Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Editorial | Open Access

Introduction to Visual Communication in the Age of Social Media: Conceptual, Theoretical and Methodological Challenges

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Abstract:  This thematic issue of Media and Communication focuses attention on the shift towards visual images on social media as well as the transformation of visual communication which has occurred within the online ecology of social media platforms. The sharing of images is becoming an integral part of the social media experience today, and given that social media platforms are the prime locus for sociability—at least among young people in the West—this shift towards visuals arguably transforms how we relate to each other and the world around us, as well as how we perceive and construct our sense of self. For researchers, this raises conceptual, theoretical and methodological challenges. This thematic issue presents six articles as well as a book review on visual communication in social media focusing on developing a conceptual apparatus and precise definitions of objects and practices of study as well as contributions that address and discuss the methodological challenges as well as their potential solutions. The idea was to synergize research from a wide variety of communication-related disciplines on this rather new topic.

Keywords:  images; Instagram; Facebook; practices; qualitative methods; Twitter; visual communication; visual social media



© Uta Russmann, Jakob Svensson. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.