Which image types do universities tweet?

Emma Stuart, Mike Thelwall, David Stuart


Universities use social media to attract prospective staff, students, and funding; to engage with current students; and to support teaching and learning. Images on social media are becoming particularly dominant, and whilst Twitter is not primarily an image-based social media service, nonetheless 36 percent of links shared on Twitter point to an image. This research paper compares the types of images that universities post on Twitter to the results of previous research that has investigated the types of images that universities post on Instagram, in order to better understand how universities are using the two services for image sharing.

The most popular type of image tweeted by universities was showcasing (61 percent), followed by humanizing images (20.9 percent). The dominance of showcasing images on Twitter fits with the notion of Twitter as an information source rather than a networking source, with it predominantly being used as a means of one-way communication with current students to broadcast university-specific information, rather than for attracting prospective staff, students, and funding, or to support teaching and learning.


Twitter; images; social media; Instagram; universities

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v24i3.9225

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