Always posing, lips pouted, feathers preened and smiles artificial. They take pictures, videos of themselves and others (with or without their consent) showing off their surroundings, attires, company etc.
I call them the selfie generation. They are not all young but the common denominator is that they like to show off, displaying their wealth and connections. It’s all done under the cover of recording the moment and creating memories. Me thinks there is a more insidious objective, though for some it’s more unconscious than conscious.
I know some people love pictures, for some it’s their sweet spot. I am not talking about that set of people. These usually take pictures of everything and everyone and most times they are not even personal pictures. I am not talking about those like me who recently started taking pictures especially every Sunday after church because I want to record the way I look and send them to my children and a few friends. I am not talking about those who from time to time show us a slice of the happenings in their lives.
I am talking about those who display pictures of things we shouldn’t really be seeing. Who show us in their stories, every aspect of their lives, what they ate, who they are with, where they went to etc.
Those who have a compulsion to show it all, every time. I follow someone on Instagram and I can confidently say, even though I haven’t been to her house that I know the layout. I have seen every space there apart from the bedrooms. I know how her kitchen, living room, pantry, dressing room and surroundings look.
She is an influencer with many followers. Her content is very rich and varied and I have become aware of a lot of products and services just by following her. I wonder though, if perhaps she is not sharing too much of her life. Though as an influencer for many brands I understand that she is being paid to share.
I know a lot of us will say but Tara you share a lot. In fact my family and friends have told me severally that I disclose a lot. It’s true but most of my disclosures have been in writing (we know most people don’t read). Mine is borne out of my life experiences and the desire to educate and share things we do not want to acknowledge or feel comfortable talking about and never with the motive to validate myself.
This is not the case with the class of people I am talking about. For them, the main purpose of their posts is to show off. Show off their good luck, their wealth, successes, social network etc . I find it baffling that some even post receipts to show how much they paid for goods and services. All to gain and chase clout. The condition affects both genders and all occupations even members of the clergy who should be the models in humility.
I have research to back it, that the majority of people that do this suffer from esteem issues and the need for validation. This is becoming a mental health issue commonly referred to as “Selfitis.”
Selfitis is described as a condition in which a person uses selfies to boost confidence; to fit in with peers and achieve a sense of validation from others.
Selfitis is being studied by psychologists and although it is not yet a medical condition they are beginning to see the dangers addiction to it can cause. They have identified factors likely to be associated with selfie addiction namely:
Environment Enhancement- the good feelings we have both in the present and the future when we look back at the memories we have created.
Social Competition– the feeling of meeting up to societal approval and expectations.
Attention seeking– the need to be validated and seen by those we think matter.
Mood elevation and improvement in self confidence when looking at the pictures and videos.
The complications of a serious selfie addiction are as follows
- Exposure to cyber bullying which can result in depression.
- Broken relationships
- Seeking validation by all means thereby endangering oneself by undergoing dangerous body enhancement procedures
- Death or serious injury in an attempt to take the ultimate photo or video.
I am sure a lot of people may disagree and say that we must create memories and store our stories and I quite agree but I also know that we can create memories without displaying them publicly. The fondest memories I have of my loved ones and events are etched in my brain. I am almost positive it is the same with a lot of us.
Also there is a need for us to be more sensitive about what we put in the public space. First for security reasons but how they affect other people. This is not to say that we must dampen our enthusiasm or hide our joy and win because of how they may be perceived by others. The brazen display of our lives especially the good part only has led to the depressive state many of us are finding ourselves in. We are beginning to question ourselves and our lives because of what we know of other peoples lives ( not all things on social media are fake) because we are daily confronted with them. It’s like putting fish before a cat daily and not expecting it to nick it and we keep wondering why people are becoming greedy and jealou. As Shivangi Singh wrote in her blog Shivangi “We are all self proclaimed stars! We are a generation, armed with technology to showcase ourselves anywhere and everywhere…in the best possible light. And we are doing it, running after it, competing for one second of fame on our social media world! But what do we have to offer? ….Ugghh…Seriously? As we record our ongoing history – friends bargain likes for likes, propagandists mix up facts, fiction becomes fact! Everyone’s beautiful through edited selfies, borrowed wisdom, sugary moments, lovely videos…anyone can be a star in our generation! What a beautiful place! Really? What a maze! What should be believed in? What should be followed? And, haven’t we excelled in editing…in fact… editing out reality, itself?”
So are you part of the selfie generation, are you unconsciously putting yourself out in public domain? You may want to take the Selfitis behavior scale – a questionnaire consisting of 20 statements rating from 1 to 5 with a maximum score of 200. A higher score increases the chances of suffering from Selfitis
A quick tip- it’s all about the motive for posting.
- Taking selfies gives me a good feeling to better enjoy my environment
- Sharing my selfies creates healthy competition with my friends and colleagues
- I gain enormous attention by sharing my selfies on social media
- I can reduce my stress level by taking selfies
- I feel confident when I capture a selfie
- I think my peer group accepts me better when I take selfies and share them on social media
- I can express myself more in my environment through selfies
- Taking different selfie poses helps increase my social status
- I feel I become more popular when I post my selfies on social media
- Taking more selfies improves my mood and makes me feel happy
- I become more positive about myself when I take selfies
- I become a significant member of my peer group through selfie postings
- Taking selfies provides better memories of the occasion and the experience
- I post frequent selfies to get more ‘likes’ and comments on social media
- By posting selfies, I expect my friends to appraise me
- Taking selfies changes my mood instantly
- I take more selfies and look at them privately to increase my confidence
- When I don’t take selfies, I feel detached from my peer group
- I take selfies as trophies for future memories
I use photo editing tools to enhance my selfie to look better than others.