What Selfies Reveal About Cultural StereotypesPosted: February 23, 2014
John Brownlee reports: Moritz Stefaner and his collaborators analyzed more than 3,000 Instagram selfies from around the world, revealing everything from the age of the average selfie taker to how much she opens her mouth and more.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a selfie worth?
That’s what SelfieCity wants to find out. A new project by data visualization wunderkind in collaboration with Lev Manovich, Jay Chow, and Nadav Hochman, SelfieCity is an attempt to analyze the data of more than 3,000 self-portraits and, in doing so, extrapolate what a selfie is even meant to say in the first place. In the process, SelfieCity was able to figure out everything from the age of the average selfie takers to how much they opened their mouth and more…
“People take fewer selfies than you’d think.”
• People take fewer selfies than you’d think. According to SelfieCity’s data, only 3% to 5% of the 300,000-plus images that they examined were actually selfies.
• Women take more selfies than men. “In every city we analyzed, there are significantly more women selfies than men taking, from 1.3 times as many in Bangkok to 1.9 times more in Berlin,” Stefaner says. In Moscow, the discrepancy is even more striking: 4.6 times more women take selfies in the Russian capitol then men. No matter where, if a man takes selfies, though, he’s likely to be older: the median age of men who post selfies on Instagram is more than 30 years old.
“People are happiest in Bangkok and São Paulo, and more miserable in Moscow.”
• Women strike more extreme poses in selfies (especially in São Paulo). According to SelfieCity’s research, women tend to take more expressive, sexy poses than men in their selfies. On average, the head tilt of a woman’s selfie is 150% higher than for men (12.3° vs. 8.2°). Translated, this means an awful lot of women take selfies holding their cameras way above their heads. But in São Paulo, it’s even crazier: there, the average head tilt for females is 16.9°! Guess they want to fit their bikinis in-frame.
• The younger a person is, the more likely he or she is to take selfies. No duh, but in SelfieCity’s estimation, most of the people who take selfies are pretty young, with an estimated median age of just 23.7 years old. Selfie takers skew youngest in Bangkok (21), and oldest in New York City (25.3).
• People are happiest in Bangkok and São Paulo, and more miserable in Moscow.”Our mood analysis revealed that you can find lots of smiling faces in Bangkok (0.68 average smile score) and São Paulo (0.64),” Stefaner says. “People taking selfies in Moscow smile the least (only 0.53 on the smile score scale).”
All of this data and more is freely available for perusal at SelfieCity…
- The Best Thing I’ve Seen Today: SelfieCity (procrastinationfiles.wordpress.com)
- What We Learned From an International Survey of … Selfies (wired.com)
- Welcome to Selfie City, population: your face (dailydot.com)
- Selfie City: a Visualization-Centric Analysis of Online Self-Portraits (infosthetics.com)
- Fascinating Visual Shows The Most Popular Selfie Poses In Each City (businessinsider.com)
- Fascinating Visual Shows The Most Popular Selfie Poses In Each City (embargozone.com)
- The Weirdly Fascinating Social Science of Selfies (adage.com)