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Learn to speak the language of influencers

Published: 9 September 2021 at 12:00

Young woman using smart phone

British Science Festival event examines the words and emojis of online persuasion

A new wave of Insta-celebs and influencers has swept the globe – but how does the language they use make them such effective marketers? Learn to speak their language at a free British Science Festival talk.

Linguists Dr Vahid Parvaresh, of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and Professor Michelle Sheehan of Newcastle University will discuss the language of Insta-persuasion at the event in Chelmsford on Friday, 10 September.

Top social media influencers have been catapulted to fame in recent years, with some boasting millions of followers, making them a prime vehicle for brands to market their products.

Dr Parvaresh and Professor Sheehan will explore the language they use on social media and show how it differs from general internet language in its content and intent. In particular, they examine female health and beauty influencers, tracing the semantic fields they cover and the keywords they employ. 

While there are individual differences, key to their skills are the blending of elements of informal grammar, punctuation and spelling with a standard marketing message. The use of certain emojis eclipses all other non-standard features of their language, encoding a deeply gendered ‘sweetness’ which belies their commercial intent. 
Dr Parvaresh, Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at ARU, said:

“Influencers ‘influence’ people and what we buy by making social media personal. In many posts, the product manufacturers are othered as ‘they’, while the influencer aligns herself with the client as ‘us’. They use language to grab and keep our attention in a world overflowing with content to stream and swipe through.”


The event takes place at 2pm on 10 September at ARU’s Chelmsford campus. Places are free but must be booked in advance. To book, visit https://britishsciencefestival.seetickets.com/event/influencinglanguage/mab221/1986131