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Posts Tagged ‘selfie’

The Selfie Paradox

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Nearly from the dawn of social media and digital cameras, the phenomenon of the ‘selfie’ was born. It’s become so popular that the word ‘selfie’ was Oxford Dictionary’s international Word of the Year in 2013. According to Google, 93 million selfies are taken per day and females aged 16 to 25 spend five hours per week taking selfies – are we a bunch of egomaniacs, or what ?

With the booming popularity of selfies, it’s safe to assume that people love seeing them; similar to the way they love YouTube cat videos and hilarious memes, right? But no… A recent study by Ludwig-Maximilians-University found that 82% of respondents said they would like to see fewer selfies and more of other kinds of photos on social media. Interestingly, 50% of those same respondents admitted to taking and posting selfies themselves.

Why the paradoxical results? According to researchers, these discrepancies suggest that selfies fulfill some basic psychological needs in terms of self-representation and self-image. To justify this need, people have created a selfie-bias; convincing themselves that their own selfies are authentic, genuine and at the same time ‘self-ironic’ with little emotional commitment. Conversely, they view other people’s selfies as fake, narcissistic, manipulative and annoying. For example, 90% of respondents said other people’s selfies were crafted to project a specific image and 40% of respondents perceived self-irony in their own selfies, compared to just 13% for other people’s selfies.

But how can so many people be habitually participating in a behavior they essentially see as ridiculous? Researchers say it’s a classic case of ‘cognitive dissonance’ — but to the average Joe, it sounds downright irrational, incoherent and batty.

Why would anyone rationalize that their selfies are somehow more favorable or enjoyable than the other 93 million taken on any given day? Do they really think they’re that special? It’s time to accept that everyone’s selfies are regrettable and no one likes seeing them (except of course for the person taking the selfie). Let’s stop the selfie madness and spend all of that extra time doing something productive, like capturing more adorable cat videos.

Are you a narcissist?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Cancer Research UK has raised over ‘8 million ‘ more than $13 million ‘ in the past week. The campaign strategy: Take a picture of yourself make-up free, post it on social media with a call to action for donations, and raise awareness for cancer. Women across the UK have been populating their social media platforms with images their faces sans make-up and have encouraged their friends to do the same. This initiative was organized independently from Cancer Research UK and is an example of new and effective fundraising tactics. The no-making up selfie spread throughout the UK and into the United States, had significant celebrity support, and raised an unprecedented amount of funds.

With the advent of Instagram and Snapchat, selfies have become an of-the moment and expression; with the the term was just added to the Oxford English Dictionary last year. The growing trend has not come without its fair share of concerns. International Business Times reported that scientific research has found that selfies are linked to mental conditions that focus on a person’s obsession with looks such as narcissism, addiction, and other forms of mental illness. However, there are a growing number of selfie supporters arguing that this is good for girls. Feminists see the self-promotion as a beneficial way to encourage pride and self-confidence amongst young girls. But while there are advocates and foes around the phenomenon, do selfies really help fight cancer?

Although the selfie campaign has generated vast attention and financial support, was it for the right reasons? Many have problems with the campaign message, fearing the initiative had more motivation in vanity than charity. Are you really connecting more with cancer patients or survivors when you show the world what you look like without make-up? While it’s perhaps unfair to harshly judge the motives of so many women, one can’t help but wonder why it was necessary for this to be the campaign motivator. It’s not uncommon for women to go make-up free on a daily basis, and it seems a little patronizing to assume that women who do wear makeup have any less perspective or awareness of world events.

Putting aside the selfie quotient, how effective is this for a long-term and sustainable promotion? Most of the selfies did share a #beatcancer message, but there wasn’t a link of details to instruct viewers to make a donation. In fact, almost ‘20,000 was donated to the wrong charities, primarily UNICEF and the World Wildlife Federation. Although’ fund adjustments have been made, the lack of both charity and clarity amongst the bare-faced promoters is a little worrisome.

Ultimately, Cancer Research UK raised enough money to fund 10 clinical trials. Although the selfie tactic might not have been the most intellectually evolved method, did the ends justify the means? This will probably be up for debate as long as phones have front-facing cameras. In the meantime, the conversation around charitable giving and mobilizing advocates on social media is always worth having.