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Excessive Posting of Selfies? You're On Your Way in Becoming a Narcissist

A study showed that excessive posting of selfies in social media accounts is linked with Narcissism. / Photo by: Getty Images

 

We are now living a modern era where almost all the things people do in their daily lives depend on technology. It's hard to imagine a world without rice cookers, gadgets, and electricity. And with the rise of social media, selfies begin to populate our camera rolls, Facebook feeds, and dating profiles. People continue to join the bandwagon and enjoy the attention they are gaining. 

According to Infogram, about one million selfies are being taken globally by people between the ages 18 to 24 and 40% of them say that they take up to 15 selfies before uploading or sending a picture to someone. Of these numbers, 33% are being shared on Facebook while 35 million selfies have already been posted to Instagram. 

Indeed, taking selfies are part of some people's daily routine. They make sure that their faces can be seen in their social media feeds. Although this seems to be a normal behavior for some, taking selfies can actually mean a deeper problem.

The Obsessive Need to Post Selfies

Almost every person in the world who uses social media have posted a selfie in their accounts. They have shared this with their friends or sent to a loved one. This phenomenon had made an international appeal and most people would probably agree - humans do love to take selfies. In fact, it had immersed in our culture and became officially part of the Oxford English Dictionary. The term "selfie" had been recognized as the Oxford English Dictionary’s Word of the Year last 2013. Even celebrities, high-profile personalities, and politicians are posting their own photos on social media. 

Most of the time, people post their selfies on social media sites primarily because they want to share their experience at that moment with friends and family. As mentioned in an article by the Psychology Today, a study conducted by researchers Janarthanan Balakrishnan and Mark Griffiths showed how a certain person measure their motivations for taking and posting selfies. 

First, the researchers found out that people who post their photos in social media want to feel they'are popular. Since social media is a perfect way to gain attention through the large audience it caters, people are motivated to share their selfies with them. Selfies also make someone feel better that in one way or another had enhanced their mood and behavior. People who post selfies are more likely to gain confidence through the positive feedback they are receiving. Additionally, this phenomenon conforms to what's trending in society. It gives people a sense of belongingness and achieves a degree of social acceptance.

 

According to the researchers, people who posts their selfies in their social media accounts wants to become famous. / Photo by: Getty Images

 

But how come selfies now are becoming a problem when it primarily wants to share experiences and feel good about ourselves? According to Psych Alive, there have been a number of cases of selfie obsession gone wrong. In a recent report from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, about one in three surgeons stated that there have been several surgery requests because people want to appear better on social media. For instance, a reality TV producer Triana Lavey spent $15,000 on plastic surgery to enhance her appearance. In another case, Danny Bowman who's a 19-year-old kid became obsessed with his looks after people made unpleasant feedbacks on his selfies when he was just 15. And because of that, he chose to diet, skip classes so he could take more selfies frequently, and eventually dropped out of school completely. Bowman didn't leave home after that for six months and would spend his entire days taking up to 200 selfies. Unfortunately, he attempted suicide after failing to capture "the perfect selfie." 

Additionally, psychiatrist Dr. David Veal said, "Two out of three of all patients who come to see me with Body Dysmorphic Disorder since the rise of camera phones have compulsions to repeatedly take selfies.” Indeed, selfies continue to trigger perceptions of self-indulgence or attention seeking social dependence. People who are obsessed with selfies depend on how many likes or reacts to feed their ego."

Obsession in Selfies Linked in Narcissism

A research conducted by Phil Reed, Nazli I. Bircek, Lisa A. Osborne, Caterina Viganò,  and Roberto Truzoli entitled "Visual Social Media Use Moderates the Relationship between Initial Problematic Internet Use and Later Narcissism," showed that excessive posting of images and selfies in social media sites is associated with an increase in narcissism. 

To prove this, the researchers studied personality changes of 74 individuals between ages 18 to 34 in four months. They analyzed their use of several social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Eventually, they found out that an average of 25% has an increase in narcissistic traits. In fact, the results showed that these participants are above the clinical cut-off for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. 

According to Professor Phil Reed, "There have been suggestions of links between narcissism and the use of visual postings on social media, such as Facebook, but, until this study, it was not known if narcissists use this form of social media more, or whether using such platforms is associated with the subsequent growth in narcissism." Therefore, social media might play a major role in emphasizing the perception of narcissistic individuals. 

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