With Ellen’s historic Twitter-crashing image, President Obama and Vice President Biden’s most recent snapshot, and even Pope Francis getting in on the action, there is no question that 2014 has become the year of the selfie. Galvanized by the invention of front-facing smartphone cameras, the “selfie” has gained a dominant presence on almost all forms of social media.
Whether the subject is simply frustrated while studying for an exam or participating in #selfiesunday on Instagram, a selfie seems appropriate in just about every situation. In fact, it has become so prevalent, that Bryant University in Rhode Island has had to issue a statement banning graduates from snapping a picture while accepting their diplomas.
In my opinion, the advent of the selfie directly correlates with the growing narcissism, which stems from posting pictures on social media. According to data from Samsung, selfies make up one-third of all photographs taken by people aged 18-24, 36% of these are admittedly altered, and 14% are digitally enhanced. These pictures are posted simply to garner the greatest number of likes, favorites, or praising comments on social media sites.
While I admit I have taken my fair share of selfies, I do not approve of the mindset they are promoting in young adults. They are increasing the imagined need for approval by as many Facebook “friends” as possible, which, in turn, is creating a generation of adults with low self-esteem.
I believe that other organizations, businesses, and financial institutions should follow Bryant University’s lead in this situation and prohibit the next poor quality, open-mouthed photo shared on the Internet.