Image, word, action: interpersonal dynamics in a photo-sharing community

Cyberpsychol Behav. 2008 Oct;11(5):555-60. doi: 10.1089/cpb.2007.0153.


In online photo-sharing communities, the individual's expression of self and the relationships that evolve among members is determined by the kinds of images that are shared, by the words exchanged among members, and by interpersonal actions that do not specifically rely on images or text. This article examines the dynamics of personal expression via images in Flickr, including a proposed system for identifying the dimensions of imagistic communication and a discussion of the psychological meanings embedded in a sequence of images. It explores how photographers use text descriptors to supplement their images and how different types of comments on photographs influence interpersonal relationships. The "fav"--when members choose an image as one of their favorites--is examined as one type of action that can serve a variety of interpersonal functions. Although images play a powerful role in the expression of self, it is the integration of images, words, and actions that maximize the development of relationships.

MeSH terms

  • Art
  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Photography*
  • Self Concept
  • Social Behavior*
  • User-Computer Interface