If theres one big thing that have come out of the rise of social media, it would have to be the good old ‘selfie’. From the skydiving selfie to the Oscar selfie and all of those on your newsfeed, you can see them just about anywhere. But is there more to the selfie than just the cute outfit you had on today?
The opinion of other people have had an affect self esteem for years. It is a term coined as the “looking-glass self” where we develop a sense of ourself based on the perceptions of those whom we interact with. The media has increased the realms of this.
“Now that we can interact with hundreds — no, thousands — of people simultaneously, we’ve strengthened the impact that others have on our self-value.” (Erikson, 2013)
You use selfies to judge other people (be honest guys) and you post pictures that show other people how great you were looking. The media has created this whole new level of interaction with someone else where you can actually put your opinion on their selfie and say to that person “yeah, you look really great”, or not at all.
10, 30, 60, 1,000 or 1,000,000. These are all numbers that many people use to value themselves and this has a really damaging effect on people’s self-esteem and has created a big issue in particularly young people.
“Our identity is partly shaped by recognition … often by the misrecognition of others, and so a person or group of people can suffer real damage, real distortion, if the people or society around them mirror back to them a confining or demeaning or contemptible picture of themselves.” (Taylor, 1994)
We all take selfies. Yes its, true. For me it’s always scary to put one up. Like… Is it worth the risk? You could end up getting a handful of likes and end up feeling like crap for the rest of the day or you could get stacks of likes and comment and then by glowing all afternoon. It’s crazy isn’t it, that the fact that no one has liked my photo that I could end up feeling sad, ugly and even worthless.
The University of Salford in the UK did a study last year on social media’s effects on self-esteem and anxiety, and reported that 50% of their 298 participants said that their “use of social networks like Facebook and Twitter makes their lives worse”.The study also reported that participants also said that their self-esteem suffers when they compare their own accomplishments to those of their online friends. (Soltero, 2013)
This has created the debate ‘Is Instagram fake?‘ as people have started to fabricate their lives to seem more interesting than they actually are to get more likes and attention from their peers. Co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory (Swyane, 2013) comments that”the types of actions users take and the kinds of information they are adding to their Facebook walls and profiles are a refection of their identities”. Creating an image of yourself that is ‘better’ than your self life, is a way that people try to gain more likes and boost their confidence. I investigated this in more depth last year where I investigated what was behind the typical Instagram image and the results of it showed that they are captured during the most exciting or ‘likeable’ moments. Has it really come so far that we have to stage our lives to look good to other people?
An important and highly publicised example of this is Essena O’Neil. If you don’t know who she is already, Essena is an Instagram famous Australian who decided to ditch social media for good as it completely destroyed her self-esteem. Announcing that her Instagram was a “contrived perfection made to get attention.”
“I remember I obsessively checked the like count for a full week since uploading it,” she wrote of her first-ever post on Instagram, a selfie that now has close to 2,500 likes. “It got 5 likes. This was when I was so hungry for social media validation.” (Gajanan, 2015)
The important thing that came out of this was that it started a conversation…
Studies show is a strong connection between social media and a person’s self of self and many people feel the likes that a person gets on their photo is an indication of who they are as a person. It is important to step a way from media if this is the case and understand that you are amazing no matter what the numbers on the screen say.
Erickson, Christine. “The Social Psychology Of The Selfie”. Mashable. N.p., 2013. Web. 17 Mar. 2016, <http://mashable.com/2013/02/15/social-media-and-the-selfie/#UVQVTH.NrZqB>
Gajanan, Mahita. “Young Women On Instagram And Self-Esteem: ‘I Absolutely Feel Insecure'”. the Guardian. N.p., 2015. Web. 17 Mar. 2016, <http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/nov/04/instagram-young-women-self-esteem-essena-oneill>
Soltero, A. “The Relationship Between Social Media And Self-Worth”. The Social U. N.p., 2013. Web. 17 Mar. 2016, <http://thesocialu101.com/the-relationship-between-social-media-and-self-worth>
Swayne, Matthew. “Esteem Issues Determine How People Put Their Best Facebook Forward | Penn State University”. News.psu.edu. N.p., 2016. Web. 17 Mar. 2016, <http://news.psu.edu/story/286310/2013/09/05/research/esteem-issues-determine-how-people-put-their-best-facebook-forward>