Qual Quant (2012) 46:1013–1024
Online image content analysis of political ﬁgures:
an exploratory study
Bulent Ozel · Han Woo Park
Received: 31 July 2010 / Accepted: 17 February 2011 / Published online: 24 April 2011
© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011
Abstract This study investigates the emotional content of facial images of South Korean
politicians. The data were drawn from ofﬁcial websites of 18th National Assembly members.
We categorized facial expressions (smiling, frowning, and no expression) by using photos
on the websites. The smiling image was the most prevalent facial expression regardless of
the socio-political-demographic attributes of the politicians. The existence and strength of
the smiling image had significant positive correlations with the politicians’ web visibility.
Opposition parties were significantly more likely to show frowning or expressionless images
than the ruling party. The more experienced politicians were more likely to continue their
use smiling images than similarly aged politicians with less experience.
Keywords Visual content analysis · Emotional content analysis · Online visibility ·
Web-based campaigns · Facial expressions · Candidate websites
In new attention-grabbing cyberspace (e.g., McAllister and Turow 2009), one aim of indi-
vidual and organizational websites is to induce active responses (e.g., click, post, trackback,
etc.) from visitors. Because the public’s interest in politics has been decreasing, political
An earlier version of this paper was presented at the ICCC2009 (International Conference on Convergence
Content), December 17–19, 2009, Hanoi University of Culture, Vietnam.
Computer Science Department, Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey
H. W. Park (
World Class University Webometrics Institute, Gyeongsan-Si, South Korea
H. W. Park
Department of Media and Communication, YeungNam University, Gyeongsan-Si, South Korea