This project is part of the Picturing the Social research.
This project explores the different ways in which images are made visible on social media platforms, focusing on the role of ‘structures’ in the creation of social media data. It considers how we might think about ‘algorithmic visibility’ in different ways; how algorithms like Facebook’s Edgerank make certain images visible to users, but not others. This opens up possibilities to think about what such algorithmic sorting might mean within different scenarios. One such scenario is to think about how not seeing certain images might prematurely close down the possibility to engage with others online, something that is explored in more detail as part of the Selfie Citizenship workshop.
The second way in which the project is concerned with issues of visibility is to consider image-sharing practices on Twitter during the platform’s 8-year history. Whilst it is possible to share images directly on the platform now, this has not always been the case. Image sharing was not possible when the platform was first launched. The desire from users to share images in their tweets gave rise to the development of a number of popular third-party applications and services. Over time Twitter has made image sharing both more possible and more restricted in different ways. This part of the project explores the implications of these different image-sharing strategies from both a platform and user perspective.