Mapping Instagram Photos and the Selfiest Cities in the World

You may have noticed recently that Time Magazine (online) has generated a little bit of buzz by jumping on the "selfie" hysteria that has carried over from the Oscars (ya thanks Ellen for inventing the selfie!). In an interesting read that has very little science to support the findings, Time has generated a ranking of World cities that apparently take and share the most selfies.

Selfie  (Noun, plural, selfies) – A slang term used to describe a photo that is taken of oneself for the purpose of uploading it to social networking sites  and image sharing websites, such as Facebook, Instagram or Imgur.

Using a very simple formula of number of online Selfie photos shared online via Instagram with the hashtag #selfie and geotagged  (warning, searching this hashtag can yield some not-so-family-friendly results!) they determined a ranking based on number of selfie photos per 100,000 population. It should be noted that only the geotagged selfies counted and it is well known that a large % of photos shared in this manner are not shared with location information due to privacy issues, and wisely so! The results from some 479 cities around the World were obtained and a ranking of the top 100 has been shared in the article – See the Time Selfie Rankings HERE

No huge surprise as the top cities were well known, tourism friendly cities like Pasig Philippines, Manhattan, NY, Miami FL, Anaheim CA etc… The science behind the experiment is pretty flawed although the results are fun and generate loads of buzz – kudos to Time Magazine! I’m sure many of the cities mentioned will be having a field day with the results. Case in point, my own city of Victoria, BC Canada came in as the top city in Canada according to the rankings. The mainstream media has wasted no time at all boasting the results and articles are appearing all over the web touting the results, for example, Global News Canada has an article and the Victoria Times Colonist and the Huffington Post is all over "the #1 Ranking

selfie map

 Time produced an interactive map based on more than 400,000 Instagram photos with the hashtag #selfie and used geo-location tags to where they were taken. The data was collected in two sets, from Jan. 28 to Feb. 2 and March 3 to 7. The magazine ranked 459 cities, including eight in Canada (Source)


selfie map

If you want your city to make the ranking next year though you’ll have to make sure that you geotag or geolocate your photos!


Captured in Victoria, BC, The Selfie Capital of Canada!

Editor (18230 Posts)

Glenn is a geographer and a GIS professional with over 20 years experience in the industry. He's the co-founder of GISuser and several other technology web publications.

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