MIT develops #selfie hacks: How to make your pic more popular

Ellen DeGeneres selfie Oscars
You could use MIT’s new algorithm to make your pic more popular — or you could just be super famous.

New research fails to find the reason why people are taking them but it has discovered how to compose a shot to make it as popular as possible.

Aditya Khosla, a PhD student at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), has developed an algorithm — based on information gathered from over 2 million images posted to Flickr — that can accurately predict how popular an image is going to be. As part of the research, undertaken with eBay Research Labs’ Atish Das Sarma and Raffay Hamid from DigitalGlobe, Khosla has even set up a website where anyone can upload an image and the algorithm will predict its potential popularity.

And according to the researchers, if you want to get as many people as possible to view your selfie it needs to feature three things: color, sexiness and tags.

The brighter the colors, ideally yellows and pinks, the more popular the picture is going to be with viewers. Therefore avoid blue and green tones in the foreground.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the same goes for sex. The algorithm used is able to analyze images on content as well as context and found that shots featuring underwear, miniskirts and bikinis had the most “positive impact.”

And last and most obviously, when posting to social media sites, the more tags accompanying the image, the better chance it has of being discovered and viewed.

Khosla’s research follows that of Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs researchers. Previewed at the beginning of April and officially presented this weekend, the team, led by Georgia Tech College of Computing Ph.D. student Saeideh Bakhshi, used facial recognition software to analyze 1.1 million images posted to Instagram to try and understand which types of image generated the biggest positive response.

And the answer is any image containing a human face is 38 percent more likely than any other visual subject matter to be liked and 32 percent more likely to attract comments.

The study also found that it doesn’t matter how many faces are in the shot, who the face belongs to or whether the subject or subjects are male or female.

As for Khosla, his next step is to develop a tool that will be able to automatically modify a photo in order to boost its popularity, an area in which he and CSAIL already have expertise.

In 2013 Khosla and three fellow students at the university’s lab developed a tool that automatically modifies headshot photos to make them more memorable.

Test your selfie here:


Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.


Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…


Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…


Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…


Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.


Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."


Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…


3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.


NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.


Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.


Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.


Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…


4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…


Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…