Why do people share food photographs via social media channels?


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The psychology of sharing food experiences and photos via social networks launched at Social Media Week London. This is the first stage of a piece of research into why people share food images via social networks. The top reasons why people share food images via social media channels are 1. Because they are proud of what they have made, 2. To record a special moment or occasion, 3. Because the food looks like art.

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Why do people share food photographs via social media channels?

  1. 1. Why  do  we  share   food  images  via   social  networks?   #FoodPsych   @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |  Chef  Shaun  Hill  
  2. 2. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs   Which  social  network  do  you  use  most  o8en  to   share  your  food  photos?   #FoodPsych   Top  3  for  Females   26.15%  Facebook     23.08%  Instagram     12.82%  TwiMer       Top  3  for  Males   15.9%  TwiMer     9.7%  Facebook   6.15%  Instagram     Instagram  was  the   top  network  for   posQng  food   photos  for  18-­‐20   year  olds     Facebook  was  the   top  network  for   posQng  food   photos  for  30  –  39   year  olds     TwiGer  was  the   top  network  for   posQng  food   photos  for  40  –  49   year  olds  
  3. 3. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs   Which  social  network  do  you  most  o8en  like,  share   or  comment  on  other  people’s  food  photos?   #FoodPsych   Instagram  was   the  top  network   for  liking  or   commenQng  on   other  peoples   photos  amongst   women       Instagram  was  the   top  network  for   liking/commenQng   on  photos  for   21-­‐29  year  olds     Those  over  40   preferred  to  post   comment  on  food   images  via  TwiGer  
  4. 4. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Robert  Thompson   Is  it  socially  acceptable  to  share  food  photos?   #FoodPsych   “Sharing  food  has  always  been  a   social  ritual,  and  sharing  photos  of   that  food  can  serve  as  an  extension   of  this,  especially  when  loved  ones   are  absent.       However  not  all  moQvaQons  are   socially  posiQve,  and  our  sample   was  self-­‐selecQng  which  means  they   may  not  reflect  the  views  of  all   social  groups.”     Nathalie  Nahai  
  5. 5. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Andy  Waters   When  are  you  most  likely  to  post  a   picture  of  food?  #FoodPsych  
  6. 6. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde  #FoodPsych   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Josh  Eggleton   “We  were  delighted  that  such  a  high   percentage  of  people  thought  it  was   socially  acceptable  to  share  food   photos.  EaQng  good  food  is  a  social   experience  and  just  as  people  talk   about  a  parQcularly  good  meal   they've  eaten,  it's  now  easy  to  share   with  a  click  of  a  buMon  through   Instagram,  TwiMer  or  Facebook.     We'll  be  keen  to  see  whether  micro   video  sharing  of  food  on  tools  such   as  Vine  comes  into  play  in  the   future”     Great  BriOsh  Chefs     “I  was  surprised  by  the  high  percentage   of  people  who  post  photos  as  soon  as  the   food  arrives  at  the  table  –  it  paints  a   picture  of  dining  out  evolving  from  a   shared  experience  with  your  dining   companions  to  a  socially  shared   experience  with  an  infinite  community.  It   would  be  interesQng  to  know  whether   this  behaviour  was  influenced  by  the  type   of  place  they  were  dining  in  –  is  it  more   acceptable  to  share  photos  in  Dirty   Burger  than  when  at  Le  Manoir  Aux  Quat’   Saisons,  for  example.     Eleanor,  Square  Meal    
  7. 7. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde  #FoodPsych   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Shaun  Rankin   "We  help  people  create  food  that  creates   a  'wow  factor'  when  it  first  appears  on  the   table,  so  it  was  encouraging  to  see  that   people  are  more  likely  to  share  food  just   as  it  is  presented  before  them.”   Great  BriQsh  Chefs    
  8. 8. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Robert  Thompson   Which  device  do  you  use  to  upload  your  food   images  to  social  networks?   #FoodPsych  
  9. 9. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Josh  Eggleton   Would  you  describe  yourself  as  a  foodie?   #FoodPsych   81.28%  said   yes  I’m  a   foodie     No  =  18.72%         “It  appears,  preMy  much  anyone  can   be  a  foodie  these  days.  I  think  the   extent  to  which  you  describe   yourself  a  foodie  is  relaQve  to  your   own  knowledge.  If  I  compare  myself   to  the  people  I  work  with,  I  am  most   definitely  not  a  foodie.  Compared  to   the  average  person,  yes  I’m  a   foodie”     Karen  Fewell  
  10. 10. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Josh  Eggleton   Why  do  you  take  pictures  of  food?   #FoodPsych   0" 10" 20" 30" 40" 50" 60" 70" 80" 90" 100" To"record"an"event"or"social"occasion" When"it’s"a"special"treat" Beause"it"is"beau@ful"and"looks"like"art" When"it"is"my"friends"food" To"en@ce"other"people"to"eat"the"food" Because"I"am"proud"that"I"made"it"myself" To"congratulate"the"person"who"made"it" Because"it"is"unusual"or"different" To"show"that"I"am"ea@ng"healthy"food" Because"it"says"a"lot"about"me" Other"
  11. 11. “I’m  not  surprised  the  number  one   reason  people  share  food  images  is   because  they  are  proud  of  what  they   have  made.  Sorted's  own  community   started  an  unofficial  FaceBook   compeQQon  to  be  the  first  to  rush  out   and  buy  the  ingredients,  make  the  dish   and  post  a  photo  online."   Jamie,  Sorted  Food   @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Tom  Aikens  
  12. 12. Why  do  you  take  pictures  of   food?     Top  Reasons  for  Females   1.  Proud  I  made  it  myself   2.  Because  it  looks  beauQful   3.  To  record  an  event  or  special  occasion   4.  Because  it  was  a  special  treat   5.  To  congratulate  the  person  who  made  it       Top  Reasons  for  Males   1.  Proud  I  made  it  myself   1.  To  record  an  event  or  special  occasion   2.  Because  it  looks  beauQful   3.  Because  it  is  unusual  or  different   4.  It  says  a  lot  about  me   4.  Because  it  was  a  special  treat     (same  number  of  responses  for  posiQons  1  &  4)     @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  William  Drabble  
  13. 13. "It's  great  to  see  people  recording   the  results  of  wonderful  food   they've  cooked  themselves.  There's   a  joy  in  cooking  and  eaQng  excellent   food  but  also  a  joy  in  sharing  food   through  photography  for  the   benefit  of  people  who  weren't   there.  We  love  to  see  this  pride  in   producing  good  food.”     Great  BriOsh  Chefs     @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Josh  Eggleton  
  14. 14. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Sumayya   "The  fact  people  are  posQng   images  because  the  food  looks   beauQful  is  also  interesQng  -­‐  if   you're  out  at  a  restaurant,  the   presentaQon  is  likely  to  be   beMer  than  at  home,  which   makes  sense.  AddiQonally,  if   our  audience  have  gone  to  the   effort  of  making  a  dish  from   scratch,  they're  more  likely  to   take  care  over  the   presentaQon  to  make  sure  the   food  is  appreciated  properly.”   Jamie,  Sorted  Food  
  15. 15. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Respondents  were  shown  these  food  images   #FoodPsych   Most  Likely  to  be  posted  by  males   -­‐  Art  dish   -­‐  Steak   -­‐  Christmas  Dinner     Most  Likely  to  be  posted  by  females   -­‐  Art  dish   -­‐  Christmas  Dinner   -­‐  Steak     Art  dish     Christmas  Dinner     Steak    
  16. 16. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Photos  people  were  most  likely  to  post  to   social  networks  #FoodPsych   Art  dish     70.26%     Christmas  Dinner   51.28%     Steak   49.23%     Most  Likely  to  like/comment  or  share   someone  elses  photo  if  it  is     -­‐  Art  dish   -­‐  Branded  food   -­‐  Steak     Curry   39.49%     Fish   38.97%     Pizza   32.82%     Branded  Food     Product  30.77%     Junk  Food   22.56%     Salad   20.51%     Sandwich   9.74%%    
  17. 17. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Robert  Thompson   “We  tend  to  find  sweet  dishes  more   popular  on  YouTube  than  savoury  in   terms  of  views  and  engagement  -­‐  we   think  this  is  because  sweet  dishes  are   seen  as  more  of  a  treat  and  an  occasion   than  a  savoury  dish  you're  likely  to  have   every  day"   Jamie,  Sorted  Food  
  18. 18. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Josh  Eggleton   Respondents  were  shown  these  food  images   #FoodPsych   Most  Likely  to  be  posted  by  males   -­‐  Cake   -­‐  Chocolate  pudding  (2nd  place)   -­‐  Cheese  (2nd  place)     Most  Likely  to  be  posted  by  females   -­‐  Cake   -­‐  Chocolate  pudding   -­‐  Fruit  dessert    
  19. 19. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Josh  Eggleton   Photos  people  were  most  likely  to  post  to   social  networks  #FoodPsych   Chocolate  pudding   58.97%     Cake   61.54%     Fruit  dessert   51.28%     SelecQon   50.77%     Cheesecake   50.26%     Cheese   40%     Branded  food  product   20%     Fruit  crumble   26.15%     Most  Likely  to  like/comment  or  share   someone  elses  photo  if  it  is     -­‐  Cake   -­‐  Chocolate  pudding   -­‐  Meringues/SelecQon     Meringues   48.21%    
  20. 20. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Shaun  Rankin   "Desserts  and  cakes  appear  to  have  the  greatest  capacity  for  sharing   by  photography.  This  echoes  recipes  and  photos  that  are  shared   most  open  via  Great  BriQsh  Chefs.  The  challenge  is  now  to  make   savoury  dishes  and  main  courses  have  similar  shareability  amongst   the  public.  Let's  celebrate  the  art  of  a  great  piece  of  fish  or  a  juicy   piece  of  steak  too”     Great  BriQsh  Chefs  
  21. 21. Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Josh  Eggleton  @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   “Food  is  an  intrinsic  human  pleasure,  so  when  you’re   having  a  treat,  it’s  really  no  surprise  that  people  wish  to   share  it.  That  said,  in  this  age  of  social  media,  there’s  a   tendency  to  over-­‐share  and  over-­‐document  your  life.   This  is  a  different  issue  enQrely,  but  which  food   photography  directly  ‘feeds’  into.”   Research  ParQcipant  
  22. 22. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Robert  Thompson   Showing  off   #FoodPsych   “Like  everywhere  else  online,  people  are  trying  to  show  everyone  else  how  great  a   Qme  they're  having  and  showing  food  that  is  beMer  than  something  you  might  be   eaQng  is  probably  the  same  thing.  Like  having  more  friends  on  Facebook.    A  sense   that  they're  there  and  you're  not.    It's  compeQQve.”   Research  ParQcipant     “Because  we  live  in  a  world  of  ‘look  at  me.”   Research  ParQcipant       As  individuals  we  crave  social  validaQon:  to  feel  valued,  liked  and     respected  by  our  peers.  We  also  like  to  feel  important,  someQmes  at   the  cost  of  others,  which  may  explain  why  many  respondents  said   they  posted  photos  of  food  to  ‘make  other  people  jealous’   Nathalie  Nahai   “ ”
  23. 23. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  William  Drabble   “I  am  surprised  though   that  there  wasn’t  a   definable  amount  of   people  who  said  ‘to  show     off’  –  we  see  hundreds  of   pictures  on  social  media   and  blogs  of  ‘ok-­‐looking’   food  e.g.  half-­‐eaten   burgers,  shared  simply  to   show  that  the  person  is  in   the  latest  burger  joint  or   has  a  table  at  a  new   opening.  ”     Eleanor,  Square  Meal       I  think  there  may  be  a  disQncQon   between  the  various  channels  of  social   media  when  sharing  photos.  Perhaps   the  more  immediate  forms  e.g.  TwiMer   and  Instagram  are  used  a  lot  more  for   showing  off.  When  sharing  food   photos  on  blogs  though,  it  appears   that  these  people  have  spent  a  bit   more  Qme  ediQng  their  photos  to   enhance  the  food  and  make  the  dishes   look  beauQful.  In  the  context  of  a  well-­‐ wriMen  piece  of  prose  about  their   dining  experience,  the  food  really  does   appear  as  art.     Eleanor,  Square  Meal  
  24. 24. “The  love  of  food  is  something   that  brings  people  together   regardless  of  culture  or  ethnicity,   I  think  we  find  joy  in  sharing   something  that   has  made  us  happy.”     Research  ParQcipant   @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Tom  Aikens  
  25. 25. Love  of  Food   #FoodPsych   “ ” At  its  most  basic,  food  is  what  we  depend  on  for   survival.  Historically  the  way  in  which  a  civilisaQon   prepared  and  shared  its  food  revealed  a  lot  about  its   culture.  In  a  world  in  which  social  Qes  are  increasingly   fragmented  and  scaMered,  sharing  images  of  our  food     allows  us  not  only  to  connect  with  our  loved  ones  and   express  our  own  sense  of  idenQty,  it  also  brings  an   opportunity  to  display  ourselves  in  a  posiQve  light.     Nathalie  Nahai  
  26. 26. Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Josh  Eggleton   “I've  been  to  a  talk   where  they  call  it   food  porn  and  it's   because  people  are   driven  to  document   their  lives  now  and   these  provide   bookmarks  or   signposts  to  their   memories”     Research  ParQcipant   @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde  
  27. 27. @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Sumayya   “People  want  to  show  off  but  they  want  to  share   their  experiences  of  great  food  too.  This  is  where   I  think  restaurants  and  bars  can  be  really  clever   in  making  the  most  of  their  clients’  tendency  to   use  social  media  wherever  they  are”   Eleanor,  Square  Meal  
  28. 28. “Food  can  fit  into  so  many  categories  of   interest...  brands,  art,  luxury/treats,  social  events   and  that  is  why  it  gets  shared  in  all  these   contexts”   Research  ParQcipant   @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Paul  Ainsworth  
  29. 29. Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Andy  Waters   Is  it  a  sign  of  an  eaOng  disorder?   #FoodPsych   Tyler  Kingkade  (05/07/2013).  ‘Instagramming  Your  Food  May  Signal  Bigger  Problem,  Researcher  Says’.  Huffington  Post.   hMp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/07/instagramming-­‐food-­‐problem-­‐foodstagramming_n_3230129.html     According  to  Dr.  Valerie  Taylor,  chief  of  psychiatry  at   Women's  College  Hospital  at  the  University  of  Toronto,   documenQng  one’s  meals  to  the  point  of  obsession  can  be   a  signal  of  a  larger  dieQng  problem.  How  much  is  too   much?  If  every  Qme  you  go  out  you’re  focusing  more  on   the  food  (how  it  looks,  when  you  ate,  and  when  you’ll  eat   again)  rather  than  the  social  interacQon,  it  could  be  a  sign   of  a  potenQal  eaQng  disorder.     Nathalie  Nahai       “ ”
  30. 30. Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Mark  Dodson   Can  some  good  come  of  food  sharing?     “I  hope  so.  I  think  it  is  Qme  we  stopped   moaning  about  the  fact  people  want  to  share   their  food  experiences.  Lets  uQlise  the  data   and  insight  it  gives  us  and  then  use  that   knowledge  to  make  change.  The  Feedie  app  is   a  start,  but  I  want  to  see  this  go  further.  I   want  to  see  how  the  food  sharing  habit  can   improve  the  mental  and  physical  health  of  our   naQon  and  get  food  to  those  here  in  the  UK   who  are  living  below  the  poverty  line.”     Karen  Fewell,  Digital  Blonde   @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde  #FoodPsych  
  31. 31. Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Robert  Thompson     Karen  Fewell   @DigitalBlonde     Karen@DigitalBloindeMarkeQng.com   digitalblondemoments.tumblr.com   If  you  have  any  quesQons  about  #FoodPsych  please  get  in  touch     Nathalie  Nahai   @TheWebPsych     hello@TheWebPsychologist.com   thewebpsychologist.com  
  32. 32. Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Alan  Murchison   Massive   Thanks  To   @TheWebPsych  @DigitalBlonde  
  33. 33. “For  me,  this  insight  is  just  the  start.  Over  the  next   year  I  will  be  researching  the  relaQonship  we  have   with  food  and  social  media.  My  studies  will  look  at  the   two  extremes  of  fine  dining  and  poverty  plus   everything  that  falls  in  between.”     Karen  Fewell,  Digital  Blonde   Image  @GBChefs  |Chef  Josh  Eggleton   Through  my  book   #FoodPorn,  I  want  to   explore  how  our  food   sharing  habits  can  develop   our  love  of  food,  improve   the  mental  and  physical   health  of  our  naQon  and   get  food  to  those  here  in   the  UK  who  are  living   below  the  poverty  line.   “ ”@DigitalBlonde  
  34. 34. New  Book:  #FoodPorn   Published  2014   Author  Karen  @DigitalBlonde  with  comment  from   Nathalie  @TheWebPsych  
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