This PhD project by researcher Marloes Geboers concerns the use of platform native objects – hashtags, likes, posts, emoji buttons – as affective practices. It focuses on visual content of the Syrian war and its affective potentialities. The research methods blend traditional visual methodologies with novel approaches in order to develop methods that take into account both image content as well as the ways such content is audienced within networked spaces.

Instagram research
Engagement with Tragedy on Social Media

In the circulation of reworkings of the iconic images of Aylan Kurdi, it can be seen how such emotional reworkings crowd out the original images of the drowned refugee toddler due to like resonance on Instagram. The practice of liking intensifies the visibility of user’s own feelings over the actual tragic event.

Top five most liked images per day (Sept. 2- Sept. 9, 2015). Gabriele Colombo. 2016
Most liked and most spread image on Instagram in the first week of publication of the Kurdi images. 

Facebook Emojis:
Emotional Clicktivism:
Facebook Reactions and affective responses to visuals

Facebook Reactions across pages and publics

In this project the collective usage of Reactions buttons on a large Facebook page was used to detect patterns in affective images that resonate in this page community.

A representative sample of image and Reactions data scraped from the Syrian Revolution Network Facebook page using Netvizz. 2017. Michele Invernizzi

Typical imagery of the combination of Sad and Love Reactions.

Marloes Geboers
Digital Methods Initiative,
University of Amsterdam