Academic writing on images vs. text on the Internet
October 26, 2021 7:06 AM   Subscribe

Academics of MetaFilter! I'm working on a paper and am hoping to put some meat behind the received wisdom that the Internet is a visual space where images perform better than text. It's almost a "water is wet" problem where it's so understood that few people have bothered to prove it.

It's not difficult to find "hey marketers! Tweets with images perform 3x better than ones without (no proof provided)" articles online, but my academic search powers are modest, and I'm wondering if anyone else in this space has trod this ground before and had more luck at finding actual peer-reviewed studies showing that image response > text response on social media.

This isn't really the main thrust of the paper (generally, I'm writing on privacy rights as juxtaposed against growing demand for images online), but I'm not comfortable just declaring that the Internet is an image-driven video without any there there to back up the statement.
posted by Shepherd to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
How would you want to measure or understand “image response?”
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:57 AM on October 26, 2021

hey marketers! Tweets with images perform 3x better than ones without (no proof provided)

This is literally what social media services like Hubspot and Buffer measure for their customers. Buffer shared their own stats there. what are you constituting as proof?
posted by DarlingBri at 8:08 AM on October 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

I don't think you will find a definitive answer to this, it is going to depend on the text and the image being compared, that said I think you may find the works of Edward Tufte informative on the subject.
posted by Lanark at 8:49 AM on October 26, 2021

Best answer: A suggestion: I wonder whether the National Foundation for the Blind or another disability rights organization may have quantified the lack of access to internet information, conversation, context, &c., that is experienced by people who rely on screen readers and image description. That might be a fruitful place to look.
posted by gauche at 9:27 AM on October 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

On mobile so can't link, but I see a few promising google scholar results using the following search terms: engagement + text + video.
posted by oceano at 9:31 AM on October 26, 2021

Perform better at what?
posted by clew at 10:05 AM on October 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? An Empirical Study of Image Content and Social Media Engagement

I would trawl their introduction and reference list for other related studies as well.
posted by brook horse at 10:24 AM on October 26, 2021

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