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Structure and functions of the fabulous media narrative of the Instagram social network (using motivating content as an example)

Pavlov Dmitrii Nikolaevich

Postgraduate Student, Department of Journalism, Media Communications and Advertising, A. S. Griboyedov Moscow University

111024, Russia, Central Federal District, Moscow, Sh. Enthusiastov str., 21

dima2011211@gmail.com
Other publications by this author
 

 

DOI:

10.25136/2409-8698.2023.11.69086

EDN:

MDSPLY

Received:

18-11-2023


Published:

25-11-2023


Abstract: The research task set by the authors is based on an attempt to analyze the phenomenon of the media narrative in a structural and functional aspect. The selected material includes publications of a social network banned in the Russian Federation for promoting Instagram photos. For the study, the authors selected three thematically representative accounts (the total number of subscribers is 600 thousand) and five materials containing information about the success stories of various celebrities. The subject side of the analysis includes narrative functions (motives) that can be found in these publications. The relevance of this work lies in the manipulative power of the above-mentioned materials and their ability to bring a person into an active motivated state. It is noted that such materials can carry a psychological and terrapeutic function for the viewer. The methodological basis is the narrative theory of V.Y. Propp, which assumes the decomposition of the material into invariant composite blocks necessary for the construction of a media story. The scientific novelty of the research lies in the need for the presence of such content in the media space. Since the authors of the study provide a universal set of mandatory narrative matrices, bloggers, firstly, get the opportunity to save time when creating publications, and secondly, they get the opportunity to bring the audience into an active motivated state through the success story of a famous personality. Among the most important conclusions, the authors note the exceptional popularity of the narrative motives of departure, struggle, transfiguration, victory and accession (wedding). They contain the main elements of the narrative. Similarly, the authors note that differences in the creation of materials (videos, texts, illustrative material) do not affect the interest of viewers and do not exclude the above-mentioned fairy-tale motives. Consequently, due to the fact that such materials are highly popular, the authors claim that they have an important social function.


Keywords:

narrative, fairytale, media, content, publication, motivation, manipulation, medianarrative, motivation content, invariant

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

 

The totality of correctly constructed media plots in social networks is an important factor in building communication between the narrator and the viewer [1]. Properly selected functions when creating a publication can act as a means of social influence. The blogger, interacting with the collected materials, creates a media narrative that constructs public or personal opinion. In this case, motivating content (MC) is no exception, which is necessary for the appearance of a short-term desire to change the behavior model of a person.

The object of this research is a media narrative that is able to change the social opinion and behavior model of the viewer at critical moments of life. We put forward a hypothesis related to the fact that the motivating content of the Instagram network (a banned social network in the Russian Federation) has a composition based on well-known fairy-tale motifs. It is assumed that the object of research reanimates the narrative archetypes of a fairy tale. The author of the publication uses them because of their relative simplicity [2, p. 135]. The blogger, focusing on the necessary motive, is able to bring the viewer into an active changeable state. Hence, we believe that the main functional feature of this kind of content is the performance of a psychological and therapeutic function.

The methodological basis includes the theory of V.Y. Propp. In the "Morphology of a Fairy Tale" [3, p. 18], the author designates the motifs that make up the fairy tale narrative into a single syntagmatic structure.

Let's list them: absenteeism, prohibition, violation of the ban, intelligence of the antagonist, giving out information, trick, complicity, sabotage (shortage), mediation, incipient opposition, sending, the first function of the donor, the hero's reaction to the actions of the future donor, receiving a magic remedy, moving to another kingdom, struggle, branding, victory, liquidationtroubles or shortages, return, pursuit, salvation, unrecognized arrival, unreasonable claims, difficult task, solution, recognition, denunciation, transfiguration, punishment, wedding, accession [4, p. 98].

With the help of narrative decomposition, we have the opportunity to discover the above-mentioned functions in the narrative structure of the objects of our research. At the same time, the key fairy-tale motifs are "struggle", "dispatch", victory" and "accession" [5, p. 101], with which the viewer identifies his own experience.

 

The subject of the study was 5 materials of the social network Instagram. It is necessary to pay attention to the differences in the presentation of information. Some publications are textual in nature, some are illustrative, and some are exclusively videos [6, p. 180]. However, the external differences of publications do not exclude the similarities necessary for the study in the narrative environment. Their representativeness is due to the large number of views, likes and emotional response from the reader, which can be seen by the number and content of comments.

Let's turn to the analysis of the material.

The first account that reveals the specifics of motivating content is called tres_mamas_notes [7] "Woman. Love. History". Alyona Reyes and Ekaterina Raevskaya are the authors of this blog. Girls tell stories from the lives of famous women, conduct live broadcasts to maintain psychological health, help to cope with crisis situations in the field of relationships.

The first video that we took for research is related to the story of Natalia Vodianova. Note that this material can attract the viewer's attention with its composition. It contains not only a text signature (the story of the main character), but also a video clip from the girl's interview [8].

Let's consider the material from the point of view of fabulous narrative motives:

- The beginning of the story opens with the quote "When I became a successful model, I realized that millions of people were left behind me," Natalia says, meaning that her story motivates. It is here that we can notice the function of "exposure", which involves familiarizing the viewer with the story of the main character.

- The interview video accompanying the text complements the story. "I was a poor girl who sold fruit on the street. It's true. I did everything to survive." Interestingly, bloggers almost always focus on the starting opportunities of the main character in society [9, p. 54]. In this passage, we can highlight the motive "shortage", which reveals the difficult fate of the main character, evil fate.

- "When the girl was 16 years old, she was enrolled in a local modeling agency, and less than six months later, the beauty already went to Paris." The "sending" function, which assumes the beginning of plot actions.

"Then someone came up to me and said that maybe I would like to go to Paris? It was a shock for a little girl from the heartland of Russia." "The first function of the giver", "moving to another realm", where the heroine receives an offer, accepts it. From that moment on, the girl begins to work much harder to achieve the goal.

- "She saved literally on everything: she bought the cheapest and not very healthy food, walked so as not to spend money on the subway. All in order to send some money home." "The hero's reaction to the actions of the future donor", "struggle" - the heroine withstands the test offered to her. The important thing is that after passing the test, the hero's life begins to change for the better.

- "Influential designers Tom Ford and Calvin Klein drew attention to the beauty of a young girl, instantly making Natalia their muse," the story says. Here the author uses the invariants "Obtaining a magic remedy", "salvation" and "victory". The girl becomes a famous model, starts working with famous designers, all her labors in the trials are rewarded.

- "The girl got married at 19 and soon became a mother" - the invariant "wedding".

- "Motherhood did not interfere with her career, but on the contrary made her appearance more textured" - "transfiguration". The girl goes through the initiation ceremony several times in her life, each time she becomes more successful.

- "Natalia is 41 years old now. She occasionally appears on the catwalk as a model, focusing on children and charity." Natalia becomes the heroine of this story, which reflects the "accession" invariant. She now helps not only her loved ones (as at the beginning of the story), but also those in need.

 The next publication also repeats all the structural and narrative principles of motivating content. This story is connected with Sonya Haraldsen, a girl from a small town [10].

- "Sonja Haraldsen was an ordinary saleswoman in a small clothing store owned by their family. The girl had great taste, sewed beautifully and dreamed of becoming a fashion designer." In this passage, we are presented with a girl who has a dream, moves towards it. Fairy-tale motifs "denunciation", "incipient opposition", where the reader is revealed the identity of the main character, describes his goals, tells the background.

- "At the age of 17, she went to Switzerland to study the history of costume, and then moved to England, where she entered the Faculty of Economics at Cambridge." "Sending", "Moving to another realm". These functions show the phase of active actions of the character. It is with them that the main narrative begins.

- "In 1959, her father died, Sonya took over all the worries associated with the store." The motive of "shortage", where the main character goes through a phase of sabotage, the girl's plans for life collapse, she goes through a psychological crisis – the loss of a loved one.

- "The future king of Norway, Harvald, was 22 years old when he met a girl at a party at a mutual acquaintance. It was love at first sight. The lovers met secretly for almost nine years and until the last moment did not believe that their wedding would take place. The fact is that the king was categorically against this union." The fairy-tale motifs that reveal this passage are called "struggle" and "antagonist exploration", where the king learns about what is happening and acts as an antagonist against the wedding between the main character and the prince.

- "Once the Crown Prince announced that he would marry Sonya, or remain a bachelor forever, which meant that there was no future heir. According to some sources, he was going to give up the right to the throne at all if his father did not approve of his choice. The King has surrendered." The invariants "struggle" and "victory".

- "On August 29, 1968, Sonya became Crown Princess of Norway. The heirs had a daughter, Martha Louise, and a son, the future King Haakon." In this passage, the girl goes through a "transfiguration" and passes into a "different realm", she no longer hides her relationship with the prince, changes her status.

- "In mid-January 1991, Harald was crowned to the throne, Sonya became the first queen of Norway by marital right. In 2018, the couple celebrated a golden wedding." "Accession", the girl becomes a queen, which serves as the end of the story and a happy ending.

The following account temich1121 is presented as a personal blog [11]. "Complex things – in simple words," is the slogan prescribed by the author. The man developing the account is called Artem. A distinctive feature of his videos is that he acts as an author and tells the story on his own. A man touches on topics such as laziness, success stories, career, successful ideas.

The third material, the narrative motives of which we will present in this study, is called "Mary Kay's Success Story" [12].

- "She invested 5,000 bucks, and earned billions. Mary Kay's success story." This introductory sentence is an example of "exposure", where the author tells the backstory, returning the reader to the origins of the life of the main character.

- "Mary Kay was born into a poor family. My father was seriously ill, my mother worked a lot. The whole household was completely on her." A familiar story about the difficult childhood of the main character, which assumes further motivation aimed at career growth. In this passage, you can notice such a motive as "shortage". The starting social position of the protagonist is a fundamental factor in how his life will develop in the future.

- "At 17 she gets married and gives birth to three children. 10 years of family life have passed and the husband, coming home, once said: "The family is not mine, I want a divorce." As a result, she is 27 years old, she is divorced, she has no higher education and no money, and she has three more children on her hands." In this passage we can see the fairy-tale motif of the "wedding", the main character gets married, gives birth to children. She makes the transition from one state to another, which is important for the further development of the plot. Also here you can see the motive of "sabotage", the antagonist in this case is the girl's husband.

- "She urgently needs some kind of job, so she gets a job in the first company she comes across. She is hired for the smallest salary, for the lowest position in the sales department. After working just a little bit, she understands that she has a talent to sell!". "Incipient opposition", where the main development of the storyline takes place. "Finding a magic remedy" is revealed here in the elaboration of his talent. Going through the trials, the main character begins to change.

- "She liked it so much that for 25 years she brought the largest income to two large commercial organizations. However, the management betrayed her, she was promised a promotion, but her student was appointed to this place, and even with a salary twice as much as hers." The invariant "catch", the antagonist, who is in the circle of the main character, betrays the girl.

- "After leaving work, she decided to write a book about her successful sales deals, and when she finished, she realized that she had a new marketing plan for her dream company in front of her." The motives of "moving to another realm" and "struggle", the girl is faced with a personal crisis that forces her to go to the dream, creating a new company.

- "In 1963, she takes all her savings, 5000 bucks, buys cosmetics, rents a room and calls her first store "Beauty by Mary Kay", and a few years later becomes the richest woman in the world." In this passage, the author uses two important fairy-tale motifs that are necessary to complete the narrative: "accession" and "victory".

- "And the moral is this: success is just luck, any loser will tell you that." This concludes the narrative.

Among the intermediate results, it should be noted that the authors use fairy-tale motifs to build a narrative. Similarly, we pay attention to the use of key functions called "struggle" and "accession", which indicate a positive conclusion to all published stories. The author of the second account, summing up the story, talks about morality, raises the topic about losers who give up at the sight of difficulties, which already has a certain media manipulation [13, p. 13], addressed to the recipient.

The fourth publication is similarly located on this account. In it, the author tells about the life of a girl from China who achieved success thanks to hard work and positive thinking [14].

- "At the age of 15, she worked on the assembly line, and today she is the richest woman in China." The blogger uses such a term as "denunciation", which allows to briefly identify the main character and describe the essence of the story.

- "Chinese Zhou Qiunfei was born into a poor family. The father went blind, and the mother died when the girl was five years old." In a standard way, the hero of the story is born into a poor family that is basically unable to provide for the child. In this case, the girl is faced with the death of her mother and the health problems of her father, which reflects such a fabulous motive as "shortage".

- "At 15, Zhou quits school, and in order to live on something, she goes to work on the conveyor of a small glass factory, there were about 10 workers there, they all did the same thing every day: they polished glass for years." The motive is "sending" (the main character goes on a journey that will lead her to the reign).

- "When the factory closed, Zhou tried to launch the business herself. And think about it, I failed 11 times. But on the 12th attempt, she opens her company "Lens technology" for the manufacture of touch screens, and it becomes her life's work." "The beginning of the opposition" shows how the girl changes throughout the story. Here the author shows her character traits that can lead to the ultimate goal.

- "Not everything was so easy! Because of the small number of orders, she sells her house twice to pay her employees' salaries. The company is barely keeping afloat, there are practically no orders, but it does not give up." Firstly, you can notice a change in the position of the main character, which indicates "moving to another realm", Zhou has achieved that she now has a company, she is an entrepreneur. Secondly, the motive of the "struggle" is clearly traced here, which again reveals the nobility of the hero. She is ready to lose her home, but she pays her employees' salaries.

- "Motorola writes to her company here, they ask her to make some glass screens for their phones." The part is characterized by the appearance of the magic giver "the first function of the giver", Motorola makes an order, thereby testing the entrepreneur. The passed test helps her to move on to the next stage of development.

- "The girl understands that such a chance comes only once in her life, and she does not miss it."

- "Motorola, having seen such a professional attitude to work, now signs a contract with her for hundreds of thousands of glasses." "Getting the magic remedy", Motorola makes a major order, helping the company gain a foothold in the market.

- "Now it is her glass that is used in both Iphone and Samsung, and the girl's fortune is estimated at 7.7 billion." Fabulous motifs "victory" and "accession".

The latest material was taken from the account History__facts_ (History. Evidence. Photo) [15]. The account is owned by a girl named Tatiana, who writes that it is never boring with her, because she collects the most interesting stories from the past. The interesting thing is that the girl mostly publishes written stories, which are accompanied by illustrations. These publications mainly reveal the career side of famous personalities, which helps viewers in a crisis situation [16, p. 183] to see a certain model of behavior [17, p. 101] in a difficult situation.

- "Ella Williams, known in show business of the XIX-XX centuries as Madame Aboma, was one of the tallest girls of that time. Ella's height was 2.28 meters. Ella was born in South Carolina in 1865, after the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was signed in the United States, which abolished slavery." The story begins with the reader being shown the main character, told about her achievements. In this case, the blogger uses the "denunciation" function in his story, which involves praising the merits of the hero.

- "Ella's parents had the surname of the slave owners Grisby: according to tradition, slaves were given the master's surname. Apparently, that's why Ella didn't want to be a Grisby, and changed her last name to Williams in honor of the family she worked for for several years in the kitchen." Here the reader is confronted with the beginning of Ella's life. It can be seen that the starting position of the main character is at a low level due to the fact that she was a slave. The motive of "prohibition" and "violation of the ban" is associated with a change of surname, the girl breaks the connection with the past.

- "A tall and tall girl attracted the attention of showmen. So, the manager of one of the companies suggested that she go on tour. After that, Ella became one of the most famous giantesses of her time." The motives "incipient opposition" and "the first function of the donor" will mark the beginning of the plot development. Ella meets a magical gift giver who helps her set off, helps her form a purpose in life.

- "The girl went on tour to Europe under the stage name Madame Aboma." The "sending" function.

- "Madame has been touring for more than 30 years. She visited most of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and reached Cuba and South America. She had a wonderful wardrobe, thanks to which the giantess looked elegant and luxurious." The girl faced a lot of challenges on her way, but she managed to gain popularity. In this part there are motifs of "moving to another kingdom", "struggle" and "victory".

- "Ella returned to the States in 1914, and for a long time she took part in various entertainment shows and in the circus." The "recognition" and "accession" functions show how the scandal about the girl has spread not only in Europe, but also in the USA.

 

Based on the materials described above, it becomes obvious that bloggers mainly use a basic set of functions: denunciation, dispatch, struggle, transfiguration, victory, accession. From here we assume that

- the "exposure" function is necessary to attract the viewer's attention to the main character of the work. It is this motive that reveals the results already obtained by the celebrity, the results after overcoming a personal crisis. The viewer has the opportunity to get acquainted with the problem, the main character and the outcome of the story in advance.

- the "send" function is necessary for the development of the dynamics of the plot narrative, it will mark the beginning of the main character's work with the problem that has arisen. "Sending" helps the viewer understand that the movement of the beginning of the study of the crisis is necessary to obtain the expected result.

- the "struggle" function is characteristic of the life circumstances of each hero of the material, it shows that the benefits acquired by the material and spiritual heroes do not get them just like that.

- the "transfiguration" function embodies the variability of personality for the better when moving towards a result. It can be perceived as an intermediate result.

- the "victory" and "accession" functions reveal the idea that any crisis can be overcome.

The above-mentioned narrative matrices are obviously a means of social influence. They can act as a tool for building a further plan of action in resolving a psychological crisis. What is important is the narrative fullness of the material familiar from childhood, which is rooted in culture (folklore and literary fairy tales).

Similarly, we came to the conclusion that the narrative structure does not depend on the type of narrative. Bloggers build their own content both as videos, as text materials, and as illustrations. This diversity of publications not only does not interfere with the survival of the narrative structure, but also helps in performing the main function.

The results of the study showed that bloggers use fabulous narrative constructions to form publications. Similarly, it should be noted that media stories of a similar nature [18, p. 285] are popular on the social network Instagram. It should be noted the successful analysis of structurally different publications (illustrative, textual, video materials), which, as expected, consist of the same narrative motifs. Each set of functions implies a certain social message, which is well read within the motivating content. The motives of denunciation, dispatch, struggle and accession are of universal importance for the narrator, they in this case show that it is impossible to come to the necessary result without a struggle [19, p. 204]. The main characters of the work are popular personalities who already have a certain influence and credibility in society and, thus, the author strengthens his influence on the audience [20, p. 226]. Such work with the recipient involves changes in self-perception, offering a more effective model of behavior that can solve a crisis situation. Thus, changes occur not only with the hero of the publication, but also with the viewer, who falls into the zone of manipulation of the author. We also believe that it is not always advisable to follow generalized advice from the point of view of psychology, since the availability of motivating content does not necessarily lead to the solution of an individual's problem. Nevertheless, the popularity of such content indicates its important social significance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The article "Structure and functions of the fabulous media narrative of the Instagram social network (using the example of motivating content)" submitted for consideration - the Meta group is recognized as an extremist organization in the territory of the Russian Federation - proposed for publication in the Litera magazine is undoubtedly relevant, due to the author's appeal to study the structure and function of the fabulous media narrative from one of the foreign social networks. networks. In the modern world, technology plays a huge role and helps to instantly disseminate information, regardless of the location or limitations of a particular place of residence, the main thing is the availability of the Internet and a smartphone. So, with the help of special Internet platforms and mobile applications, journalists can expand the reach of their audience. The article is innovative, one of the first in Russian linguistics devoted to the study of such issues. The article presents a research methodology, the choice of which is quite adequate to the goals and objectives of the work. The author refers, among other things, to various methods to confirm the hypothesis put forward, namely the descriptive method, the method of generalization, modeling and the method of semantic analysis. The subject of the study was 5 materials from the specified social network. This work was done professionally, in compliance with the basic canons of scientific research. The research was carried out in line with modern scientific approaches, the work consists of an introduction containing the formulation of the problem, the main part, traditionally beginning with a review of theoretical sources and scientific directions, a research and a final one, which presents the conclusions obtained by the author. It should be noted that the conclusion requires strengthening, it does not fully reflect the tasks set by the author and does not contain prospects for further research in line with the stated issues. The bibliography of the article contains 20 sources, among which works are presented exclusively in Russian. We believe that in this work it would be advisable to refer to the works of foreign researchers. Unfortunately, the article does not contain references to the fundamental works of Russian researchers, such as monographs, PhD and doctoral dissertations. It should be noted that the article violates the generally accepted alphabetical order of sources according to GOST. The comments made are not significant and do not detract from the overall positive impression of the reviewed work. Typos, grammatical and stylistic errors have not been identified. In general, it should be noted that the article is written in a simple, understandable language for the reader. The work is innovative, representing the author's vision of solving the issue under consideration and may have a logical continuation in further research. The practical significance of the research lies in the possibility of using its results in the teaching of university courses in journalism, as well as courses in interdisciplinary research on the relationship between language and society. The article will undoubtedly be useful to a wide range of people, philologists, undergraduates and graduate students of specialized universities. The article "The structure and functions of the fabulous media narrative of the Instagram social network (using the example of motivating content)" - the Meta group is recognized as an extremist organization in the territory of the Russian Federation - can be recommended for publication in a scientific journal.
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