M2: Unit 3 – Q7.2 Answer

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Websites are ideal platforms for presenting particular versions of narratives. The ability to edit websites at a moment’s notice fits well with the temporary nature of narratives, as websites can be updated to adapt to changes in narratives as they develop. The capacity to link to other websites is also useful. Authors of web pages can use selective appropriation when linking to other websites or articles in order to support the particular narrative which they are trying to promote. The typical ‘useful links’ page found on many websites can therefore be seen as a way of marking out a website’s position within a framework of related narratives, drawing on the feature of relationality.

Mission statements or ‘about us’ pages also provide an interesting area to explore, as they offer a clear demonstration of how the author or authors wish a particular narrative to be interpreted. This is evident in the case of the ‘about us’ section of Babels, a not-for-profit interpreting organisation, as explored by Boeri (2009).  Images can also be used to support particular versions of narratives. Baker (2007) discusses the framing strategies used by news website Watching America, arguing that the site specifically uses images which support its narrative of Arab societies as violent and dangerous. We will read more about the use of images to frame narratives in our discussion of framing in Chapter 9 .

Social media sites such as Facebook are also interesting in terms of how they are used to frame personal narratives. Facebook profiles encourage individuals to use selective appropriation in order to present themselves to the world in a highly controlled way. Everything from the choice of books and TV programmes we profess to enjoy to the images we use as profile pictures is selected in order to present a particular version of our personal narrative to the world. The ability to ‘untag’ unflattering or embarrassing photos allows us to reject items which do not fit with the personal narrative we aim to circulate in public.