We used to just talk, now we talk photos.
Social media has shifted human communication towards the visual at the expense of text and voice. Now a photo can become the core of our conversation.
In this film, taken from our e-learning course, Juliano Spyer compares our Brazilian and Chilean fieldsites. He shows how understanding people’s aspirations helps to explain new visual genres of posting.
In Trinidad, as in Brazil, most posts on social media are visual in nature, tending to attract more `likes’ than textual posts. There is also considerable emphasis on looking good, as seen in this film.
Thanks to the emphasis on visual content, in our Indian fieldsite people who are completely illiterate are able to use social media.
Although factory workers are literate, they may lack confidence as a result of limited schooling so that images are almost as important as text in communication.
Images can give online communication the same sense of proximity and intensity as face-to-face communication, as we found in Turkey with families who are physically separated.