Selfie Culture

Fun or narcissistic? Honest or staged? Humble or humble brag? Selfie culture isn’t going anywhere. People love posting photos of delicious meals, who they dined with and where this fantastic dinner occurred. Each day, more than 500 million users interact with Instagram stories alone. There are definite pros and cons in this era of oversharing. What about when it comes to selfies?

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In his book Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It’s Doing to Us, author Will Storr marries selfie culture to the self-esteem movement. In a New York Times article, Storr is quoted as saying: “This crazy idea came about in the late eighties and early nineties that, in order to free ourselves of all these social problems, everything from drug abuse to domestic violence to teen-age pregnancy, we just had to believe we were special and amazing.”


Storr’s marking of the self-esteem movement can be likened to the birth of “Helicopter Parents.” Ones who remove obstacles now, causing potential roadblocks for their child later down the road. As life dishes out difficulties, some young people may be unprepared to deal with the aftermath.




On the downside, photos on social media play into the feeling that everything is perfect for others. Someone who seems to have unlimited funds posts their daily to-go coffeehouse beverage. A perfectly toned and tanned figure makes viewers question their own body image. Vacation pics leave people wondering why they never have a holiday. These comparisons can kill self-esteem in a snap.

But on the plus side, selfies have opened the door to self-expression. Selfies give an avenue to those always behind the camera to be lens-ready themselves. They’ve opened eyes and minds to view beauty and imagery in a whole new way.


People are social creatures who love sharing moments of their lives. Selfies and social media provide a quick connect; a check-in with people you care about yet may rarely see. Selfies also provide a time capsule to look back on. Devouring Chicago’s biggest deep dish. A mission trip overseas. A new grandbaby. Events that bring back cherished memories with one photo.


If you need advice on social media choices, here are some tips on managing your expectations:


Take it at face value

Don’t always believe what you see. Perfectly posed photos may feature someone facing illness, infidelity or an avalanche of debt. A smile-filled image does not mean all is well.


Take a break

When you find yourself obsessively scrolling and anxiety-riddled feelings emerge, pull the plug. Log off, delete the app from your smartphone and reset your social media boundaries.


Take stock

Take inventory of your motives. Does the image you’re planning to post show others who you really are or who you want them to see? There’s nothing wrong with marking a great hair day just as you might share the reality of a pimple on your nose before a big date. Show the world the real you!

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