• Chatting through pictures? A classification of images tweeted in one week in the UK and USA

      Thelwall, Mike; Goriunova, Olga; Vis, Farida; Faulkner, Simon; Burns, Anne; Aulich, Jim; Mas-Bleda, Amalia; Stuart, Emma; D'Orazio, Francesco; Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group; School of Mathematics and Computer Science; University of Wolverhampton; Wulfruna Street Wolverhampton WV1 1LY UK; Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies; University of Warwick; Gibbet Hill Road Coventry CV4 7AL UK; Information School; University of Sheffield; Regent Court, 211 Portobello Sheffield S1 4DP UK; Manchester School of Art; Manchester Metropolitan University; Cavendish Street Manchester M15 6BR UK; Information School; University of Sheffield; Regent Court, 211 Portobello Sheffield S1 4DP UK; Manchester School of Art; Manchester Metropolitan University; Cavendish Street Manchester M15 6BR UK; Institute of Public Goods and Policies; Spanish National Research Council (CSIC); C/Albasanz 26-28 28037 Madrid Spain; Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group; School of Mathematics and Computer Science; University of Wolverhampton; Wulfruna Street Wolverhampton WV1 1LY UK; Pulsar; 7 Midford Place London W1T 5BG UK (2015-10-22)
      Twitter is used by a substantial minority of the populations of many countries to share short messages, sometimes including images. Nevertheless, despite some research into specific images, such as selfies, and a few news stories about specific tweeted photographs, little is known about the types of images that are routinely shared. In response, this article reports a content analysis of random samples of 800 images tweeted from the UK or USA during a week at the end of 2014. Although most images were photographs, a substantial minority were hybrid or layered image forms: phone screenshots, collages, captioned pictures, and pictures of text messages. About half were primarily of one or more people, including 10% that were selfies, but a wide variety of other things were also pictured. Some of the images were for advertising or to share a joke but in most cases the purpose of the tweet seemed to be to share the minutiae of daily lives, performing the function of chat or gossip, sometimes in innovative ways.