When it comes to selfies, we either love them or hate them. But have we actually taken the time to think about why we feel that way about selfies? Lets take some time to examine this.
Many people have heard that selfies are now associated with narcissism, superficiality, conceitedness, and have even been known to lead to mental disorders. There are studies that investigate the connection between taking selfies and how harmful they could be, but the truth is that the results are not significant enough to make such claims. The titles that the articles use are misleading, which conveys a wrong idea to the public.
It’s Not Revolutionary
Selfies are somewhat new considering the word ‘selfie’ was added to the Oxford dictionary in 2013. However, a selfie is just picture we take and choose for the world to see. This is just the act of portraying ourselves to others through modern means available. Artist before used to create self portraits while others hired someone to produce a portrait of them. Having an image of ourselves that others can see is not a revolutionary idea. The only new concept is the means through which it is done.
Taking selfies has become easier than ever due to the advancement in technology. Before only individuals that were wealthy could hire an artist to paint them. Then cameras came along and those who could afford them were able to take their own picture. Nowadays people from different economic statuses have access to cellphones and other digital devices allowing them to take selfies. Not only is technology more accessible it is also very user friendly allowing almost all individuals to be able to use them. Using these gadgets is as easy as taking a selfie on them. This has caused the production of selfies to multiply. Before it would take weeks before being able to see a picture taken of yourself now it only takes seconds. It is so easy to snap a picture of ourselves that millions of selfies are taken daily. On Androids alone about 93 millions selfies are taken daily.
(Source: Huffington Post)
Taking selfies is not the only thing that technology has made easier. How we share our selfies with the world has also changed. Before our picture would have to be put up in our house in a pretty frame, now social media has allowed us to share our picture with a wider audience.
(Source: Huffington Post)
Social media has expanded extensively. There are many sites which we use to share our pictures, including selfies. The most commonly known sites are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. The sites in which selfies are more predominantly shared or taken are Instagram and Snapchat.
Instagram vs Snapchat
Instagram is a mobile app that allows users to share pictures and videos while allowing the user to enhance them. Pictures posted are usually visible to anyone who runs across them or the hashtag it is captioned with; unless your account is on private. The expectation of the posts shared on Instagram is that they are supposed to be worthy of likes from others, the more the better. This means that our pictures must be high quality, interesting, and wrapped up with a clever caption. Therefore, when it comes to selfies the more likes you receive reflects how much people like you. Although selfies on Instagram are a way of portraying ourselves to the world as best as we possibly can, it has turned into portraying ourselves as what others want to see which can be a tedious activity.
On the other hand Snapchat is more for casual posts with less pressure to perfect your image.
Snapchat is an app that allows users to communicate through either video or photo messages. It also gives the option to apply filters like Instagram. The messages can be sent to a specific group or posted to our story which is deleted after 24 hours. On Snapchat the idea is to only have a close knit of friends to share your everyday life with. Snapchat makes taking selfies easy and sharing them fun without the pressure of having likes show up. Both Instagram and Snapchat are an easy way to share pictures with others. With both you can apply filters and add messages, however, Instagram requires more effort and pressure while Snapchat is more for spontaneous moments to be captured.
Selfies have changed since they first started and so have people’s comments about them. Selfies were taken in a careless way without really thinking about what others would think of you. Many people have made many negative remarks about how people look in selfies that taking a quick selfie and posting is no longer sufficient enough. This is especially true for women. Instead women now have to worry about how they look before taking a selfie, then consider how flattering that picture was. Making sure that we look as best as we possibly can in a selfie has led to new trends to obtain the perfect selfie.
To take the perfect selfie one must consider the lighting, background, facial expression, angle of the camera and your face, amount of snaps, and filters.
Advantages of Selfies
Now you could think that selfies are a very tedious, but taking selfies can have benefits. It can help increase self-esteem and empower someone, or simply be a healthy way to learn to love yourself. Feeling empowered and more confident can be felt momentarily and later on when looking back at the selfies. When you take a selfie you are just trying to express yourself. A selfie gives you an excuse to smile, and can serve as a reminder of how great you looked on a particular day. Selfies do not have to be a harmful thing, taking selfies is just like any other hobby which can help make those boring times a little more entertaining. The ‘perfect selfie’ can seem like a pointless thing but taking the time to get ready and look good is something that makes you feel good regardless of whether you take a picture or not. Taking a selfie when you are all dolled up can be rewarding when looking back at it. Even during times you do not look your best having a selfie can bring memories associated with those times. Selfies give you control: you choose how to take the picture, when to take it and who you want to share the picture with.
Me and My Selfies
Although sometimes selfies can be tedious and time consuming, I ultimately stand with the group who loves selfies. Selfies are a way that allow me to be myself. To me selfies are a way to entertain myself and express how feel. I can make silly faces, serious expression or just random poses. I do take a considerable amount of selfies, which some could say look the same but to me they don’t. When it comes to posting selfies online my main platform is Snapchat. I do use Instagram too but not as often. As you can see the selfies above are from Instagram, you can the number of likes and a caption. In contrast, the ones below are Snapchat selfies, just pictures with no likes or captions. Not having a number appear next to my pictures is one of the reasons why Snapchat is the platform through which I share most of my selfies. The number that appears on my Instagram pictures reflects others’ approval of my pictures. Being able to see how many people approve of my selfies takes the fun out of selfies for me. In general my phone contains many selfies of either me or me with friends and family. Taking selfies makes me feel better about myself, but it also helps me see that even with my imperfections I still can look great.