If social media is the narcissist's tool, then a social media company's year-in-review is the narcissist's thinkpiece. We, the users, like to brag about what we discussed, where we went, who we liked—and what better way to revisit these obsessions than with the annual deluge of year-end top-10 lists? Facebook tells us we freaked out over Ebola and obsessed over the Ice Bucket Challenge. Twitter reminds us how much we loved taking selfies. Tumblr shows how often we reblogged GIFs of kittens.
But these lists aren't just reminders. They also offer insight into how some people behaved online. Consider the places users went—or at least the places where they turned on geotagging features—in 2014, according to Facebook and Instagram. The locations below are the most checked into for the former, and the most photographed for the latter. In other words, they're the places Facebook and Instagram users felt the need to share with others:
Facebook and Instagram's Most Popular U.S. Locations
|1. Disney Properties||1. Disneyland|
|2. Universal Studios Hollywood||2. Dodger Stadium|
|3. Times Square||3. Times Square|
|4. Yosemite National Park||4. Madison Square Garden|
|5. Grand Canyon National Park||5. Yankee Stadium|
|6. Yellowstone National Park||6. AT&T Park|
|7. Yankee Stadium||7. Golden Gate Bridge|
|8. Las Vegas Strip||8. Santa Monica Pier|
|9. Hollywood Walk of Fame||9. Universal Studios Hollywood|
|10. Madison Square Garden||10. Fenway Park|
Unsurprisingly, visitors swarmed to big cities. But while the two platforms used similar methodology to compile their data (Facebook tracked check-ins; Instagram consulted geotagged locations), there are discrepancies between the lists: People liked to check in at national parks on Facebook, for example, when in previous years, national parks failed to crack the top 10. Why are people differing on where they check in and where they photograph?