The selfie has come a long way since the days of Nokia phones and Myspace. The word itself was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in the year 2013, which also named selfie the word of the year that same year.
With the summer solstice marking the first day of summer on June 21, 2017, National Selfie Day shares the calendar with this change of season. Self-proclaimed selfie addicts now have a special day to indulge in their favorite pastime. However, some people have come to see their self-taking behavior nothing short of a mental disorder or addiction. Dual diagnosis treatment centers in California, USA understand the link between addictions and mental disorders. Maybe they could determine if the selfie phenomenon has gone too far.
The selfie gained popularity with the invention of the smartphone. Even early smartphones offered clear imaging. Cell phone users were able to capture photo-quality images of themselves (while trying a million angles, of course).
The infamous bathroom pictures are a part of the beginning of the social media timeline. Social media pioneer Myspace was populated with cell photos of their members in their homes, gyms, workplaces, and public bathrooms. Many people thought that such locations were the only way to get a decent face front photo.
Nowadays, the bathroom picture has gone by the wayside. The advancement of smartphone technology has allowed selfie queens and kings step up their game. Users are often taking selfie photos more than thirty times a day. Social media is one outlet for the increased selfie activity.
Instagram is one such popular social media platform. It features millions of photos from celebrities to the average college student. And the number of photos posted by a single user is usually not a small number. What is the hidden drive behind selfie taking and is such behavior an addiction?
Maybe it is good to compare selfie compulsion to other interests. Ice cream on a hot summer’s day can be sure to put a smile on your face. But there is such as thing as sugar overload. Anything that is done in excess could be unhealthy. Addiction involves the abuse of an activity or substance. Dual diagnosis treatment centers in California, USA to Wellington, New Zealand understand how emotions are involved with obsessive behavior.
Could solo selfie addicts have underlying emotional issues? According to experts, the high frequency of taking and sharing selfies could yield surprising results. The act of taking photos of oneself can be linked to narcissism, exhibitionism, and an extrovert personalities. Wendy L. Patrick, Ph.D. offers a little insight into this linkage by discussing real-life scientific studies:
“In one study, narcissism was found to be the most significant predictor of frequency of selfie-posing,” writes Dr. Patrick in article for Psychology Today. “In pursuit of attention, because selfies reveal values and interests, online reaction may provide validation through affirming self-worth. Selfies thus provide a method of self-promotion through impression management. Regarding communication, selfies stimulate relationships by starting an online dialogue through friends' replies to comments about one's posted photos.”
It appears, then, that the self-proclaimed Instagram models that grace their photos all over social media maybe aren’t as bad as people once thought. There is nothing severely damaging behind sharing multiple personal selfies with friends and family. However, there is a rhyme and reason behind the actions we take. And now with studies from psychologists and scientists, there are explanations behind the selfies we take.