King's College London, UK
"Storytelling between platformed design & user resistance
in the digital age"
Since their inception, social media have been keen to offer users storytelling facilities, in recognition of the power of storytelling for connecting people and in turn, of its marketing potential for harnessing users’ data. The gradual evolution of story-facilities online has led to the latest phase of a ‘storytelling boom’ whereby major platforms have been turning to the design of stories as features (e.g. Snapchat stories, Instagram stories, Facebook stories). I have been interrogating this ‘curation’ of stories for its implications for what types of stories, lives and subjectivities it is directive to, what it promotes and what it has the potential to silence. In this talk, drawing on my ongoing study of Instagram Stories, I will probe platformed, designed stories on the intersection between platform affordances & directives and users’ compliance but also resistance. What is the stories’ potential for socio-political activism by -often disenfranchised – individual users and groups? And equally what limits and constraints do they pose for user creativity and resistance? How can specific story-formats that are promoted by platforms be harnessed and disrupted by users? What types of curated story resources are more or less conducive to such disruptions?
Professor Alexandra Georgakopoulou is a discourse analyst with a focus on the role of communication in how ordinary people present themselves and relate to others in significant socialization contexts (e.g. family, friendship groups, school, leisure sites, social media platforms).
She has specifically examined the role of everyday life stories in the (re)formation of social relations and in (post)feminist and youth identity politics. This work has led to the development of small stories research, a paradigm for studying identities through narrative. She has published 12 books which include:
Small stories, interaction and identity, 2007, John Benjamins.
Analyzing narrative with Anna De Fina, 2012, CUP.
The Handbook of Narrative Analysis, co-edited with Anna De Fina, 2015, Wiley-Blackwell.
The Routledge Handbook of Language & Digital Communication, co-edited with Tereza Spilioti, 2016.
Quantified Storytelling. A Narrative Analysis of Metrics on Social Media, with Stefan Iversen and Carsten Stage, Palgrave, 2020
The Cambridge Handbook of Discourse Studies, co-edited with Anna De Fina, 2020.
Alexandra's latest study of small stories on social media has been carried out within the ERC project ‘Life-writing of the moment: The sharing and updating self on social media’.
Alexandra is (Co)-Editor of the Routledge Book Series Research in Narrative, interaction and discourse.