Selfies: a small analysis

4 Reasons why we take and post selfies

    We all do it.

Some more than others. Now that everyone has an HD camera in their pocket, `Selfies`are so quick and easy. But what is the reasoning behind it? How did Selfies become a worldwide phenomenon, so much so that the word has even been named Word of the Year in 2013 and included in the Oxford Dictionary?

According to Oxford Dictionary: Selfie is a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

       We seem to love to take pictures of ourselves and post them online for other people to see, like and comment on. Are we searching for approval and validation? Nevertheless, if you think about it, this is not really a new and innovative idea. Self- portraits have been around since the traditional paint brush, maybe before that.

Reason 1: We want and need to be loved

         When we post a selfie for the world to see and judge, we eagerly await for the likes and comments to show up from friends and strangers. Now, these comments are not always milk and honey, but that is the risk we are willing to take in order to make ourselves seen.

Interestingly enough, immediately after posting, we rapidly refresh the page to see how quickly comments begin rolling in.

         Why? A very basic explanation comes to mind: because these likes and comments make us feel loved. After all, it was a picture of one’s face. Maybe we are not so ugly or pretty after all?

        Every one of us has a deep desire to be loved. It is what we are all existentially looking for.

Reason 2: We want to be accepted

      Those same likes and comments play the acceptance role. Our mind goes: `I have posted a picture of my face and 25 people liked it! Wow! Surely, they must think I am cool, good- looking, fun or maybe they want to date me?’ Let us look at Germany, its youth and their word of choice for 2022: ‘smash’. I believe it needs no further explanation or how is this relevant in social media times.

     We all have such types of thoughts running through our minds. Perhaps we would only like to know that someone else cares about us, that they see us or that we matter.

      With social media and its rise, it is easier than ever to idolize your favorite artists and literally watch them live their lives in front of our eager eyes, from our phones, one photo, reel, video and tweet at a time.

Taking selfies has become so common that it is uncommon if someone doesn’t do it.

      Standard behavior: people take multiple selfies and will only post the best ones, albeit some post them all. So we get a slideshow of the best selection of photos of all of our contacts, friends, family or random strangers, who are all united by the same burning desire to be loved and accepted. We all try really hard to take a great selfie, to get more likes and comments, more interaction, and the cycle continues.

      So, what happens next? Comparison.

      Theodore Roosevelt made a statement that holds true for eternity: ‘Comparison is the thief of joy.` This only shows us focusing on lack rather than what we have, leading towards a strong sense of dissatisfaction with our lives.

Reason 3: We want to matter

        We are constantly bombarded and we bombard with selfies from vacation, meetings, restaurants, work stances, fun activities or just at home. When we see them, we subconsciously think: ‘that person must lead such an exciting life and does all sorts of amazing things…’

     This thought process makes us want to post selfies showing the world that we too, happen to be just as great, fun people. We want to matter. We want people to think highly of us.

We care what people think about us.

Reason 4: We want connection

       The reason social media sites and apps like Facebook, Instagram and recently, Tik-Tok are so hugely popular is because we are typically and mostly social beings who desire relationships with one another. Do we need them to live? Yes. Do we need them to grow? Yes.

     I do not wish to state that selfies are `bad’, as I have seen many cases where someone had a very specific purpose for taking a selfie. Did you get a new car and you really want to show it to your friends? Maybe you just won a basketball tournament and you snap a quick selfie with the caption #champions. Or, even better, you have just graduated college and you snap a selfie in your graduation gown.

Let us not forget: moderation is a good thing to always practice and exercise. At the end of the day, posting selfies or anything on social media helps us stay connected to our friends and family and most importantly, it keeps them connected to us.

Sources: personal thoughts, the internet