Boston Is the 13th Most ‘Selfie’-Taking Place on the Planet

TIME dug into Instagram posts to find the worst offenders. This is important stuff.

Photo via Associated Press

Photo via Associated Press

When it comes to narcissism in the form of taking and sharing photos of our own faces with the people we think want to see them regularly on social media, Boston has a special place on the map.

Recently, TIME magazine took on a large project that required digging into data, and tapping into Instagram’s API, to show where in the world the cities with the most people snapping and posting “selfies” are.

While Boston didn’t dominate the list, per se, we did show up in the top 15 spots, which, when you’re looking at the worldwide population of smartphone-using humans engaging in the selfie game, is noticeable enough. Officially, Boston landed at No. 13, with 88 “selfie-takers” per 100,000 people in a city with a population of more than 600,000.

Whether that’s good or bad, we don’t know (and we certainly aren’t here to judge), but it does tell you a little bit about what people in the city are sharing with one another—and complete strangers, in some cases—and how frequently it’s occurring. It also feeds into the studies being conducted based on the photograph-taking phenomenon, and what the results say about us as a city.

According to the magazine’s website, they built a vast database that relied on more than 400,000 photos tagged with the word “selfie” that also included specific geographic coordinates. That means, more photos of people are definitely floating around out there, and could add to the overall tally, but to pinpoint both location and subject matter they only sifted through photos with those particular delineations.

“That only accounts for a fraction of all selfies uploaded during that time since the majority of photos do not include a location. Of this sample, 28 percent came from the United States,” they wrote. They also collected data in sets, so the numbers only reflect selfies taken within a 10-day period, split in half.

In total, TIME ranked 459 cities around the globe to determine what they call “the selfiest places on earth,” and while it was mostly larger metropolitan cities like Manhattan and Miami that topped the list— Makati City in the Philippines was the number one spot for selfies—Boston still managed to poke its head through for a qualifying spot.

TIME admits, however, that the data isn’t perfect because different cities have varying populations, so looking at selfies per capita can be tricky. They also note that when sorting through this type of data, the language barriers to describe a person taking a photo of themselves are obviously going to be different. What a person in Boston might call a “selfie” won’t be the same as in the Philippines, for obvious reasons. Add to that the fact that people often tag photos with different hashtags—some may prefer “selfies” or “selfielife.”

Either way, Boston, you’re taking too many photos of yourself. Let’s all agree to dial it back a notch.

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  • christopher

    “Either way, Boston, you’re taking to many photos of your own faces. Let’s dial it back a notch.” *too

  • SuperWittySmitty

    Makati City- always has to hog the spotlight!

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbOCF9zYgHc Throckmorton

    Millenial stories are so dam interesting.