Selfiecity London Reveals Fewest ‘Happy’ Faces, Other Key Findings

Selfiecity, the high-profile project spearheaded by Professor Lev Manovich (Computer Science), continues to yield intriguing findings — this time about social media users in England’s capital.
Selfiecity London, the newest edition, analyzed over 150,000 Instagram images shared recently in central London, as well as over 3,690,000 tweets with images posted in the larger metro area. Among the findings:

  • Londoners earned an average happiness rating of 0.55, according to facial-recognition software that runs on a scale from 0 (unhappy) to 1 (happy). The average for most cities is 0.62.

  • The estimated average age of male selfies in London (28.0 years) is higher than the average in the other cities (26.3 years).

  • Only one quarter (25.6%) of photos shared (in central London) are portraits or selfies.

  • Of these images, there are almost four times more portraits (20%) than selfies (5.6%).

  • The proportions of selfies showing one person and selfies showing two or more people are the same — 2.8% each.

“Considering that young Londoners face challenges such as rising property prices and highly competitive job markets, the fact that Londoners are a little older and not always jumping for joy is perhaps not so surprising,” Manovich told Yahoo News UK this week. “Yet these are also issues felt in other cities around the world, so it’s interesting to see that Londoners are more honest and they’re not painting an alternate perfect picture on social media, which can often be the case.” 
Launched last year, the original Selfiecity project investigated how people photograph themselves with mobile phones in five cities: New York, Moscow, Berlin, Bangkok, and Sao Paulo. Selfiecity was the first undertaking to investigate themes and patterns systematically, using carefully assembled large sample of selfies photos and statistics, data science, and data visualization techniques.    
An exhibit on Selfiecity London opens this week at Somerset House in central London, part of the Big Bang Data exhibition.  

Read a recent Reuters article about the exhibit.

Submitted on: DEC 1, 2015

Category: Computer Science | Faculty Activities | General GC News