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GA Tech Study: 'Proof that Selfies Aren’t Going Away'

Study examine how photos with faces drive engagement on large-scale, image-sharing communities.

Georgia Tech Instagram study doesn't find any difference in popularity if photos are of kids or adults. Those with faces are 38% more likely to get "likes." Credit: Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech Instagram study doesn't find any difference in popularity if photos are of kids or adults. Those with faces are 38% more likely to get "likes." Credit: Georgia Tech
From the Georgia Institute of Technology

Like them or not, there’s more proof that selfies aren’t going away any time soon. Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs researchers looked at 1.1 million photos on Instagram and found that pictures with human faces are 38 percent more likely to receive likes than photos with no faces.

They’re also 32 percent more likely to attract comments. The study is one of the first to examine how photos with faces drive engagement on large-scale, image-sharing communities.

The researchers also found that the number of faces in the photo, their age or gender didn’t make a difference. On average, pictures of kids or teens aren’t any more popular than those of adults, even though Instagram is most popular among younger people. The study also noticed that men and women have the same chances of getting likes or comments. 

A few factors did play a role. As expected, people with more followers attracted more engagement - but only if they didn’t overdo it.

“The more you post, the less feedback you’re going to get,” said Saeideh Bakhshi, the Georgia Tech College of Computing Ph.D. student who led the study. “Posting too much decreases likes two times faster than comments.”

Bakhshi also says that the more photos someone uploads, the lower the probability any single one has of getting likes or comments.  

She and her team, which included advisor Eric Gilbert and Yahoo Research Scientist David Shamma, used face detection software to scan the photos.

While the study examined how people react to photos with faces, the researchers stopped short of determining why users behave that way. They have some guesses, though.

Read more here.

Bonnie March 26, 2014 at 08:43 AM
Selfies - a sign of a narcissistic society. It really IS all about "me."
Octo Slash March 26, 2014 at 08:54 AM
I disagree. I think it's all about ME.
Bonnie March 26, 2014 at 09:04 AM
Funny!
richard powers March 26, 2014 at 11:37 AM
Someone actually "studied" selfies? What a waste of time. Oh, never mind it's Tech now I understand.
Alice Pickett March 26, 2014 at 10:15 PM
Really?

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