Mastewal Adane Mellese / Marion G. Müller

A Typology of Profile Pictures: How Do Young Adults Acquire Profile Images on Facebook?

In the past decade, the social networking site Facebook has become one of the largest image databases globally, with an estimated user base of more than one billion, and still growing. The profile picture is central to each user-generated website. Thus, from the perspective of communication science, understanding the particular features, patterns and structures of this new type of ‘mass medium’ is a highly relevant endeavor. But how can cross-culturally shared images be compared? To create the categories for describing and analyzing profile images, particular types and patterns have to be identified. In this exploratory research, the few already existing typologies of internet-based visuals are discussed, and a new tentative typology is presented, with the goal of better understanding the acquisition and production structures in visual online communication networks.

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