Happiness on Instagram – Content Analysis and Engagement Based on Attention Theory

  • Qiuwen LiEmail author
  • Young Ae Kim
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 968)


Instagram, a popular social networking platform, was ranked the number five most popular app by downloads in the first quarter of 2018 [1]. Instagram allows users to share happenings in their lives with other users by posting images and video content. Anyone with an Instagram account can also like and comment on others’ posts. Social media generates attention-seeking behavior and obsessions with getting more likes and positive comments. According to psychologist John Robert Anderson, attention is the behavioral and cognitive process of selectively concentrating on specific information while editing out non-essential information [2]. Which photography posts get more likes and comments? How frequently do people feel truly happy when they use hashtag #happy and/or #happiness on Instagram? How often do people give sincere comments on Instagram posts? In this research, we conducted a content analysis of photography posts tagged with the hashtag #happy and/or #happiness. We downloaded the 200 most recent posts from individual accounts between January 9–20, 2019 from age ranges 10 to 55 years old. 91% of posts were from young adults or millennials (18–35 years old) and only 2% of posts were from adolescent and 7% of posts were from middle-aged adults. The study examined different value of life in happiness on Instagram and user engagement based with different types of photography posts on Attention Theory. The study found that the physical appearance (36%) was considered to be the aspect of happiness that is 15% more than happiness from the relationship and 27% more than happiness from the achievement regardless of biological sex. In addition, the study suggests that females post comments 2.3 times more than males and females click like 1.7 times more than males. Regardless of biological sex, both males and females received significantly larger numbers of insincere comments (85.7%) than sincere comments (13.1%) on their posts.


Social media Attention theory Hashtag Happiness Photography posts 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArtUniversity of South DakotaVermillionUSA
  2. 2.School of DesignSouth Dakota State UniversityBrookingsUSA

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