a person who is closer to others. And that’s the real ‘me’.

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