Selfies signal lonely culture

by | Feb 3, 2014 | Life


Sarah MacNeil
Life Reporter

Justin Bieber does it, Barack Obama does it and even Pope Francis does it.

The selfie is more popular than it has ever been. Social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are chock-full of self-portraits.

The selfie reveals a society obsessed with instant gratification, said University of Guelph-Humber psychology professor Dr. Dan Andreae.

“The world has changed so much in terms of technology and how we communicate with each other. A selfie is the appropriate response to a society that is preoccupied with what other people think,” said Dr. Andreae.

In the past, the self-portrait fell more into the fine arts category of photography and also was about self-discovery, explained Humber photojournalism professor Erin Riley.

The selfie today is very quick and has no thought behind it, she said, adding they can manipulate how you are perceived.

“Everyone starts to look the same. It strips you from your individuality and lumps you into a group — it backfires,” she explained.

“I see at least 10 selfie postings per day,” said Humber Academic Upgrading student Kathleen Holmes-Henri, 20, adding that the “duck face” while wearing heavymakeup, is popular.

People are lonelier than they ever have been, due in large part to the explosive growth of social media and instant technology trends, Dr. Andreae said.

He also said people have a psychological need to connect with others, and the selfie has the ability to bring people closer and drive them apart at the same time.

“Selfies are more complex than just a picture. The act shows how society uses technology to define identity,” said Dr. Andreae.