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week 2 BCM310

Showing-off has never been easier, and ironically, more celebrated”

As social media is becoming increasingly more predominant in our society and lives, at some point we tend to lose ourselves in our online persona. The selfie phenomena has taken off like no other trend has before, and how could it not with stars like Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and Justin Bieber setting the standards for our selfie ‘game’.

When I think of how I personally interact with platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, I feel that I have in a way deluded myself into thinking I do not care how others perceive me, that I am not uploading photos for approval or as proof that I am in fact having fun, although that isn’t true at all.

Although I do not post often, when I do I ensure I am happy with the way I look or I am doing something of interest, and once uploaded I tend to unconsciously check to see if anyone has liked or commented as if waiting for approval…for what I do not know.

In a world that is so globally connected we are constantly being monitored and are in return constantly monitoring others. The selfie trend doesn’t just end at self portraits but has evolved into numerous categories such as:

  • The bathroom selfie
  • Gym selfie
  • #nofilter
  • #ootd (outfit of the day)
  • #duckface
  • beach selfie

People today tend to use these to document their lives to the world in order to gain status among others. Our identity is formed through our social interactions, as we use the opinions of our peers and the rest of the world, as a ‘mirror’ to reflecting our self-worth and status.

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Essena O’Neil a young Instagram famous (#instafamous) teen recently outed the influence and persuasive power photo based social media channels such as Instagram possesses and the impact they have on our lives through her personal experience of Instagram. Malcore (2015) goes on to say that ‘Selfies may seem innocent in moderation, but overindulgence may lead to social media narcissism and other mental health issues.’ this is supported by O’Niels experience as she without knowing created a life outside her own with most of her photos staged as she dressed up, did her make-up and hair with no intentions of leaving her home so that she could receive some form of validation through her efforts. Through her efforts she eventually became obsessed.

Marwick (2013) states that “Status is a powerful tool that reveals the values and assumptions shared by a group; it shows power dynamics and egalitarian ideals” and this cannot be more true when it comes to self documentation. We spend countless hours getting ready, taking multiple shots, editing, choosing filters and cropping before attaching the appropriate tags to ensure we get the attention we worked for.Status is no longer only achieved through wealth, intelligence, or position but through online fame – becoming a sub-celebrity.

We rely so heavily upon others when seeking approval in the form of likes and followers that there is now a market in ‘buying’ them. With apps like Get likes for Instagram and hashtags dedicated to swapping likes for likes (#L4L) or follows for follows (#F4F) we can now fake the approval of others.

instalikes_

O’Neil had said that “Craving attention validated through social media I believe shows a gap in real life connections” and in some ways it’s true. For all the people you follow on Instagram and twitter how much do we truly know about them?  How much of our lives is staged for the purpose of gaining likes? Is this the blatant proof of cultural or generational narcissism?

Malcore, P 2015, Selfie Obsession: The Rise of Social Media Narcissism, Rawhide,weblog post, 29 December, viewed 13th March 2016, <http://www.rawhide.org/blog/wellness/selfie-obsession-the-rise-of-social-media-narcissism/>.

MARWICK, A. E.. (2013). Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age. Yale University Press.

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