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Algorithmic iconography: Intersections between iconography and social media image research

63% of social media consists of images: about 2,000,000,000 pictures are shared daily. I use iconography to understand why people find some pictures more resonant than others. As a case study, I examine the 1,000 most widely-shared tweets arising from the refugee crisis arising from the death of Alan Kurdi, the Syrian refugee child found drowned on a Turkish beach in 2015.

An Investigation of Syrian Conflict Photography on Flickr

The Arab Spring of 2011 saw the employment of social media, and contributed to the way in which photojournalists, citizen witnesses, and activists mediate and represent struggles and conflict in the Middle East (Allan, 2013). Looking particularly at Syria, the visual construction of the conflict is ever more present, and images of the war have become more common, as we now live in a world that is constructed more readily through imagery. Images are circulated with an unprecedented speed on global New Media outlets such as Facebook, Flickr and Twitter instantaneously (Anden-Papadopoulos and Pantti, 2013). Activists and citizen journalists have worked to gain public attention to fight against the Assad regime in Syria, largely through access to social media sites. In the process, activist groups such as Lens Young Dimashqi seek to record and document the conflict through photographic images of life during wartime.

Conferred 2017

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