Communication Institute for Online Scholarship
Communication Institute for Online Scholarship
CIOS Site Index
ComAbstractsVisual Communication Concept ExplorerTable of ContentsElectronic Journal of Communication

EJC logo
The Electronic Journal of Communication / La Revue Electronique de Communication


Special Issue

Image is the New Text: The Rise of Digital Visuals in Communication

Today, we have entered a post-text world where the written word is no longer the principal mode of communication. Instead, a stream of digital visuals, in the form of pictures, photos, GIFs, infographics, memes, and videos, flood users? smartphones, iPads, laptops, and other digital devices. Exposure to digital visuals happens everywhere ? social media sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat), online newspapers, emails, blogs, and digital messaging applications. Recent reports indicate that by the end of 2018 a majority of all marketing communication will be visual. Scholars have concluded that visuals are more easily remembered, recalled, and recognized than words. In fact, on social media, visual content is far more likely to be shared than any other content. Despite the changing modes of communication, current communication research continues to focus principally on textual content while overlooking the role of digital visuals.

This special issue addresses the rising importance of digital images in communications as citizens across the globe transition from a textual communication landscape to a dawning visual era. We welcome research drawing on all theoretical and methodological perspectives. Research on newer and understudied social media platforms, such as Instagram and SnapChat, is particularly encouraged.

Possible topics and questions for papers might include, but are not limited to:

- The distribution of digital visuals on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, Tumblr, Reddit, and YouTube
- Who is creating and sharing digital visuals?
- Audience engagement with digital visuals (e.g., likes, shares, and comments)
- How do digital visuals set the mass media agenda?
- What are the predictors of "viral" digital visuals?
- What is the impact of audience engagement and attention to digital visuals?
- How do digital visuals represent gender, race, class, disability, and age? How are social norms challenged with visuals?
- Analyses of the meaning of the digital visuals
- Construction of identity -- how do users visually present themselves online?
- The rise and role of live digital video
- How do digital visuals influence social movements, policy, events, and elite response?

Deadline: Submit manuscripts through EJC's online submission system at by June 15, 2018, for consideration. Please be sure to submit to the journal section entitled Special Issue: "Image is the New Text: The Rise of Digital Visuals in Communication"

Format: Papers should be prepared in APA 6th Ed. Style. Remove all author-identifying information from the main manuscript for blind review. Manuscripts should be single spaced with tables/figures inserted where they belong; double-space between headings, subheadings, and adjacent sections; avoid breaking tables across pages. Please send manuscripts in .doc, .docx, or .rtf formats (not HTML).

Questions: Please address any questions to the Special Issue Editor, Professor Terri L. Towner, Oakland University, email: [towner at oakland dot edu]