Explaining the Islamic State’s Online Media Strategy: A Transmedia Approach

The Islamic State’s (IS) online propaganda has been analyzed from various perspectives aimed at defining the role of the Internet, the power of social media networks, and the main narratives processed online by terrorist organizations. Nevertheless, very little research has focused on defining IS’s comprehensive media strategy. To date, IS propaganda has been defined as multidimensional or as a mix of techniques related to moviemaking and video games. In consideration of the highly sophisticated IS online dissemination activity and its impact on Western youth who are already familiar with intensive media consumption, this article explores IS propaganda through a Hollywood-style transmedia approach. I analyze, through a qualitative content analysis of the magazine Dabiq narratives, IS propaganda as a comprehensive transmedia strategy centered on three key assets: synergistic storytelling, imaginary world-making, and semantic triggering.

Tags: Content Analysis, ISIS, Qualitative, Violent Jihadism