A Calculator That Predicts How Popular Your Photograph Will Be Online

Illustration for article titled A Calculator That Predicts How Popular Your Photograph Will Be Online

Sure, that selfie you just uploaded is perfect in your eyes, but will the internet feel the same way? A new calculator made by researchers at MIT lets you upload your snapshots to calculate the probability that they will go viral.

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The calculator is the work of Aditya Khosla, who explained the process in this paper, What makes an image popular?, that he presented at this year's International World Wide Web Conference.

To come up with the calculator, Khosla analyzed over two-million Flickr photographs to see both what was happening in the image itself (such as the colors, contrasts, and kinds of objects) and what was happening socially (such as the popularity of the sender, the number of friends they had, the number of images that they had sent out before) to make that image either become popular or go by ignored.

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Using that analysis, they put together an algorithm that evaluates the image quality of a picture — including the popularity of the color scheme, as shown in the graph below — and uses it to come up with a potential popularity score.

Illustration for article titled A Calculator That Predicts How Popular Your Photograph Will Be Online

Of course, not every photograph will follow its popularity score precisely; for instance the immensely popular Oscar selfie above scored lower than this nice but rather unremarkable scenic view:

Illustration for article titled A Calculator That Predicts How Popular Your Photograph Will Be Online
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The paper also includes a matrix that plots some of the popularity predictions against their actual popularity.

Illustration for article titled A Calculator That Predicts How Popular Your Photograph Will Be Online
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Want to test out your own pictures? You can check out the calculator on Khosla's website here.

Images and graphs: Aditya Khosla

Ellen's Oscar selfie: Samsung via https://twitter.com/theellenshow

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DISCUSSION

manybells
manybellsdownsipsPiglioGriglio

I tried it with a photo of my husband in front of the Burke Museum in Seattle. 4.404. TAKE THAT ELLEN!

Edit: ooh, even better. Me in a Star Trek uniform garnered a 5.355. I think this thing might be broken.