A photo taken of oneself, by oneself. Typically shot with a smartphone and uploaded to social media or sent in a text.
On September 13th, 2002, “selfie” was used for the first time in recorded history on an Australian Internet forum.
“Selfie” was added to the Oxford dictionary in August of 20135
More than 1 million selfies are taken every day.
The first documented selfie was taken in 1839. Exposure time for the photo took anywhere from 3-15 minutes.3
Before selfies, we had other ways of paying homage to our own visage. Self-portraits have existed since we decorated the insides of caves. The concept of the self or auto portrait, fully blossomed during the Renaissance. Some of history’s biggest offenders?4
Van Gogh (1853-1890)
Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)
Myspace was launched in August of 2003. Soon after, the infamous “mirror pic” was was born.
Of all photos taken by people ages 18-24, 30% are selfies.2
Of those 1 million, at least 350,000 or 35% are altered.
As our world becomes increasingly virtual, our concepts of affirmation and social acceptance have simplified, compressing into a single motivator - the “like”
Unfortunately, more likes do not equal higher self-esteem. In fact, they usually have the opposite psychological effect.
According to a study by Univ. of Birmingham Business School found people who post more selfies have more shallow relationships with people. Increased frequency of sharing photos of the self is related to a decrease in intimacy and in personal relationships.
"All the selfies in the world won't replace genuine self-esteem" - Psychologist Ellen Kenner Ph.D.
Psychologist Jill Weber, Ph.D. says that seeking validation is normal, but there is danger in the fact that self-esteem can quickly become tied to likes and comments, which aren’t based on who you are as a person, but what you look like.
Overall, selfies are majorly influential in developing our sense of self. However, they can make a major impact (either positive or negative) on our perception of self-worth.7
“These images are often the first impressions young people put out there to prospective friends, romantic interests, and employers, and our patients want to put their best face forward." - Dr. Edward Farrior, president of American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery6
Dr. Edward Farrior, president of AAFPRS, said apps such as Instagram and Snapchat “force patients to hold a microscope up to their own image and often look at it with a more self-critical eye than ever before.”
Plastic surgery is the ultimate photo filter. Selfie-motivated cosmetic procedures are usually heavily focused on the face. Rhinoplasty, chin implants, dermatology treatments, teeth whitening, etc.
One in three facial plastic surgeons said more people are asking for procedures due to more self-awareness of their looks on social media.
Between 2012 and 2013, there was a 10% rise in nose jobs, 7% rise in hair transplants, and 6% rise in blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery).8
Additionally, the average plastic surgery patient is getting younger. In 2013, more than 50% of surveyed surgeons noticed a significant increase in cosmetic surgery and injectable procedures among people 30 years old and younger.9
Everyone takes selfies, even the Queen B, Beyonce, herself
Some noteworthy selfie queens and kings
Kylie Jenner - 451 Instagram Selfies
Kim Kardashian - 261 Instagram Selfies
Justin Bieber - 191 Instagram Selfies
Rihanna - 190 Instagram Selfies
Snoop Dogg - 271 Instagram selfies
The top 50 most followed celebs on instagram, collectively, have posted 3933 selfies10
1. Keep in mind who can see your selfies - virtually anyone (including future employers)
2. Spend more time establishing organic relationships and in-person interactions.
3. Remember that healthy relationships are more valuable than any amount of Social Media cred — especially a healthy relationship with yourself.
4. Regularly assess how much you depend on “likes” or comments for self-worth.
5. Take a break, giving yourself a nice vacation from selfie stardom, and some time to practice self-love.
Resources: 1. Oxford Dictionaries, 2. Media Bistro, 3. Huffington Post, 4. Wikipedia, 5. Oxford Dictionaries, 6. The Denver Channel, 7. Time Healthland, 8. CBS News, 9. We Are Central, 10. Mashable, 11. Buzzfeed
Additional resources: The Guardian, Psychology Today, Heriot Watt University, Policy Mic, Time, Endo Riot, Birmingham Business School, Greatist, Psychological Science, Yahoo Shine, NBC News, Times Union
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