By Mary Sauer
Information collected from photos and text shared on the social media platform Instagram can be utilized to observe trends in underage drinking, says researchers from the University of Rochester. Additionally, conventional survey methods are more expensive and inefficient when compared to their plans to use Instagram to gather data.
Instagram's popularity among the target age group, combined with the ability to observe behavior in a more natural state, is one reason researchers have begun to consider the validity of using social media to collect information for research.
Although Instagram does not allow users to be searched by their age, Jiebo Luo, professor of computer science at the University of Rochester, has developed a strategy for collecting information from photographs and text concerning age, gender and drinking habits using computer vision techniques.
The information obtained, according to Luo, could serve in efforts to prevent underage drinking by pointing risk factors and times when underage drinking is most likely to occur.