What is it about?

This paper analyses the way young people negotiate their ‘real’ identity in 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.

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Why is it important?

The core question in our research is whether what counts as ‘authentic’, ‘real’ and ‘credible’ among these young Basque speakers fluctuates according to Instagram’s scale-levels or not. We focus on 1) how such stylistic choices may be shaped by a desire to project a ‘real’ or ‘authentic’ identity as well as whether choosing Basque is considered appropriate for that goal and why, and 2) if so, which resources from Basque they consider to be the better tools in order to achieve that goal. Furthermore, we explore whether 3) Basque varieties evoke different indexicality with respect to authenticity across different Instagram contexts or scale-levels; for instance, across chats and Timelines.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: How to be authentic on Instagram, Pragmatics Quarterly Publication of the International Pragmatics Association (IPrA), October 2022, John Benjamins,
DOI: 10.1075/prag.21026.elo.
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