Words and Images on Social Media

I’d like to talk about the combination of words and images – how it can tell a more detailed story and/or add humor to a situation.

The first I’m referring to is the “type of word/picture combination [that] is the interdependent, where words and pictures go hand in hand to convey an idea that neither could convey alone.”

This is seen a lot in picture sharing social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
I’ll use one of my recent tweets as an example. It contains both a picture and some words to accurately describe an experience of mine.

Here’s the text:

“Sidewalks in Pittsburgh can be very uneven.”

On its own, this is just a sentence describing some of the sidewalks in Pittsburgh.

Here’s the accompanying photo:


On its own, this photo just shows some legs and a hand, scraped and bloodied, implying some sort of trip or fall, most likely.

Separately, the words and the image each give a little bit of information about two things that could very easily be independent of one another. But when you combine the two into a single tweet, it becomes apparent that I tripped over an uneven sidewalk in Pittsburgh. This combination tells a more complete story.

In a lot of cases, adding a witty caption or comment can really add humor to, or further enhance, a photograph. This is known as “the additive combination where words amplify or elaborate on an image and vice versa.” I’m going to use another tweet as an example.

Here’s the photo:


And the witty accompanying text:

“Mallory sleeps with whoars”

Some people didn’t get it at first, so I’m just going to explain. It’s a play on the words ‘whore’ and ‘oar.’ GET IT, HAHAHAHAHAHAH, I’M SO PUNNY!!!!!!

So, these are two ways in which words and images are combined to accomplish different tasks – telling a better story without overly descriptive text or too many visuals, or to enhance the experience of a picture or bit of text. I see them used a lot, especially in social media, so that’s why I wanted to comment on these phenomena, specifically.

The two quotes from this blog post came from https://composingdigital.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/mccloud_show_and_tell.pdf


About thehudsonbay

I'm Mallory. I made this blog for one of my classes, but have yet to blog on it. I like art and running and music.
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