Your Value ≠ The number of likes on your Facebook photo
Raise your hand if you are sick of all the self obsession on Facebook these days?
If your hand wasn’t raised, this would be a good time to X this tab and read something else on the internet as this article would be a total waste of your time.
For those who had raised their hands: you can keep reading:
When the selfie trend started I, like most other people, did not think much about it and even occasionally indulged in one or two myself. Very soon profile photos changed from group photos with friends and family to webcam selfies (complete with the blue reflection of the screen on the faces).
Not too long after, our news feeds started to get flooded with selfies and selfie collages (because you know, just one photo wont do justice to their beauty- pout, duckface, alien eyes, goofy face and a cute smile: all these had to be covered).
And that’s when it started getting annoying.
We started to see the narcissistic and self obsessed side of the people we call friends and it wasn’t pretty (ha! see what I did there?).
But you know what I find MOST annoying- a selfie with a pout captioned “I look horrible today” (the posted photo being the best out of probably 30 more taken in the past very-productive-15 minutes).
Even before they put the phone down comments like “no babe, you are so pretty”… (mainly from friends of the opposite gender) would start pouring in and after a few of those ego boosting likes and comments the person who posted it would feel confident enough to get on with their lives (or at least that’s what I imagine in my head).
We all (or may be I should say most of us) have this inherent desire to be liked (in real life, that is). We mostly do or say things that would make us seem like a ‘likable’ person. Even while arguing, we use diplomacy to make sure we still receive a level of “liking” in spite of our differences – but may be social media has pushed us to take it too far?
I have had people sending me private msgs requesting for likes on their posts and photos. Ignoring usually does the job, but what makes me really angry is people tagging about a hundred friends in their selfies forcing you to see it (and hopefully press that thumbs up) and later bear with the annoying notifications of others’ comments. Isn’t this equivalent to going up to someone and saying “Hey! have you seen my face? Isn’t it pretty? Do you like it?” And then sending a letter to them saying, “Hey! Don’t forget to like my pretty face. *wink* *wink*”
Don’t get me wrong, I still want people to feel great about themselves – (heck! I write articles after articles on how we should all be happy with the way we look), but please let’s do away with the desperate need for acceptance and attention from others to feel good about ourselves.
And while we are on this subject, can I just put it out there that “liking” your own photos make you seem like a total loser. Sorry, but it’s true. I can almost hear you say, “God! I’m pretty.”
Okay, pet peeves aside, let’s talk about how the selfie obsession is affecting our social lives, not the virtual but the real outside-the-computer social lives.
I have personally witnessed a couple hanging out when all the girl wanted to do was take a selfie for Facebook, stick a cheesy quote on love and post it to prove how awesome her love life is.
The internet is full with photos of groups of friends lost in their phones while sitting at a restaurant in an supposedly hang-out/ catch up session. Also, what about all the photos submitted by fellow diners where a young group would have all their phones out taking photos of their just served meal before digging in. But, it would be only fair to say that I love taking photos of my food too. Gah! Double standards, I know!
I think we all thought that the selfie trend would eventually die out like ‘planking’ and ‘owling’ but thanks to beauty product brands and their adverts, this trend is here to stay. A surprisingly high number of TV spots currently aired in India bank on the hunger for “likes”. Most of the beauty products assure you that the number of likes on your photos will increase if you use them. A few companies take it too far – like Myntra which uses the tag line : “Live for Likes”. Say what?!?!?!? Not love, not even chocolate for that matter. But live for how many people casually tap that thumbs up on your photo on a virtual networking website.
I think this is when we start worrying about the priorities of our generation.
Because really, think about it: do you want your kids growing up conditioned that their self worth is equally proportional to the number of likes they receive on a social networking site?
Having said all that, I must make it clear that I am NOT against selfies. I’m just not a fan of the psychology involved behind ‘most’ of these selfies.
Some times, it is kind of necessary- for example when you are travelling solo. The safest option is to take a selfie with the landmark in the background because in some countries, it’s not a bright idea to hand your camera over to a stranger for a photo. In some dodgy neighbourhood in India, that person might run in the opposite direction as soon as you hand your expensive camera over to him or if you are in Egypt, they might ask for a ransom if you want your camera back.
Another instance justifying selfies is when you are in the fitting room trying on clothes and you are not sure which dress makes you look *ahem* less fat, and you don’t want to give the shop attendant that kind of power over your wardrobe, what do you do? You take a few selfies and send them to your besties and they vote on which dress you should buy. I do this ALL THE TIME.
And now check out this super-adorable selfie:
I guess what I’m trying to say here is take selfies all you want but don’t let others’ reactions to it have any impact on your self-image.
A study by Spredfast shows 11% of photos using the #nofilter hashtag on Instagram actually have a filter, a percentage that adds up to roughly 8.6 million photos.
I thought I was the only one who got annoyed with the no filter lie, but that was before I found out someone took the trouble of creating a “faker catcher”. Check it out here: http://filterfakers.com/catcher
If your eyes are not tired yet and your brain can take a little more on this topic head over to this page where they brilliantly explain the psychology behind each type of selfie. What Your Selfie Says About You: http://thoughtcatalog.com/kaitlyn-wylde/2014/07/selfies/
To make-up for the super-long post, here’s some light entertainment for you: