Virtual Romans and Virtual French: Recontextualization of Political News in the Format of Playing with History
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New Media Communication Technologies Gaming Technologies Media Consumption Political Communications Virtual Communities News Agenda Language Practices Internet Audience Humor

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Miziryak, N. (2024). Virtual Romans and Virtual French: Recontextualization of Political News in the Format of Playing with History. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 6(1), 77-99.


The oversaturation of information flows and the competition among diverse viewpoints underscore the significance of every message that captures the audience’s attention and provokes discussion. Thus, exploring new formats and methods for attracting attention to news agendas, analyzing innovative persuasion techniques, and scrutinizing gaps and overlooked aspects in discussion platforms become particularly crucial in cutting-edge media studies. One such innovative format for news perception and discussion can be found in virtual pseudo-historical public pages on VK. These pages engage with the real socio-political news agenda, stylized as events from different eras such as ancient Rome and 19th-century France.

The aim of our research is to identify techniques for attracting attention, encouraging discussion, and persuading audiences in these selected public forums. We analyzed the characteristics of recontextualized news presentations, including the transposition of time and place, renaming key figures and technologies, and the nuances of internal humor on these public pages. A primary focus of these pages is political news, particularly the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, which is metaphorically represented through the lens of the Punic or Napoleonic wars. This juxtaposition of historical and contemporary perspectives enables users to interpret the political agenda differently. This pseudo-historical linguistic play and unique humor bypass critical perception filters, and once readers accept the internal logic of the public pages, they also tend to accept the narratives presented. The ability to comment on posts allows users to engage in the same narrative style, broaden the scope of news discussions, and involve their friends by reposting to their own pages.
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