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Effect of the Selfie on Society and the Individual

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Published: Fri, 06 Jul 2018

“Selfie”: A Study on How It Changes Everything

INTRODUCTION

Selfie has been all over the newsfeeds and home pages in social networking websites. In fact, it has been a part of other people’s daily routine. For them, to take a selfie is completely necessary. Every second there is a selfie that is updated with a unique caption and tons of hash tags that are not really related to the whole picture. The question is why are people so hooked with taking selfies?

Right now, there are more than 80 million photos in Instagram that falls under #selfie. According to Lev Manovich, a computer science professor at the Graduate Center, 61.6% of selfies came from women while 36.7% came from men (Stinson, 2014). Selfie has become a big hit and a world phenomenon. Not surprisingly, it has been added to the Oxford Dictionaries and it was even their word of the year.

Social Media has been responsible for making selfie popular especially among teenagers. Since famous celebrities and other TV personalities have social media accounts, other teenagers tend to see how they strike a pose and get million likes. Teenagers would probably be interested in taking selfies too because they’re idols are doing it. But for some, it is their way of expressing their self and to test how they really look. Unfortunately, some use it to seek attention and to show off what they have and what they’re doing. Selfie is sometimes meant to attract other users to follow you or add you as a friend.

There are many things to unravel behind every selfie that people took. It is imperative to know these things since everyone is all affected by it. Physically and psychologically, there is a need for people to know the effects and the reasons why everybody are all into taking “Selfie”.

Duck face, peace sign, wacky poses, mirror and candid shots, all of these are associated with the word “Selfie”. As it goes viral, People’s social lives and the way they perceive things are now different unlike before. They tend to draw too much attention on what people will say than what they think of their selves.

Having a selfie is important. From what you see in a single photo taken from your camera will actually determine your views about yourself and how you will construct your social being. The problem is that everybody takes this thing seriously. People spend most of our time taking photos of their selves, thinking for the right pose, filters to be used and caption to be put. Sometimes, they do this not for them but for the people who are going to l0ook in the photo. It might be simple but not everyone can see the effects of it in people’s lives. The Psychological effects of selfie have been very serious especially for the teenagers. Now, they don’t just base their looks on what is reflected on the mirror but also what is captured in the camera. Their self-esteem is just developed when they see likes and positive feedbacks from their online friends and followers. Values and social ethics are completely affected. In some case, people go beyond their limit and do things that are improper to get the attention of other users. There are some selfies that unpleasant, malicious and irrelevant and it has a great impact on people who would probably see it.

What the researcher wants to stress in this paper is the positive and negative impacts of selfie in our society, economy and to everyone’s life. It will reveal the invisible ideas and realizations about selfie. The development of technology and how it strengthened the popularity of selfie will also be discussed. This may also help on finding the real answer why people result to selfie addiction that can still be prevented with a very helpful solution.

In our present time, when everything is modern and innovated, how a person takes a selfie really matters. Everyone is very eager to cultivate their time and effort to maintain their online image to the public. As people change their attitude towards selfie, more problems arise not only in their personal lives but also in the whole society. In this paper, there are three major objectives, and these are: To identify the positive and negative impacts of selfie to society, economy and to personal lives. To determine how the advancement of modern technology contributed to the popularity of selfie. To distinguish the advantage and disadvantages of selfie in viewing yourself and other people’s opinion.

BODY

The Good, Bad, and the Unforeseen Consequences of Selfie Obsession

Activate your front camera in your smart phone, choose for the best angle that will make your cheekbones more defined, eyes look bigger and skin whiter, and then click. That’s how easy you can take a selfie.

Now, there are 80 million photos on Instagram that has been hash tagged as selfie. 91% of it came from the teenagers. Not surprisingly, celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Demi Lovato are total selfie addicts. You are not alone. According to Pamela Rutledge, Ph.D.,faculty director of the media psychology program at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, the reason why selfie is popular is that it celebrates normal and average people. “There are many more photographs available now of real people than models”(Rutledge, 2013). Posting selfies is an empowering act for another reason. Basically, it allows you to control your image online. Let us all be real, the most common selfie is the one where you look cute, partially because it’s a quick way to get positive comments about your appearance.

That could be one explanation for total selfie overload, when you upload 10 selfies at a time. According to Dr. Weber, there’s more to it than that. She says: “In my experience, girls who repeatedly post selfies struggle with low self-esteem” (Weber, 2013). Overall, opinions vary on whether selfie culture is lame or legitimate, which means it’s up to you to shape the future of the habit. Better ask yourself: Are my selfies for fun, or do I need the comments? If you fall under category two, Dr. Rutledge recommends shifting your perspective. That could mean cutting selfies out entirely or just scaling back and making them more fun. Everything you share on social media reveals something about you, and you are in control.

It’s Not You, It’s Me: The Science behind the Selfie

Why is selfie so popular? The advancement of social media has led to the rise of selfies. Of course, the development and innovation of modern technology has a great impact in building the popularity of selfie. However, the ease of use is not the only reason millions of people are very much into selfie and why they give so much of their time updating random post of their face.

According to some theorists, selfies are popular because they allow us to actively control the image we project. They are a way to communicate that both the selfie-taker and his or her life is awesome, sexy, thoughtful, interesting, social and many more. We take selfies when we are feeling glamorous and well-dressed, or when we want to show off what we’re doing. Sometimes, a selfie is meant to attract the attention of a certain someone whom the selfie-taker knows to be following them on social media accounts.

WHY IT MATTERS

In today’s modern world, it is indeed natural to eagerly want some control over our online performance. But are prolific selfie creatures going beyond their limitations?

In this paper, the researcher intends to use several communication theories that will support information from the whole study. These theories will vividly define some concepts related to the study. .

Symbolic Interactionism has a strong relation with Selfie. With Symbolic interactionism, reality is seen as social, developed interaction with others. Like Symbolic interactionism, people’s social life is the center of Selfie. You take selfie to interact with other users and to know more about their personal lives. Both the theory and selfie believed thatphysical reality does indeed exist by an individual’s social definitions, and that social definitions do develop in part or relation to something “real.”

If you take a Selfie and it has a great outcome, you will easily believe that is the “real” you even if you have completely enhanced the photo with filters and stuff. Thus, what you believe is real will be strengthened due to positive comments and feedbacks of social media users. Once you have seen that there are more than 100 likes in your selfie, you will adopt the idea you have got in social interaction with people and eventually relate it in your real life.

In connection with Symbolic interactionism, the concept of the Looking-glass self by Charles Horton Colley is also related to selfie. The term refers to people determining their self-concepts based on their knowledge of how others perceive them. Looking back at the impact of selfie in gaining self-esteem and confidence, people who are into selfie will pretty much value what other people will say about them than what they think of themselves. Comments pertaining on how good you look in your selfie truly matters. In the contrary, once you have received negative feedbacks, you will start to hesitate on posting another one and cultivate so much of your time to take a selfie that will definitely please the people who will see it.

Turning to the negative side of it, when people receive either good or bad comments, the term “selfie-syndrome” comes out. A person becomes narcissistic and starts to update photos every single minute to give themselves assurance and satisfaction.

Seeing popular celebrities post selfies in social networiking websites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram has a great impact on other user’s way of thinking. Like Magic Bullet Theory, Selfie is like a bullet fired into the user’s head. Recently, everyone saw the viral Oscar selfie of Ellen DeGeneres with the top actors and actresses of Hollywood including Angelina Jolie, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep and others. Because of that, other social media users started to imitate and use the photo for memes. The said photo garnered 2 million retweets and beat the photo of President Obama and first lady, Michelle Obama

Honestly, when a photo gets really popular and hits the trending spot, people will overreact and they will also have their selfies taken like the photo they have seen. Especially for Filipinos, they always want to have their own version for them to be recognized on the internet too. See, the impact of a single photo will make everyone crazy.

Since the social media also supply us information, people tend to believe on messages when everyone is talking about it in the social media. Without knowing the real story behind it, the message keeps on going to another person until it reaches the whole social media community. That also happened before selfie gets viral. The Magic Bullet Theory has an important relevance to this study because this explains how selfie become popular and a world-wide hit. Because of their relation, people will easily understand the impact of a single selfie post.

Because Western countries are ahead in innovating and developing their technology, there is a huge difference on the way they look and react to things. Their civilization is completely different that they are the ones who influence and open other countries to new and modern technology. Thus, this results to oppression of the workers due to mass production from different countries, without the end-users having the idea that this kind of thing is already happening.

The rise of smartphones has something to do with both the theory and the study. It has significance for both of them that generalize the impacts of this it to the users. As you can see, smartphones has everything you need and one of the most used smartphone feature is the front camera. For buyers, it is one of the reasons why you buy a smartphone especially if its front camera is 2 megapixel and higher. In that case, users become more interested of it and they will take photos of themselves and develop techniques that will make their social appearance pleasing and attractive.

Furthermore, applications like Facebook and Instagram are technology’s gift for social media enthusiasts. Unfortunately, not everyone is aware that Facebook bought Instagram for 1 billion dollars and that only means that it is for “big business and “money” only. As the features continually change and improved, more and more users are very fond of taking selfies knowing that they will easily garner likes and comments from other users. The more people use social networking sites, more and more money are going to the capitalist and we end up getting controlled by them.

Not only Facebook and Instagram has great influence on selfie-takers but also Photography Applications like Camera 360, VSCO Cam and the like. These applications are so popular because it let users to control and enhance their image. There are over 100 filters available that you can put in your selfie photo and it will transform into a model. But, there is more. You can also put your pictures in frames and collages to add several selfies at a single photo.

Truly, the advancement in modern technology has affected our way of life. Technology will never be inevitable due to its purpose and use. But, is it really the use of technology that matters the most? Technology should help improve human being’s skills, values and way of living not by tolerating their laziness and controlling things in their life. However, it only depends on them whether to be controlled and manipulated by technology or technology to be controlled and manipulated by people.

CONCLUSION

The advancement of modern technology contributed a lot to the rise and popularity of selfie. Because of the innovation of smartphones, there are many key features that attracted the user’s interest. In selfie, the most commonly used smartphone feature is the front camera for it enables you to strike a pose freely because you see yourself in the screen. That’s why, people were able to achieve the angle and position they want. Another thing is you can edit your selfie with photography applications like Camera 360 and the like. Now, you can control and digitally enhance the photo on the way you want it to be. Also, do not forget that social networking websites like Instagram and Facebook contributed a lot on the “selfie phenomenon” because it is where you post your selfie and gain comments and likes from the other users.

The problem with selfie is that users cultivate so much of their time, effort and even money to maintain their pleasing and attractive online image. It has a big impact on both the society and the economy. The economy might rise due to this but the society will have a radical change. On viewing one’s self, selfie can make a huge change. You may possibly develop your self-esteem and confidence through likes and positive comments. The problem is, what you think of yourself does not matter and you start doing things that other people will like. It might lead to selfie addiction and narcissism.

One should be able to be satisfied on what he/she looks inside and out. You should not base your whole personality on your social media image. Determine the real you in the real world not in your Facebook profile. Selfies are a way to document things about yourself, in that case you should be able to depict what is real about you. Selfie enables you to express yourself and to update other people on what is happening in your life. It is not about how people recognize you and how you impress them, it is more on telling what you really feel in just a single photo. Don’t let this thing control you, instead, use it to develop yourself and your personality.

References

Feenberg, A. (1991). Critical theory of technology . California: Oxford University Press.

Flusser, V. (2000).Towards a philosophy of photography. Minnesota: Reaktion Books.

Lowery, S. & DeFleur, M. (1995). Milestones in mass communication research: Media effects. (3rd edition). White Plains, NY: Longman.

Rogers, M. (2013, December 6). It’s not you, it’s me: The science behind the selfie. Retrieved from http://greatist.com/happiness/the-psychology-behind-selfies

Rutledge, P. (2013). The influence of media. Los Angeles : ProQuest, UMI Dissertation Publishing.

Slavin , L. (2014, December 4). The evolution of selfie culture: Self-expression, narcissism, or objectification?. Retrieved from http://feminspire.com/the-evolution-of-selfie-culture-self-expression-narcissism-or-objectification/

Weber , J. (2013). Psychology today. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Zanders, J. (2013, November 27). Towards a philosophy of the selfie. Retrieved from http://philoselfie.tumblr.com/


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