Research Project Website

This project Website evolved from the Master course 'Social Media Linguistics', held in summer term 2016 at the Anglistik department, University of Klagenfurt, Austria.

Participants put their acquired knowledge into practice through individual class projects. In their projects the students did not only present key issues in CMC studies, but also explored creative ways how to apply media-linguistic theories to practice.

The student projects covered the following fields:

  • /Logic behind the memes/: 'Input - the whole machinery behind internet memes; Output - two rows of text and a picture of a cat'.
    The term 'meme' was defined by the geneticist Richard Dawkins in his revolutionary book 'the selfish gene'. Dawkins defined several crucial characteristics of spreadable ideas that are also highly applicable for analyzing the phenomena of Internet memes. This research project investigates memes as socio-cultural artifacts and considers typical features of memes as an emerging genre.

  • /The Art of Fashion & Beauty Vlogs/ Vlogging is all the rage nowadays as it takes the art of blogging to a new level. The communication with the audience and sense of community with subscribers turn vlogs into a hybrid genre. Fashion & Beauty vlogs stand out among others due to their emotional appeal and special attention to settings and decorations. In pursuit of establishing their uniqueness, Fashion & Beauty vloggers make use of recognizable opening and closing sequences as well as pointing gestures.

  • /The Instagram Caption Effect/ The research project about the role of the caption on Instagram aimed to create a few simple rules for increased spreadability of the content through the optimization of the photo captions. The results are the regulators for the structure of the captions in a newly created profile topicalizing a training method. As shown in the examples it includes strategies as used by successful users to increase visability and to maximize interaction in the media - Another application of linguistic theory to a unique context in the new media.

  • /I'm not complaining, but...Linguistic (Im)politeness in Online Contexts/ Online discussions, comments social network sites, just like customer feedback comments in online shops (cf. eBay) commonly provoke aggressive verbal antagonism in the user. Complaining in online situations takes place without social context cues. Upgrading modifiers such as aggressiveness, time reference or sarcasm as well as the use of certain pronouns are intended to threaten the face of the conversational partner.
    This project applies the concept of linguistic politeness (positive and negative face) to inappropriate linguitic behavor on online customer reviews.

Today we are beginning to notice that the new media are not just mechanical gimmicks for creating worlds of illusion, but new languages with new and unique powers of expression.
~ Marshall McLuhan