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What a Selfie Really Says About You

What a Selfie Really Says About You

selfies blog postIn 2014, Merriam-Webster officially added the word “Selfie” to the dictionary with the approved definition as an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera for posting on social networks. And while not officially included in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the spin-off word “Usie” is also gaining popularity. While the definition of  usie is pretty obvious, a selfie with two or more people, goes on to define it as – A photo of a couple, usually looking all loved up and very happy; taken by one half of the couple in the photo. It is then posted to Facebook/Instagram/Twitter to show everyone how happy the couple are together, and to make their single friends feel depressed about being single and worry about impending spinsterhood. OUCH! That’s just mean, isn’t it? And what about those photos with three or more, well that would be a “Group Selfie”.

Research shows that selfies may actually say a lot about our personalities, and not always in a favorable way. A study conducted by Ohio State University found that men who posted more photos of themselves online scored higher in measures of narcissism (inflated self-image, often motivated by underlying insecurity) and psychopathy (lack of empathy and impulsive behavior). The researchers asked 800 men between the ages of 18 and 40 to fill out an online questionnaire asking about their photo posting habits on social media. The survey included questions about how often they posted photos of themselves on social media, and about whether or not they edited photos before posting. The participants were also asked to fill out standard questionnaires measuring anti-social behaviors and self-objectification (the tendency to overly focus one’s appearance).

While posting photos correlated to both narcissism and psychopathy, editing was only associated with narcissism. This made sense to researchers. Since psychopathy is associated with impulsivity these guys aren’t going to take the time to edit. They want to see themselves right away.

The findings don’t mean that all men who post selfies are actually narcissists or psychopaths, but they did score higher than others in these anti-social traits, even though they were still within the normal range of behavior.

SelfiesWomen post selfies too, but perhaps for different reasons. Some may argue that it is a positive self-esteem builder for girls, as Rachel Simmons at Slate said when she called the selfie a tiny pulse of girl pride – a shout-out to the self. She gave the example of a group selfie posted by the first four women to complete Marine infantry combat training in 2013. But for others, the selfie is nothing more than a product of a society obsessed with physical beauty and approval from others. Thanks to social media we are all celebrities and sharing what we eat, where we eat it and with whom, elevates us to the level of the Kardashians. Love ’em or hate ‘em, the selfies…and usies…and group selfies… are here to stay. Stay tuned, we explore people who take food selfies next.

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