Millions of images are shared through social media every day. Yet, we know little about how the activities and preferences of users are dependent on the content of these images. In this paper, we seek to understand viewers engagement with photos. We design a quantitative study to expand previous research on in-app visual effects (also known as filters) through the examination of visual content identified through computer vision. This study is based on analysis of 4.9M Flickr images and is organized around three important engagement factors: likes, comments and favorites. We find that filtered photos are not equally engaging across different categories of content. Photos of food and people attract more engagement when filters are used, while photos of natural scenes and photos taken at night are more engaging when left unfiltered. In addition to contributing to the research around social media engagement and photography practices, our findings offer several design implications for mobile photo sharing platforms.

FX Palo Alto Laboratory, Inc.
AAAI International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media
Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, Amsterdam (CWI), The Netherlands

Bakhshi, S, Kennedy, L, Gilbert, E, & Shamma, D.A. (2019). Filtered food and nofilter landscapes in online photography: The role of content and visual effects in photo engagement. In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2019 (pp. 80–90).