On the one hand, the relevance of research is due to the great social, managerial and research potential of the ‘national idea’ concept; on the other hand, the possible risks of incorrect formation and implementation against the background of poor development of a comprehensive methodology for analysing its construction logic. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to identify and conceptualise, in the context of the theory of formality and informality, the dominant logics of understanding and shaping of the national idea that have emerged today in the modern media space. The article focuses on a comparative analysis of two dominant logics, formal (traditional), where it is understood as a directive formed by elites and is centrally determined for the general public, regardless of the local cultural characteristics of its members; and informal, the emergence of which is due to individualisation, heterogeneity, multiculturalism of modern society, and it involves an appeal to the plurality of bases and cultural nuances as well as intersecting local practices as a basis for building a new concept of the national idea. In the second version, the national idea is considered as a ‘national idea for me’, which is formed in the cross flow of official sources of information along with informal communities, personal connections and alternative versions of other nations. Differences in the language of description and forms of broadcasting, which determine the formal and informal versions of the national idea and circulate through various channels and differ in the corresponding content, are of great importance. Methodologically, we rely on the theory of formality and informality, social topology, social heterology, the provisions of the general intellect theory. Data collection methods (focused on a qualitative strategy): scientometric analysis, analysis of scientific texts, community review on VK.com, Facebook, and news analysis in the official media. The research was carried out with Russian materials and the article provides an overview and arranges academic approaches that determine both logics, describes the main media channels and distribution practices of both versions, as well as the corresponding communication features. The strengths and weaknesses of the selected approaches are indicated by taking into account the modern cultural context.