Понедельник, 15 июляИнститут «Высшая школа журналистики и массовых коммуникаций» СПбГУ

Network nominations of media communication participants in the modern Russian language

Statement of the problem. Transfer of traditional forms of communication into the “convergent synthetic space of the social relations, communicative actions and media activity” [Blokhin 2016: 255] has led to the transformation of the existing social roles of communication participants [Gavra 2005–2006; Issers 2012]. The considerable “distance” communicative separation of printed and audiovisual media staff and their readers, audience and listeners was replaced by a possibility of direct and live online communication between the journalist and the audience via comments to the written text [Internet-kommunicatsiia… 2012; Gorina 2016]. The role of the subject — object interaction addressee’s interactivity and involvement in creation of media content existing in network in the form of hypertext has considerably increased [Ryazantseva 2010; Shchipitsina 2010]. In certain cases it leads to the decentralization of communication and to the transformation of the object of media communication into a full-fledged subject (the subject — subject interaction). Actually the relations between communicants remained the same: the sender and the addressee, the journalist and the audience, the author and the reader, the speaker and the listener, i.e. in a broad sense, there is a certain sender and a certain recipient of the message, however, the role base of their behavior in a media sphere have undergone some quality changes that was also reflected in the media communication subject’s nominations.

Background. Studying of media communication subjects’ nominations in the digital environment is traditionally conducted in line with the research of both assimilation of English computer slang and the speech-creative potential of the Russian language in the Russian Internet communication of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s which took place at forums and imageboards [Likholitov 1997; Kutuzov 2006; Maksimova 2010; Guseinov 2014]. D. V. Ivanov thoroughly studied the sources of this process which started with social computerization promoting rapid virtualization of society [Ivanov 2002].

Material analysis. The virtualization of society brought about the formation of the media reality [Polonsky 2016] which caused the transformation of professional activity forms (a designer — a web-designer, a consultant — an Internet consultant, a political strategist — a web-political strategist, etc.) and the emergence of “professions” connected with monetization of network activity (an Instagram model, a video blogger, a gamer, a webcam-model, a streamer, etc.). In this regard, the phenomenon of priests working in the Worldwide network (so-called “Internet fathers”), preaching on the Internet and absolving sins via online and offline confession is extremely curious. The modern principles of receiving and dissemination of information led, among other things, to the emergence of such nominations as pranker ‘a person who obtains information by means of a prank call (manipulative telephone or Internet joke)’ and faker ‘ a creator and/or a distributor of fakes, i.e. counterfeit (news) information’ [Ilchenko 2016].

At the same time, the question of the degree of communicative activity professionalizing in Network is to be discussed: for example, whether video blogging is really a job or only a simple hobby, an occupation accompanied with a certain income (about formation of of the professional person category, its features and the linguistic form, see: [Golovanova 2004; Iakovleva 2009]). Therefore, in certain cases, it seems difficult to define the place of a media communication subject in opposition “an amateur — a professional” and to qualify its nomination as the nomination of a general sort or as a professionally associated nomination. Thus, in general understanding the subject of the media speech is the author of posts, texts and articles, and its identification by this or that nomination is generated by the discourse environment of the person’s existence itself.

Some of the nominations have become outdated, and now they are used seldom or restrictedly in media communication: ламер (lamer) — for designation of an incompetent self-confident computer user; нуб (noob), нью­фаг (newfag) and чай­ник (chainick, i.e. newbie) — for designation of an Internet new-comer; крас­но­гла­зик (krasnoglazick, i.e. red-eyer) — for the users writing in the Internet at night because of the lower cost of night traffic, they have red eyes after the sleepless night; битард (/b/tard) — for designation of the frequenter of popular sections of imageboard, etc. The communicative popularity and rate gradually decrease for such nominations as

  • юзер (user ‘Internet user’; spelling options ouser, usver’ and usverg to name the beginner as ouser or the experienced user as usverg; they are replaced by the original word поль­зо­ва­тель / polzovatel’ as a neutral word for ‘user’ in Russian);
  • смай­ло­фаг (smileyfag) and смай­ло­фил (smileyphil) ‘the user who loves various smilies and emojies’;
  • кар­мад­ро­чер (karmadrocher) ‘karmafapper, the user with painful reverence for the network reputation expressed by pluses, likes, etc.;
  • хомя­чок (khomyatchock, i.e. little hamster) ‘a trustful user who is easily giving in to manipulation’;
  • падо­нак (padonak) ‘a geek-user intentionally breaking spelling standards of Russian (like ‘authar’, ‘hullou’, ‘vrite moore’).

The nomination моде­ра­тор (moderator) ‘the user given authority for rules observance management’ remains mainly the achievement of forum communication. The nomination спа­мер (spammer) ‘the user distributing advertizing messages by e‑mail and in large quantities, leaving them at forums and in social networks’ is strictly limited. The modern network nominations of media communication subjects in Russian are formed on the same grammatical models and go through similar stages of semantic adaptation which need various time for each new nomination.

When generally discussing a media communication subject as an information media language personality, the point is either about a certain type of a media figure (a journalist, a writer, a politician, a blogger, etc.) or about a person of syncretic type embodying certain discourse settings in a certain cognitive style [Bolotnova 2017: 10–65]. In this case the concept “subject of media communication” is accepted for analysis as an indivisible part of media communication shown for the research in a finished form and in role behavior stability.

At the same time it is possible to allocate three types of nomination of such a language personality, because in the media reality there is a semantic differentiation of key nominations of a media communication subject in the course of network communication (each type can be considered both in real and in imaginary aspect):

1. The identification nomination, which is carried out by participants of communication directly in the course of communication (“everyone knows everyone” communication type). For example, the nomination тролль (troll) by the identification nomination designates a user who is intentionally carrying out the provocative destructive activity aiming at violation of other users’ personal comfort space for the purpose of receiving moral satisfaction (about methods of trolling in media see: [Duskayeva, Konyaeva 2017]). Trolling, by definition of communication participants, can be ‘thick’ (rough explicit provocation which is rather obvious for potential victims) and ‘thin’ (masterful use of the disguised rhetorical receptions, balance on the verge of violation of the rules adopted in this Internet resource). Different types of trolls are allocated (a troll adviser, an asking troll, a troll know-it-all, a sexual troll, a troll-parent, a troll-pensioner, etc.). The troll who is acting only in his own interests should be nominatively distinguished from the provoker or so-called зажи­гал­ка (zazhigalka, i.e. trigger) whose activity can be approved by moderators of forums and social nets, because they sort of “provoke” users softly and bring benefit to the website in the form of Internet traffic, the number of viewings and posts thus increasing the level of attendance.

2. The self-identification nomination is connected with a communicative self-feeling of the media communication subject. Using self-identification nomination, the user can resolutely protest against his recognition as a troll (because in his mind, the concept of trolling has a negative connotation) or recognize the full legitimacy of this definition with obvious satisfaction and even pride (no wonder, western researches quite often describe troll as a psychotype [Hardaker 2010; Van Reenen 2013; Buckels, Paulhus, Trapnell 2014; Cheng, Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, Leskovec 2014]). Similarly, a user indulged into active writing or video activity in the blogosphere is ordinary designated by nomination бло­гер (blogger) or video blogger (вло­гер / vlogger), yet, due to the conceptual convergence, the person can sincerely consider himself to be a true journalist, not even having the special journalist education.

3. The representation nomination is based on viewing the subject of media communication “from outside”, when there is a need to introduce the person to the audience (guest type of communication) or to characterize someone’s activity in a certain communicative situation. This type of nomination can lead to the shift of semantic accents. We can see such examples in the ideologically formulated media headlines: Vladimir Putin trolled Poroshenko and Putin trolled the American democrats for the A‑mark — the designation of the Russian President’s actions as trolling is enthusiastically approved and positively assessed. Similar is the case with the nomination of a political strategist Anna Fedorova in material of the female magazine “Wonderzine”: she was called полит­тех­но­ло­гес­са (polittechnologesse) which can be considered as an obvious example of flirting with feminists’ audience (Anna Fedorova herself doesn’t use the feminizing suffix for self-determination).

In many cases the nomination of the media communication subject contains a negative semantic component and is used in the pejorative function: for example the professional копи­рай­тер (copywriter) and the pejorative копи­раст (copyrast). The nomination флу­дер (flooder) describes a user leaving a large number of senseless and/or identical messages, but not aiming at offending someone; though flood can be considered as the predecessor of trolling, compare with brightly negative флу­де­раст (flooderast). The nomination флей­мер (flamer) designating a dispute adopt for the sake of dispute itself even if polemic leaves the main discussion limits is seldom used though the phenomenon of a flame is rather widespread. Similar is the situation with the nomination офф­то­пер (offtopper ‘the user leaving posts out of the discussion subject’) and a concept офф­то­пинг (off topping) as the process designation. In its destructive potential, troll is really similar to бот (bot) nomination ‘a user whose actions remind of a computer program work, who is mechanically producing messages according to the set algorithm, whose purpose is bringing discussion to the actual impossibility of further communication’ (similar mechanisms are used for “muting” discussions in network devoted to acute socio-political questions). A kind of destructive communication is combination of trolling with mechanicalness, which subject is designated by трол­ле­бот (trollebot) nomination (like the activity of St. Petersburg “factory of trolls”, which provoked a considerable political public response, or the so-called “Kremlin trolls”, i.e. the participants of media communication showing purposeful destructive Internet activity not due to some personal features, but on a commercial basis).

Nominations designating a kind of activity, constructive in its nature, or positive vital installations also have negative semantics. Such nominations develop in case of unlimited and unilateral activity of the media communication subject: e.g., зож­ник (zozhnik) a person-supporter of a healthy lifestyle (zdorovyj obraz zhizni) and фито­няш­ка (fitonyashka) ‘a pretty girl who does fitness actively’ — in both cases the excessively categorical promotion of the useful activity has led to ironic reconsideration of the nominations. The nominations designating activity in Instagram network also may be ironical: инста­грамм­щи­ца (instagramshchitsa) ‘a girl fixing each her action in Instagram with comical meticulousness’, similarly — insta-mother, insta-wife, insta-daughter, etc. (there is a tendency of more often usage of “male” analogs: instagramshchik ‘insta-guy’, insta-father, insta-husband, insta-son, etc.). The irony is amplified by addition of a venomous epithet typical to the corresponding nomination. The new “profession” noted above get an important problem with people’s perception: e.g., an insta-model / insta-star is quite often exposed to a derision as a pseudo-activity (see the corresponding Internet memes and demotivators), because to get this profession, as sneering people think, it is enough to have only a pretty look in the absence of intellectual efforts, i.e. the insta-model has no special knowledge or professional skills acquired in the course of training, which distinguish this kind of activity as the professional one in public consciousness [Golovanova 2004].

Conclusions. The communicative potential of the media communication subject’s
network nomination differs in a variety of discursive characteristics, dynamics and variability of semantic filling and is of a particular scientific interest as one of the brightest manifestations of mediatization of the modern people’s life.

Ста­тья посту­пи­ла в редак­цию 15 мая 2018 г.;
реко­мен­до­ва­на в печать 1 сен­тяб­ря 2018 г.

© Санкт-Петер­бург­ский госу­дар­ствен­ный уни­вер­си­тет, 2018

Received: May 15, 2018
Accepted: September 1, 2018