Dynamic/Static Image Use in ISIS’s Media Campaign: An Audience Involvement Strategy for Achieving Goals
The rebound of ISIS in the online environment in the aftermath of the coalition force liberation of Mosul and Raqqa has reinvigorated the need to understand the strategic choices of the group’s media campaign. This study explores ISIS’s use of dynamic vs. static imagery, with a particular focus on how the image form helps facilitate the group’s goals. Experimental studies document that the use of dynamic imagery heightens viewer attention, recall, and reaction to visual content, while fMRI studies add that audiences process dynamic still images as imagined movements. Using a content analysis of 3745 images in Dabiq, Rumiyah, and al-Naba’ from July 2014 to September 2018, we found that ISIS relies heavily on dynamic imagery in its print media campaign. The deployment of the visual strategy, however, displays significant variation based on the language of the target audience, the primary message content displayed in the photographs, and level of military force opposition the group is facing when it disseminates magazines and newsletters.
By: Carol Winkler, Lindsey Dewick, Yennhi Luu, Wojciech Kaczkowski