Today: Jun 24, 2024

The science behind “the selfie”

Nicole Dellolio – Opinions Editor

When the word selfie comes to mind, what’s the first thing that you think of?  Now get your mind out of the gutter, and think of how people have recently started using the term.

According to the Urban Dictionary a selfie is, “A picture taken of yourself that is planned to be uploaded to Facebook, Myspace, or any other sort of social networking website.   The definition then goes on to explain that the photos are usually taken by a person holding their arm out and then taking a photo of themselves, with the intent of posting it on social media websites.  They are usually accompanied by a person doing a kissy face or with the person not looking towards the camera.  While reading this definition it made me laugh because it is the perfect explanation of it.

I always thought that it was the younger generation that was obsessed with taking pictures of themselves constantly, but being on campus this semester has changed my mind.  If you walk around campus you can see people taking pictures of themselves all of the time.  While I was interning over the summer, a group of high school students were lined up against a wall and I noticed that a large majority of them were mainly focused on taking pictures of themselves or using the camera on their phones to look at themselves.

Nicole Polizzi, a.k.a. Snooki, taking selfies for her fans on her Instagram.
Nicole Polizzi, a.k.a. Snooki, taking selfies for her fans on her Instagram.

According to a recent poll on “For the age from 18 to 24, 30 percent of all photography is composed of selfies taken using a cellphone.”  Now we all can’t deny that at one point or another we have all been guilty of taking the occasional selfie, but that’s not always a bad thing.  The funniest thing that I have seen people do in public is taking SnapChats, which usually consist of people making very ugly and funny faces into a camera.

The University of Birmingham, the University of the West of England, the University of Edinburg, and the Heriot-Watt University conducted a study about people posting photos on social media websites and this is what they learned:

  • Over-sharing photos can spark jealousy.
  • The only people that actually care about your selfies and family photos are your relatives, closest friends, and partners.
  • Female friends have the tendency to care more about your pictures than male friends do.
  • Older users care less about your photos than younger friends do, no matter how frequently you post photos on social networking sites.
  • General acquaintances care more for your photos than your colleagues do.


According to Cosmopolitan, researcher Dr. David Houghton said: “People, other than very close friends and relatives, don’t seem to relate well to those who constantly share photos of themselves. It’s worth remembering that the information we post to our ‘friends’ on Facebook, actually gets viewed by lots of different categories of people: partners; friends; family; colleagues and acquaintances; and each group seems to take a different view of the information shared.”

So taking selfies isn’t a bad thing, but you might want to be more selective with the people that you are sharing the pictures with.  Instead of posting them on social media websites, just send them to the people that you actually intend the pictures to be seen by.

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