Snap Those Selfies

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 10.03.41 PMBy Katlyn Kielminski

Camera on, arm extended, smiles ready, click, click, selfie snapped, a second later the picture is loaded on Instagram.

A selfie is a spontaneous photograph usually taken armed-length and angled meant to be shared across social-media platforms like Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook. Smartphones have changed people’s digital lives by putting cameras in everyone’s pocket making this trend easy to be part of.

Selfies have shown up in popular culture for the past several years and they are tokens of the Millennial generation. The word even has its own passage in The Oxford English Dictionary and sparked a hit song titled “#SELFIE” by The Chainsmokers.

Mercedes Starr, a criminal justice major at the College of Southern Nevada, explains how she feels the younger generation uses selfies as a way to tell a story. “Instead of telling people what you’re doing, I feel we just take a picture to show instead.”

“I think selfies are a feel-good factor,” Starr says. “We get the urge to document a good hair day or an outfit.”

According to the popular cellphone company Samsung, selfies make up almost one-third of the photos taken. The company’s data also shows that selfies are most popular in Australia, followed by the United States and Canada.

“When I go onto Instagram every other picture is a selfie,” says Ashley Scott, a first-year student at the College. “Of course I’ve posted selfies. Who hasn’t?”

Research conducted by CSN psychology professor Paul Herrle found that people in their teens and early 20s place the most emphasis on social approval and selfies are part of that.

“They are more likely to judge others by their looks and therefore believe that others are judging them externally,” Herrle says. “Putting a selfie out into the electronic world allows you to get more feedback about yourself from others with an image that you have pre-approved.”

Herrle also thinks the selfie craze is because young people want to raise their social capital and become famous in some kind of way even if it is temporary. They want to be like Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton who put selfies out every day. Herrle explains how students try to reach easy stardom like those celebrities by participating in this trend.

Over the last year, published selfies not only captured pop-culture stars but also global leaders like President Barack Obama and Pope Francis.


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