Like Taking 'Selfies'? Maybe You're Not as Narcissistic as Others Think

Admit it.

You take "selfies."

You're vain and want everyone to think you're always having a great time, right?  But now a new study has found that the way that those who take and share selfies are viewed by others has changed, according to

Selfies have emerged as a tremendous phenomenon in the culture of people around the world, and this group of friends is constantly intrigued with researching aspects of what is not only popular but what has become ingrained into the fabric of everyday lives. What they focused on for this research was the motivation behind taking and sharing selfies, and what they found was somewhat surprising.

Those in society who do not frequently take and share selfies are thought to look at those who do as having a strong narcissistic personality. But researchers, all of whom earned their master’s degrees from Brigham Young University, found otherwise.

While they found narcissistic qualities in pretty much all those who take and share selfies, they discovered that narcissism really doesn’t play as big a role for people taking selfies as one might think.

Technological advances like smartphones with front-facing cameras paired with social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have led to a generation that frequently posts its life online, whether it’s showing themselves in front of a beautiful sunset, at a ball game or concert, or just hanging out with friends. Documenting one’s life and where it’s lived has become the new norm of society.

What they also found is that there are three distinct categories of those who take and share selfies, each one with characteristics that might overlap the others but that also give a clear picture into the motivation behind the selfie-taker.

The three categories are:

Communicators, who take and share selfies for the purpose of conversation with others, to start a back-and-forth dialogue in order to communicate and memorialize the events happening in their lives.

Self-publicists, who have the same basic goal as communicators, but with the desire to have the focus of the picture on themselves to where it controls their public image. The images they share on social media are meant for one-way communication only.

Lastly, autobiographers take and share selfies to chronicle their life and everything in it, regardless of who sees it or reacts to it. Their motivation is not in focusing on themselves but on ensuring history is recorded for posterity.

 But what does all this really mean?  Yes, self-publicist does sound a lot like someone who would be narcissistic, and there are some qualities of narcissism in a self-publicist. But they just like showing everyone what they enjoy doing and branding themselves in a particular way, say the researchers.

 Autobiographers, meanwhile, hold on to the memorialization function of selfies more strongly than the other two categories, and their desire to record history is their driving motivation more than publicizing what’s going on or communicating it to others.

"They really don’t care about the feedback," say the researchers.  "They want other people to see their selfies but they don’t necessarily want any feedback from it. They just want you to see what the world looks like so that it can inspire you and be remembered.”

So is the selfie here to stay?  The researchers don't agree.  Some say yes, others, no.   I guess we'll just have to wait -- and suffer through it -- to see.


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