How often do you get to see selfies? Not exactly see it but eventually get involved in selfies. Everyday with social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram you are practically involved and prolonged to see selfies of your friends and also your own. Taking selfies are getting more popular these days compared to the regular photos where someone else holds the camera. This is because it gives ordinary people like you and me to share the same as celebrities would do to convey themselves.
Basically, its very easy to identify a selfie and a normal photo where you have the extended arm towards the camera in the picture.
Back in 2010, when Apple first introduced the iPhone 4 that has a front-facing-camera allowing people actively control the picture they project, that is when the selfies start becoming viral all over the SNSs. A recent survey of more than 800 teenagers by the Pew Research Center(2013) found that 91% posted photos of themselves online – up from 79% in 2006.
When analysing the art-form of the selfie, the mainstream media and academics try to determine why people like taking these type of photos; musing that it has something to do with either narcissism or self-esteem.According to Daniel Halpern, he claims that his research proves that people who take selfies and share them on social media are either narcissistic to begin with or gradually become narcissists from frequently posting images of themselves (2016). Halpern explains this by saying, “…users who engage in this behaviour probably feel rewarded by sharing their own images with other users, augmenting their levels of narcissism and consequently their use of SNS for selfie production” (2016).
In building up their own images through selfies, it can be said that its a form of self branding where people understand who you are and what you are made of. To say selfie takers are narcissists is a very narrow minded and stereotypical opinion. Just because one wants to look good in a photo, does not necessarily mean they are full of themselves. Most likely the usual saying of don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but subsequently a selfie posted on social media we practically judge you in the selfie itself. For example, celebrity showing off their new expensive Chanel hand bag, what does that make you think of that person? Some might think oh, she’s famous so she can do whatever she wants or maybe such a lucky girl to be sponsored. Ladies and gentlemen, a picture really speaks a thousand words.
According to Christopher Barry, he states that selfies are photos that became popular from 2004 onwards and is “an aspect of current pop culture” (2015, p.2). In his research based on data collected from undergraduate university students between the ages of 18 – 43 (Barry 2015, p.1), Barry believes that taking selfies is a mix between narcissism and self-esteem. He goes on to explain this by saying that people who take selfies to show off the best side of themselves have “vulnerable narcissism” and “fragile self-esteem” (2015, p.8).
After a selfie is taken, using photo sharing apps usually provides tools such as filters, cropping and other editing tools for the individual to slowly craft a preferred image for others to see. Individuals who lack high-esteem have a hidden narcissistic personality as they feel secure enough to share photos of themselves on social media, in particular, ones that they edit to look more appealing.
In a nutshell, selfies are just a picture of the individual living the moment at the time. Being argued of narcissism and building self-esteem, it is what the person wishes to share on social media to show their friends and family. Its best if everyone to control and not be too obsessed over selfies where it will then become a severe problem of narcissism.
Barry, C 2015, ‘“Let Me Take a Selfie”: Associations Between Self-Photography, Narcissism, and Self-Esteem’, Psychology of popular media culture, advance online publication, pp.1-8.
Halpern, D 2016, ‘“Selfie-ists” or “Narci-selfers”? A cross-lagged panel analysis of Selfie Taking and Narcissism’, Personality and individual differences, vol. 97, pp. 98-10.
Pew Research Center 2016, Teens Fact Sheet, accessed 7/4/2016, http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/teens-fact-sheet/