A Typology of Social Network Users of in the Metaphorical Mirror of the Russian Mass-Media
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Abstract: Classification and portrayal of social network users is one of the most topical issues of Internet linguistics. The present article solves the given problem by means of analysis of metaphorical nominations of virtual communication participants that allows characterizing the features of their behavior in social networks and revealing the behavioral characteristics regularly found in the focus of attention of national mass-media. To analyze the material under study, the author uses the procedure of metaphorical modelling presupposing identification of areas-sources of metaphorical expansion used in the Russian mass-media to characterize social network users, discovery of the reasons of metaphorical transfer of meanings, and explication of existing evaluations. The method also employs content-analysis used to calculate the frequency of the metaphorical models revealed. The metaphors which circulate in the Russian mass-media allow creating a typology of users of social networks, in which the following groups can be singled out: 1) experienced users, who freely navigate social networks and feel at ease (surfers, residents) and inept users, hardly finding the necessary network information (lost travelers); 2) young (natives) and senior users (immigrants); 3) creative, able to build up new content (spiders), and passive consumers of another person’s content (flies); 4) virtual aggressors (spiders) and their victims (flies), as well as those susceptible to manipulation (hamsters). The presented typology is based on the conceptual oppositions “activity – passivity”, “creativity – propensity to imitate”, “competence – incompetence”, “youth – maturity”, and “aggressor – victim”. The most frequent metaphors go back to English sources and are random occurrences of the metaphorical models used by mass-media to interpret the phenomenon of social networks. Specifically, the metaphors of network “spiders” and “flies” are caused by the existence of the metaphorical model “SOCIAL NETWORKS IS A WEB”, the metaphors of “tenants” go back to the metaphorical model “SOCIAL NETWORKS IS A HOUSE”, and the metaphors of surfers emerge as a result of expansion of the metaphorical model “SOCIAL NETWORK IS AN OCEAN”. The majority of the metaphors describing social network users in mass-media have negative connotations, which can be attributed to the situation of potential conflict risk in social networks, high incidence of users’ retreat from reality and dependence on social networking sites (social media addiction).
Key words: CONCEPTUAL METAPHORS; METAPHORICAL MODELS; METAPHORICAL MODELING; MEDIA LINGUISTICS; MEDIA DISCOURSE; MEDIA TEXTS; SOCIAL NETWORKS; INTERNET DISCOURSE; SOCIAL NETWORKS USERS; RUSSIAN LANGUAGE
Kondratyeva, O. N. (2020). A Typology of Social Network Users of in the Metaphorical Mirror of the Russian Mass-Media. In Philological Class. 2020. Vol. 25 ⋅ №1. P. 62-72. DOI 10.26170/FK20-01-06.