We’ve all seen then. Perhaps most of us have even been guilty of posting them… I’m talking about selfies!
Selfies are self-portrait photographs often taken using a digital camera or smartphone held at arms length or by photographing oneself in a mirror. These photos are then typically uploaded to social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.
Selfies are everywhere! So why are they so popular?
Well, selfies are quick and easy to take and just as easy to share. Taking a selfie also provides the individual with control over the photograph and the ability to retake until they get one that they are happy with. Some individuals may also feel more comfortable posing for selfie than they would if someone else was taking the photo. They are also a convenient way to share an outfit, hairstyle or other ‘look’ with your friends and selfies are often used by fashion bloggers and social media users for cosmetics tutorials etc.
The Week recently asked some ‘selfie sharers’ why they take selfies and their responses echoed some of the aforementioned reasons, including to display new clothing or accessories. In addition, they also mentioned that selfies provide a good excuse to get dressed up (or ‘to get all cute’ as one respondent refers to it) and that they also like to receive lots of compliments. On that note, many people do regard selfies as narcissistic and vain. However, another ‘selfie sharer’ regards his selfies as a form of self-gratification, e.g., wanting to document a moment when he was feeling good about himself, rather than primarily for posing for other people or fishing for compliments (although he acknowledges that this is an additional benefit).
Other reasons included the desire to use selfies as a form of self expression, one female ‘selfie sharer’ explains that she feels that everyone is being documented online all the time and selfies are a way of trying to take control of your online self image. She refers to selfies as allowing her to control how and why people look at her online, i.e., allowing her to control the type of image she is portraying and therefore the audience she is attracting.
So it appears that there may be more to selfies than just simple, straightforward narcissism – although undoubtfully there is an element of that hidden there somewhere… but we’re only human!
But, before you go sharing your latest selfies…
A recent study suggests that sharing too many selfies online may have the potential to damage offline real-world friendships. The researchers found that sharing too many selfies was linked to decreased feelings of social support and intimacy from the viewer. (This tends to apply to distant or more shallow relationships, e.g., work colleagues or general Facebook friends – rather than really close friends or family who generally do not mind viewing our selfies!).
However, that doesn’t seem to have stopped Rihanna, Kim Kardashian or Lady GaGa getting in on the action!
So what about you, are you a selfie sharer?