Are you a stealth boaster or a truly humble poster? What the holiday shots you share say about you.

It doesn’t matter whether you are nestling in the Tuscan hills, reclining on a lounger in Mykonos or surfing in Cornwall, if you are holidaying in the 21st century you will photograph every inch of your break – and then share it with your followers on social media.


Click, click, click goes your phone’s constant refrain. Then, in your downtime, you review the day’s haul and decide which elements to push out to the world’s waiting audience. A filter here, a hashtag there and you are good to go.

You might believe that you are posting random slices of your week, that there is no significance to the particular photos you choose. But you are wrong. Several scientific studies have found that your choice of photo reveals a lot about you.

The findings of one study, carried out by a clinical psychologist on behalf of loveholidays.com, may make you rethink your Instagram habits.

The research found that people who post bronzed “hot dog leg” shots are “vain, artistic, body confident and addicted to social media”. If you love a novelty landmark shot, you are likely to be a “show off, jester and trend-follower”. Fans of the group selfie are “social butterflies and attention seekers”.

Meanwhile, more serious research undertaken at Harvard University found that your posts hold clues to the state of your mental health.

“Pixel analysis of the photos in our dataset revealed that depressed individuals in our sample tended to post photos that were, on average, bluer, darker, and grayer than those posted by healthy individuals,” say the scientists who led the study, Chris Danforth and Andrew Reece.

But here is the real sting. A study published in the journal, Computers in Human Behaviour, found that narcissists use Instagram to make them look cool.

The authors say: “Narcissists can post and manipulate specific photos to make themselves and their lives appear to be a certain way. Instagram appeals to narcissists, because many interactions on it are ‘surfacy’ or ‘shallow’.” Ouch.

So, snap away on holiday – but do so in the knowledge that your silent posts actually speak volumes.

August 2018