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SEPT  8, 2016

Log onto Facebook or Instagram at any given moment and you’ll find literally thousands of selfies.  Some are from legitimate celebrities, but the greater majority is from average, ordinary individuals.  Most of the top selfie posters are teens or twenty-somethings, the millennials who seem to live for social media exposure.  But why do we have such a seeming obsession with being seen?

The easy answer is to say that we are an increasingly self-centered society, and that’s actually true.  Narcissism has been on the rise for many years now, well before the dawn of social media, and now with the ability to instantly post our smiling faces for the world to see and comment on, the condition is only getting worse.

Instagram in particular seems to be a haven for selfie fanatics.  In fact, the third most popular hashtag on the site now is #me.  That should tell you an awful lot about our obsession with the selfie right there.  Go to the “Explore” tab on Instagram (recently changed from the less politically correct “Popular”) and you’ll find countless examples of the selfie, in all its pouty-faced, fish-lipped glory.

So what is feeding this need to be seen?  Some experts would have you think it’s an addiction.  The sheer number of selfies on social media would certainly bear that out.  Admittedly, there is something exciting about seeing all of those smiley faces and hearts popping up as people view our pictures and hit the “like” button.  It’s human nature to enjoy hearing that people like you and it can be a healthy thing, helping to bolster a formerly low sense of self-esteem.

In a world dominated by airbrushed photos of unattainable perfection, seeing images of ordinary, average looking people isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Unfortunately, though, not all of the attention selfies get is good.  Those with low self-esteem can take the criticism to heart and become even more down on themselves.  And yet they continue to take their selfies and post them in a sort of junior high popularity contest gone bad kind of way.  

Of course, the need for acceptance is part of our human nature and with the advent of social media we can get that acceptance instantly and on a global scale.  It’s hardly surprising that it would become addictive.  You no longer need to be a Hollywood Star to be a celebrity; anyone can enjoy fame through social media, just by putting their picture out there for the world to see.

Taking selfies can be perfectly acceptable when practiced in moderation.  It can be a great way to share what’s happening in your life with friends and family you don’t see often.  But when it crosses the line to recording every single moment for your adoring public, that’s when you need to take a step back and consider if it might be time to put down the selfie stick and come up for air.

Color photograpn of bearded man with short brown hair neatly cut, white shirt, and black tie, holding a cell phone in his right hand while the left hand is a waving hi position and taking a photo of himself smiling.

Hello, Can You See Me Now?

Narcissism has been on the rise for many years now and it looks like its getting worse.


Image: 123RF

“Not surprisingly, the generation that has taken to them more than any other are the Millennials (ages 18 to 33), who have grown up with the new digital technologies of the 21st century. They’re the heaviest users of the internet, cell phones and social media sites. And a new
Pew Research Center survey finds that 55% of Millennials have posted a “selfie” on a social media site; no other generation is nearly as inclined to do this.”

Shopping Mall Selfies
For some reason there is a fascination with taking your picture at the shopping mall and posting it for the world to see.

The Era of Me!
It’s all about you (right?) . . and what makes you happy, with selfies as the ultimate graphic representation of this self-centered mindset.

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Selfies While Driving

The latest dangerous trend among teens is posting selfies while driving.  It seems impossible to believe but some folks just don’t see the harm in this activity.

Color photograph of young male sitting behind the wheel of a car and holding his cell phone like he's going to take a selfie.

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