Sunday, February 2, 2014

Social Psychology of the Selfie

Selfies or self portraits are widely used across social media platforms as a way to gauge social rank. As much as the selfie is visibly about the photographer, it is also very much about the way a person's recognition surrounding their portrait stacks up against the praise and recognition of their peers. In social media culture, appreciation of a person's posts are measured in "likes" and comments. The aftermath of these posts can deeply affect a person's self esteem whether the photo is received well, poorly, or goes completely unnoticed by others. Many people feel driven to compete with others in their network, and focus the material of their selfies as an attempt to directly one- up the other person's post. If the self initiated competition ends in victory, it provides an extra dose of self esteem, even more so than a randomly taken selfie that collects a satisfactory amount if attention. All of this attention helps a person learn about which of their assets are the most popular whether physical or social. It seems to me that this feedback could be both practical and detrimental to a person. In some ways a person learns about themselves and how others value what they have to offer, but in other instances a person might turn off or hide aspects of themselves that are actually really great and genuine qualities, but resulted in negative social feedback for whatever reason (which is a shame). That being said, if a person drastically changes themselves because of a previous experience with a selfie, they probably have a larger self esteem issue which is influenced by pretty much any social encounter, not just ones that occur on Instagram.

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