My hypothesis was that Instagrams with fewer people shown in the photo (i.e., close-ups that show only the person who is posting) will perform better than photos with more individuals. My explanation was that, to use my own Instagram as an example, those who follow me on Instagram know me from a variety of different contexts (classes, camp, summer internships, etc) and may not be as inclined to like a picture with someone they don’t know (ex: a photo of me and a friend I know from a context different from the one I know them in.) than with just me, someone they do know. In addition to documenting likes and number of people in the photo, I also looked at whether I was posting on a special occasion, whether it was a slideshow or just one singular photo, how many people commented, and more. In general, posts with just me in them tended to be more successful, and the average number of likes declined the more people showed up in the photo. However, when my posts had seven people, there seemed to be a spike that defied the overall downward trajectory. Since there are only two data points with seven people in the posts, it seems to be an outlier based on one extremely popular seven-person post about a pre-orientation program that I could have done more to account for by gathering more data points. But also, I think I failed to initially anticipate some additional factors or at the very least categorize my posts correctly. I made a dummy variable to determine whether I was celebrating an event on my posts (holidays or major events tend to do well), but I didn’t put my pre-orientation post under the celebration category even though it technically celebrated the end of pre-orientation. Next time, I’ll try to think more carefully about how I can correctly categorize things.
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