Find Out How Likable Your Selfie Is

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If you thought you knew all the rules of selfie-taking, think again. Aditya Khosla, a Ph.D. student in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, conducted a research study on what exactly makes a photo popular. The research used the popular photo sharing site Flickr as a picture database and the number of views as a means of measuring popularity. Here are some tips on how to make your selfie more popular–I mean, they’re scientifically proven.

1. Use more reddish colors than greenish or bluish hues. While color was shown to have low correlation with popularity, on average, red hues were more popular. Think about that the next time you’re formal dress shopping!

2. Use robust patches of color. This was consistently important in popularity among 20 random users who were sampled. More intense spots of color help the brain to determine object properties and understand the picture. Plus, those black and white photos with color splashes just look really cool.

3. Incorporate texture into the photograph. Since we are constantly interacting with objects of both visual and touchable texture, these types of images prove to be more consistently popular. This is pretty much just another reason to get out that sequin-covered dress next weekend and take a ton of pictures before going to the bar.

4. Scantily clad women top the leaderboard for selfie popularity. If you want more views, include any of the following “strong positive impact” images: miniskirt, maillot (leotard or one-piece swimsuit), bikini, cup, brassiere, perfume, or revolver. As much as I hate to say it, I guess sex really does sell–and apparently guns, too. Photos with cute animals and some sports objects were ranked as “medium positive impact” images. Ranking on the low end of the scale were photos with laptops, spatulas, plungers, and guacamole. Basically, just don’t include anything stupid.

5. Hashtag the shit out of your pictures. Images with more tags and longer descriptions tend to be more popular. #This #is #probably #the #most #annoying #thing #ever, but, hey, it works.

6. Be popular already. As expected, if you have a lot of contacts or followers now, chances are, you will get more views, likes, and favorites.

7. Make your image focused and meaningful (AKA all about you). Open images with little activity were less popular than images of people.

Now it’s time to put your selfie to the test! You can upload a picture HERE to see how your photo ranks on the popularity scale. I tested out my TSM avatar and got a score of 3.038, which is less than every single one of the stupid sample pictures of rocks and water. Guess I need to learn how to take a better selfie.

How does your selfie rank?


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premed donna

Who said you can't be smart and funny? When I'm not writing for TSM, you can find me studying into oblivion, downing a bottle of chardonnay, and/or sobbing for reasons I have yet to understand. All hate fan mail can be sent to

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