We all have at least one of them. You know who I mean…that one person who is constantly posting pictures starring their #1 favorite person: themselves. In any given day, you’re treated to five “duckface” poses as well as various shots of Selfie Star going about their day. Though likely the cry of someone desperate for attention, you can’t help but refuse to like any of these posts. Far from entertaining, they actually drive you a little bit crazy; sometimes to the point where you have to “unfollow” the person’s Facebook profile in order to remain friends with them. What is it that drives someone to post endless selfies on a daily basis?
What is a selfie?
The term “selfie” has only very recently entered our vocabularies. Prior to the advent of the cell phone, we really didn’t see such an animal. Today, selfies are everywhere and have even inspired the invention of a self-proclaimed “selfie-stick” to enable selfie photographers to get the perfect shot of themselves.
But just what is a selfie?
A selfie is essentially a picture that someone takes of themselves via a phone or webcam with the intent of posting it on various different social media platforms. Most selfies are accomplished by activating the front-facing camera on a smart phone, but some brave souls do attempt to take selfies the old-fashioned way to mixed results.
Why do people post selfies?
We live in a very self-centered, narcissistic era, and it can become easy to dismiss the selfie phenomenon as part of that. While there are surely some people who post daily selfies simply because they enjoy looking at themselves, they are most typically the exception and not the rule.
Here are some reasons why people might post frequent selfies:
- As means of self-expression
For some people, a selfie is merely a means to express the different aspects of their personality. They enjoy documenting the things they are doing, and often, others appreciate being allowed to go along for the ride as well.
Selfies are particularly attractive to people who enjoy “dressing up” or who love makeup or food. Why not take a photo of a picture of yourself beside your latest cupcake creation? Put together a smashing ensemble today? Why not document the “look” for the world to see?
Selfies can be an opportunity for people to remember particularly great occasions or things the person is truly proud of. What better way to create a memory than to post a great photo? It is a living occasion to celebrate someone’s uniqueness and can be viewed again and again as a reminder of wonderful times.
- To get attention
The obvious assumption is that people who post repetitive selfies are looking for attention, and this can be quite true. Social media can lend itself well to addictive personalities who begin to feel driven to achieve more and more “likes” on their posts as a means to feel valued and appreciated.
At times, some people choose to post many daily selfies with the intent of gaining the attention, and hopefully the affections, of one person, in particular. Sadly, this can often backfire as many people tire easily of being bombarded by constant images of the same person throughout a day. This can have the reverse effect of what the selfie poster was trying to achieve. Instead of getting more attention and interest, they can end up becoming “unfollowed” or even “unfriended” which means not only less attention but actual apathy or even pity and frustration on behalf of the intended selfie viewer.
- For something to do
For someone who is simply bored and looking for something to pass the time, taking a selfie can be just what the doctor ordered. Achieving the perfect selfie photo can be akin to an art form. Lighting makes a difference as does location and even things like clothing, props, and makeup. Making a project out of creating the ideal postable image can help the selfie photographer to learn new skills in a way that can be advantageous to them and to others. Done in moderation, it is a harmless way to pass the time.
- To keep their social media profiles active
With the algorithms of social media newsfeeds set to give priority to people whose profiles are most active, this can provide great impetus for people to take and post selfies. After all, the more a person posts, they more they are seen. Many people enjoy having a profile that is seen as a place where things happen. Frequent selfies can help them to achieve this goal.
- To build self-esteem
Sadly, some people do suffer from very low self-esteem and turn to the internet to gain the approval that they desperately seek. Unfortunately, these same individuals are often far less than discriminating in who they add as friends and who they invite to become their friends. When selfie takers lack feelings of self-worth, they can become easy targets for predators. Their selfies become increasingly provocative and attract the wrong kind of attention. This is particularly dangerous when the behavior is seen in teenagers who lack the ability to discern between someone whose motives may be far less than pure.
In today’s society, we also see an alarming trend where people fail to be as honest as they should be. Children of today live in a world where they are often not held accountable for their own actions. It is an “everyone gets a trophy” type of environment. Unfortunately, the world fails to operate according to these rules. Shielding children from the truth backfires, causing even greater harm when it is revealed at a later date and is contrary to what the person has always believed about themselves. The selfie phenomenon plays into this societal epidemic by driving people to determine their worth by the opinions of strangers who have far less than their best interests at heart.
The Dangers of Selfies
While selfies can be harmless fun, they can also be a gateway to all sorts of trouble. Teenagers should be well-supervised by their parents in order to prevent them from toxic and harmful online relationships. But it is not just children that are at risk. Adults are also often targeted; particularly, if they are vulnerable and seeking love and attention.
Here are some dangers selfies can cause if proper precautions are not put in place:
- Eating disorders
While we know in our minds that the internet has equipped people with a variety of tools to enhance photos, we still tend to compare ourselves against what is out there. This is even more dangerous when it comes to young, impressionable minds who are prone to take everything at face value. They look at photos of other teenage girls and celebrities and begin to categorize all of their perceived faults until they are firmly convinced that they come up short and are not worthy of being loved. This can then lead to eating disorders, dissatisfaction with body-image, and even devastatingly low self-esteem.
- Loss of “in person” relationships
With the advent of cell phones, it has become easier and easier for people to live their lives “online.” Many social media users begin to interface exclusively with their cyber friends, cutting out flesh and blood family and true friends in the process. Sadly, these online friends may be people who the person has never even met in person, and yet, they are given tremendous power over the person’s emotional well-being.
- Online bullying
Social media has empowered a new type of bully. Capable of hiding behind a computer screen, some social media users lack the manners to use their words to build up others, and instead use these tools as a means to tear them apart. Cyberbullying has become an epidemic and has played a role in many cases of depression and even suicide in recent years.
Your selfie pictures drive me nuts! If you’ve ever said it or even thought it, you are not alone! While posting selfies can be a completely harmless activity, it’s important to maintain proper boundaries. As with many things in life, moderation is key. If someone else’s constant selfie posting has you feeling a little crazy, a simple 30 days snooze might be just what the doctor ordered.