Instagram is currently the social media platform most associated with online images (and their analysis), but images from other platforms also can be collected and grouped, arrayed by similarity, stacked, matched, stained, labelled, depicted as network, placed side by side and otherwise analytically displayed. In the following, the initial focus is on Instagram, together with certain schools of thought such as Instagramism and Instagrammatics for its aesthetic and visual cultural study. Building on those two approaches, it subsequently focuses on other web and social media platforms, such as Google Image Search, Twitter, Facebook and 4chan. It provides demonstrations of how querying techniques create online image collections, and how these sets are analytically grouped through arrangements collectively referred to as metapictures.
Richard Rogers is Professor of New Media & Digital Culture, Media Studies, University of Amsterdam. He is director of the Digital Methods Initiative, known for the development of software tools for the study of online data. His most recent books are Doing Digital Methods (Sage, 2019) and the edited volume (with Sabine Niederer), The Politics of Social Media Manipulation (Amsterdam University Press, 2020). He is currently working on Mainstreaming the Fringe: How Misinformation Propagates on Social Media (Amsterdam University Press, 2021) as well as projects on visual media studies, a technical definition of memes and the art of critical analytics.