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Why do some Instagram posts have much more impact than others? Can we apply a formula that allows us to predict how we react to different images?
Using artificial intelligence, the BBC program Tomorrow’s World created a conversational robot (chatbot) capable of analyzing images and assessing their potential influence on the social network.
The team discovered that some features of the photographs have a direct impact on how influential they can be.
The color palette they use, the emotions of the subjects that appear and the places they were taken can make a difference.
But is it possible to determine from that the popularity of an image on Instagram?
The answer lies in machine learning.
The BBC chatbot works through the Facebook Messenger messaging platform and has been fed with images that were published on Instagram.
The system “learned” which are the elements that make an image have more influence, after evaluating the received interactions, such as the number of “likes” or comments.
After having analyzed these images, the system is able to predict with a certain level of security how influential a photograph will be before it is published on the social network.
At BBC Mundo we did the test.
We send a photo in the foreground of a middle-aged man.
While analyzing the result, the robot gave us a clue about its operation: “The photos with blue colors evoke feelings of serenity and calmness, it has been proven over and over again that it is our favorite color”, he assures.
Soon after, we received a video with the “anatomy” of the photograph sent. The chatbot analyzed four aspects:
- The colors : in this case, three are predominant – pink, brown and black – which add up to 11 points of influence.
- The elements : the face of the person, 11 more points.
- Emotions : the person appears smiling and the robot detected joy, which adds another 25 points.
- Places of interest : none appear in this case, so no points are added.
Next, the system gives us another clue: people react well to positive emotions, such as joy or happiness, so the images that evoke those feelings will be more successful.
On the other hand, he adds, snapshots taken in familiar places, such as the Eiffel Tower, add popularity points, as they are easily recognizable to many.
Although, he notes, the theme par excellence in the social network – in addition to travel – are breakfasts.
So if you post a breakfast photo in Paris, if possible in front of the Louvre or another recognizable monument, you are more likely to get more likes.
But why do some elements have more resonance than others?
Instagram users between the ages of 16 and 24 say that publishing and viewing images on the social network gives them emotional support and helps create a sense of community.
Some psychologists have defined up to six user profiles of the social network, based on personality traits. They are the following:
- The heavy (histrionic) : many publications, most without relevant content, in the gym or showing what you eat. Great emotional instability.
- The egomaniac : search for constant attention. “Selfies” to bore. Narcissistic profile.
- The group or “never alone” : always appears with friends. Usually it is insecure, with great fear of abandonment.
- The “lover” : usually upload photos with your partner ALL the time, however intimate. Expressive and dependent.
- The absent or solitary : strange, introverted photographs of landscapes, in which he never appears. It denotes sensitivity and a certain fear of rejection.
- The “followback” : its only goal is to have followers to silence their insecurities.
And you? Do you recognize yourself in any of them?