Title

#Chimp: An analysis of primate depictions on Instagram and user engagement

Document Type

Poster

Campus where you would like to present

Ellensburg

Event Website

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source

Start Date

18-5-2020

Abstract

The way in which primates are portrayed on social media has become a topic of controversy, with welfare agencies contending that inappropriate imagery is fueling the exotic pet trade. Previous research has shown that chimpanzee use in entertainment materials can threaten conservation efforts by influencing personal beliefs related to ownership rights and species abundance. There is currently little understanding of how these effects carry over to social media, and what depictions of primates are prevalent on Instagram. Our study aimed to systematically categorize how primates are presented on Instagram and evaluate public interaction with various types of content. We extracted and recorded data for 1,381 videos and images of primates under the hashtags #chimp, #chimpanzee, #monkey, and #ape. To determine which visual characteristics received the most attention from Instagram users, we assessed primate age, human presence, human interaction, environment, primate clothing, posing, and object manipulation. These categories allowed us to capture species typical and anthropomorphic representations throughout the imagery. Preliminary analysis shows no relationship between human interaction and increased user engagement through likes, comments, or views. Imagery showing primates who appeared to be young, were wearing clothing or pet accessories, were interacting with objects designed for human use, or were in what appeared to be an indoor environment received more positive attention. This suggests that although the general public is not directly reinforcing human engagement with primates, they are still viewing and interacting more with imagery that depicts primates as human or pet like in nature.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Kara Gabriel

Department/Program

Psychology

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May 18th, 12:00 PM

#Chimp: An analysis of primate depictions on Instagram and user engagement

Ellensburg

The way in which primates are portrayed on social media has become a topic of controversy, with welfare agencies contending that inappropriate imagery is fueling the exotic pet trade. Previous research has shown that chimpanzee use in entertainment materials can threaten conservation efforts by influencing personal beliefs related to ownership rights and species abundance. There is currently little understanding of how these effects carry over to social media, and what depictions of primates are prevalent on Instagram. Our study aimed to systematically categorize how primates are presented on Instagram and evaluate public interaction with various types of content. We extracted and recorded data for 1,381 videos and images of primates under the hashtags #chimp, #chimpanzee, #monkey, and #ape. To determine which visual characteristics received the most attention from Instagram users, we assessed primate age, human presence, human interaction, environment, primate clothing, posing, and object manipulation. These categories allowed us to capture species typical and anthropomorphic representations throughout the imagery. Preliminary analysis shows no relationship between human interaction and increased user engagement through likes, comments, or views. Imagery showing primates who appeared to be young, were wearing clothing or pet accessories, were interacting with objects designed for human use, or were in what appeared to be an indoor environment received more positive attention. This suggests that although the general public is not directly reinforcing human engagement with primates, they are still viewing and interacting more with imagery that depicts primates as human or pet like in nature.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2020/COTS/116