#nofilter fakers- Exploring Instagram data

July 23, 2013

I’ve wanted to make an Instagram viz since I started using Tableau. With our Social Media Viz Contest launching, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get something together.

Paul Gambill helped me by writing a script that sent calls to the Instagram API to get back a JSON file filled with information about posting times, content, captions, comments, likes, and my favorite piece of data: what filter was used. The method he used pulled posts that were tagged with the tag of my choosing: #nofilter.

A little backstory on my obsession with the #nofilter tag:

I am an Instagram user myself. There are several people in my social circles that regularly use the #nofilter tag: one group is my friends from college in Arizona, who like to take pictures of Arizonan sunsets and use the #nofilter tag to emphasize that sunsets actually just look like that in the desert. Another person who is slightly obsessed with the tag is my stepfather, who is obsessed with taking food pics and tags everything “#twitter #nofilter”. (the Twitter tag is because he uses an IFTTT recipe to tweet any post tagged with #twitter so that the Twitter cards show up properly.)

I had an idea to see how many people tagged their photos #nofilter when they actually used a filter. My results didn’t surprise me at all:

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