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.

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.

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.

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:

A Calculator That Predicts How Popular Your Photograph Will Be Online

The paper also includes a matrix that plots some of the popularity predictions against their actual popularity.

A Calculator That Predicts How Popular Your Photograph Will Be Online

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