What to Do About “Selfies”

Have you ever stopped to think just how crazy the whole social era is? Today, seeing one of your friend’s or family member’s faces splashed all over the Internet is as commonplace as eating or drinking. Photos are a great way to showcase the here and now, but there’s one type of picture in particular that has me intrigued (to say the least) every time I see it: the oh-so-familiar “selfie.” It hasn’t lost momentum from its infantile MySpace days and shows no signs of slowing down. I’ve often thought about the social psychology of the “selfie” and found the behavior an interesting topic to ponder. After all, we’ve all at some point had a conversation questioning someone else’s motives for posting certain images.

Make Note of the Difference

What is a Selfie? I want to make sure were talking about the same “selfie.” There are a couple different types. The first are those avatar and profile images used for an online profile, then there are the photos that aren’t needed, but we take them anyway. I think it’s important to differentiate the two because I’m mainly referring to the latter. The latter is the one that people make fun of, the latter is the one that graces Instagram feeds, dating profiles and Tumblr dashboards.

This is a selfie:

IMG_0922Why All the Selfies?

Reasons vary as to why certain women pucker their best duck face or why men feel it’s a must to flex for the camera. Circumstances dictate the composition of each selfie, but those who take one with intent to share do it for one simple reason: the ego. We all, to some degree, care about our self-image, and we tend to rely on others’ perceptions and judgments to formulate our own online self.

My Take on Selfies

Social sites today give us the option to decide how we would like to mold our online selves. We choose who to follow, what to share, how often and on which platforms. There is no sure thing, no sure guide as to how to operate your online profile. It’s individuality. It’s expression. Some love to share themselves more than others. Just like our day-to-day decisions, we have the ability to choose our online personalities.

I think we often forget just how much control we actually have over the content we see and the content we put out there. (Of course, societal pressures and competition to impress others is a fundamental human element to the social media space. It’s probably why I find the topic so interesting to begin with. But I digress.) It’s on us to decide what parameters we set for ourselves. Which is why I say: selfie away. If you want to post a daily photo of yourself, go for it. If you want to post an hourly photo of yourself, it’s your call. Your online presence is your brand, are you happy with what you’re putting out into the world?

For the Selfie-haters

Not everyone has the patience to sift through selfies as they scroll through social media. Fortunately, in the age of the Internet, you control both what you put into the world and what you see from it.

imagesUnbaby.me replaces baby pictures on Facebook and replaces them with photos of cats, bacon, beaches, or images from any RSS feed. I know that the babies aren’t taking selfies, but you can customize what words trigger the app. Try adding commonly used tags and words associated with selfies and soon you’ll see less headshots on your news feed.

Now that you’ve cleaned up Facebook, it’s time to hit up Tumblr. Thank you Tumblr Savior. Choose whatever tags you don’t want to see  on your dashboard and this app will hide them: #GPOY, #selfie, #tbt, #throwbackthursday, whatever you want. Instant selfie-blocker.

Final Thoughts

I’m torn, you know? I find some selfies incredibly annoying and seek out ways to block them, but on the same token, I understand why people want to show their friends what they’re up to. I accept that this is the era we live in. I guess I’m more interested in what others feel about the topic. Are selfies annoying to you? Do you unfollow people who post them at a machine gun pace? Do you ignore them? Or do you just accept that’s who she/he wants to portray?

About the author

Jeremy Juhasz