Selfies Among The Most Popular Photos On Instagram
March 21, 2014

Selfies Among The Most Popular Photos On Instagram

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

Some people may browse Instagram for the food or the fashion tips, but a new social media study from the Georgia Institute of Technology has found that pictures with human faces have the highest odds of getting likes on the popular photo-sharing app.

The study, which will be presented at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems this April in Toronto, also found that selfies and other pictures that featured a human face were 32 percent more likely to attract comments.

The study didn’t give a reason why Instagrams of faces garnered so much feedback, but study author Saeideh Bakhshi, a Georgia Tech College of Computing Ph.D. student, said it could have a deep psychological basis.

“Even as babies, people love to look at faces,” Bakhshi said. “Faces are powerful channels of non-verbal communication. We constantly monitor them for a variety of contexts, including attractiveness, emotions and identity.”

The scientists also discovered that the quantity of faces in the image, their age or gender didn’t significantly affect viewer likes or comments. Also, photos of kids or teens aren’t more popular compared to those of adults, despite the fact that Instagram is most popular among younger individuals. The study also pointed out that men and women have similar chances of getting likes or comments.

The researchers also found that blasting out photos en masse had a negative effect on garnering comments or likes.

“The more you post, the less feedback you’re going to get,” Bakhshi said. “Posting too much decreases likes two times faster than comments.”

Study author Eric Gilbert, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech's School of Interactive Computing, said the study’s findings should be of great interest to other social media sites, which could increase their search rankings and keep customers engaged longer by prominently featuring photos of faces.

“Designers could also use this knowledge to quickly filter, prioritize and highlight photos shared by followers,” Gilbert suggested. “Especially pictures that have just been submitted and haven’t had enough time to pick up very many likes or comments yet.”

The study team said they plan to start looking to see the popularity of three different types of photos: friends, family group photos, or selfies.

In a hat-tip to the current popularity of selfies, Apple added a special section for the type of photo to its App Store earlier this week. The company said it added a “Sharing Selfies” category, which includes 12 different apps, so it would be easy for users to find the apps they wanted. Apps in the category either interface with existing social media networks or work independently.

The term “selfie” has become so popular, in fact, that the Oxford English Dictionary recently dubbed it the Word of the Year for 2013.

“It’s that time of the year again. With a fanfare and a drum roll, it’s time to announce the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year. The votes have been counted and verified and I can exclusively reveal that the winner is…. Selfie,” Oxford Dictionaries decreed in a blog post last November.