How do you Like this selfie?

How do you Like this selfie?

When I hopped on a crowded Skytrain during evening rush hour this week, I noticed a young lady standing next to me, posing and snapping shots of herself on her smartphone. She then quickly uploaded one to a social networking site.

Taking a “selfie” (a photo of oneself) to then share with others online has become an epidemic. The craze is now widespread among not just young people but also adults. People take photos of themselves while doing all sorts of things — when they eat a meal, show off a sexy new outfit, or while driving to work. 

As a teenager I remember having a portable camera that I would take with me when I went on holiday with my family and friends. Now, however, we have
a smartphone camera with us all the time, so instead of just taking photos on trips
or special occasions, we document every moment of our lives. Thanks to online social media, we are also able to share these moments and our selfies on a
regular basis. 

A few days ago, however, the Department of Mental Health warned that an unhealthy obsession with so called “selfie-sharing” on sites such as Facebook and Instagram, could affect levels of self-esteem.

Receiving Likes from particular photos can boost one’s self-confidence, which often leads to people, particularly young people, starting to become addicted to receiving Likes and positive comments. This, of course, encourages someone to attempt to repeat their “success” and to this end, it can become an addiction.

With individuals who tend to struggle with issues of self-esteem, many develop negative feelings towards themselves when they receive less positive responses or even when they are not as well received as they expected. 

Of course, it’s fun taking a selfie and it’s human nature to want to show and tell others when you feel good about yourself. I myself sometimes do it when I’m having a party or with my friends.

But personally I prefer having a good conversation with family members and friends and talking in person to someone as opposed to texting, emailing or even online sharing. I think that face-to-face communication allows me to understand much more about the other person. We get to learn every nuance of the voice of the speaker, what they look like and who they are.

Posting images online, however, means we can edit and retouch images in a way that we want people to see us, and even delete something we don’t like about ourselves. Selfie-posting on social networking sites, therefore, isn’t based on who we are but rather based on who we want to be.

I try to be careful with which selfies
I post as I realise that the selfies and information we post on Facebook actually gets viewed by lots of different people who all take different views of the information shared. What some may like, others may hate.

An acquaintance told me she views this craze as a way for people to get attention and show the innate vanity of certain individuals.

Receiving support from real-life friends is much better than earning Likes from our virtual peers. After all, Facebook friendship is completely different from personal, face-to-face friendships.

I recently told my niece, whose main reason to splurge on a smartphone was because it came with a camera, to share her selfies sparingly. If she takes a selfie for everything she does and then shares with others, it means everyone will get to know everything about her.

It’s fine to post fun selfies sometimes, but not because you want to get Likes or need positive comments.

Sukhumaporn Laiyok is a reporter for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.

Sukhumaporn Laiyok

Life reporter

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