"Vision Fulfills by Emptying the Mind": On Online Motivational Messages (abstract)
2018. május 30. szerda, 15:17

Motivational messages combining images and texts represent a significant portion of content shared on Facebook, the social networking website which reached two billion users in June 2017. I have studied image–text relations in connection with digital communication since 2010 (infographics, memes, emoticons and reacti
on gifs, hashtags and images, profiles and profile images, visual trolls) and this work is now extended with the examination of wisdom messages. These text-based images can be considered as a special subtype of internet memes: although their primary aim is the same (to spread through shares), while memes achieve this with humour, surprise and novelty, motivational messages engage users with their banality which makes them seem generally applicable. The veracity and original source of such messages are difficult, if not impossible, to check (and, indeed, many users do not even try tocheck the correctness of alleged quotations). My hypothesis is that this asymmetry in information, which could well be regarded as a manipulative strategy, puts the user who creates the image-text into a dominant or even opinion-leader position. The paper sets out to examine the verbal and visual (non-verbal) means of achieving communication dominance (as a kind of information power) by posting motivational messages. The visual elements (image, font, text formatting) are indispensable factors in the "success" of motivational messages circulating on social media: these image-text combinations also prove the victory of the pictorial turn.

I owe the title of this talk to Kristóf Nyíri.