Image vs. text in narratives: The case study of National Geographic’s Instagram

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Pillai, Akash M.
Issue Date
MA of Business Administration
Dublin Business School
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National Geographic utilises Instagram in a unique way using high quality images and long captions in the form of text. The research question was that how National Geographic conveys overall meaning by using both image and text narratives in their Instagram posts. This is important because Instagram is an image sharing social media platform and the role of content in the form of images and texts play a very important role. Thus, understanding effect of images and text can be useful. To answer this research, question this research used photo elicitation interviews of four participants by showing them twelve photographs of National Geographic without the caption and their written response was taken and analysed. The quantitative content analysis of the captions of the photographs was done using Mieke Bal’s framework of narratology. Finally, using these two methods the effect of Images alone and text alone was determined and then the combined effect was analysed to answer the research question. The final outcome of the thesis based on the analysis of the data from the research participants and the content was that the images of national geographic evoked emotions and creativity and participants could create stories about the image , the text on the other hand is not describing the image but it is creating a narrative situation about the same image and this creates a vision which the narrator wants the reader to be seen. Finally, both the images and text together are successful in creating the narration which is effective to draw attention of people towards it. Thus, the conclusion was that the image and text are both important in their own aspects and that the image has its own effects and the text has its own effects of narration. National Geographic utilizes both these effectively and hence according to the researcher this is one of the reasons they are successful on Instagram.