"Visual Affluence" in social photography: applicability of image segmentation as a visually oriented approach to study Instagram hashtags

Rathnayake, Chamil and Ntalla, Irida ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7345-2030 (2020) "Visual Affluence" in social photography: applicability of image segmentation as a visually oriented approach to study Instagram hashtags. Social Media + Society, 6 (2) , 2056305120924758. pp. 1-14. ISSN 2056-3051 (doi:10.1177/2056305120924758)

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Abstract

The aim of the study is to examine the applicability of image segmentation – identification of objects/regions by partitioning images – to examine online social photography. We argue that the need for a meaning-independent reading of online social photography within social markers, such as hashtags, arises due to two characteristics of social photography: 1) internal incongruence resulting from user-driven construction, and 2) variability of content in terms of visual attributes, such as colour combinations, brightness, and details in backgrounds. We suggest visual affluence- plenitude of visual stimuli, such as objects and surfaces containing a variety of colour regions, present in visual imagery- as a basis for classifying visual content and image segmentation as a technique to measure affluence. We demonstrate that images containing objects with complex texture and background patterns are more affluent, while images that include blurry backgrounds are less affluent than others. Moreover, images that contain letters and dark, single-colour backgrounds are less affluent than images that include subtle shades. Mann-Whitney U test results for nine pairs of hashtags showed that seven out of nine pairs had significant differences in visual affluence. The proposed measure can be used to encourage a ‘visually oriented’ turn in online social photography research that can benefit from hybrid methods that are able to extrapolate micro-level findings to macro-level effects.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Image segmentation, Visual Affluence, Instagram, Hashtags
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media
Item ID: 28521
Notes on copyright: Rathnayake, C., & Ntalla, I. (2020). “Visual Affluence” in Social Photography: Applicability of Image Segmentation as a Visually Oriented Approach to Study Instagram Hashtags. Social Media + Society, Volume: 6 issue: 2. Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305120924758
Creative Commons Non Commercial CC BY-NC: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
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Depositing User: Irida Ntalla
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2019 14:58
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2020 22:14
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/28521

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