Before I looked into the research, my initial thoughts were NEITHER. I mean, a selfie can make you feel better but it's a perpetual cycle of worry- holding your breath until you hit that 11 likes mark. I've quite shamelessly asked friends and my SO to like a photo due to this anxiety. However, a group photo has its own pitfalls. You want to look good, or even better than your mates, but you don't want to make them feel insecure if the picture isn't flattering. How many times have your friends asked you to take down a picture from Facebook because they don't like it? How many times have you realised that you hadn't even looked at anyone else in the group photo, bar yourself? Hands up. I know I'm guilty of this.
Researchers at Penn State University have discovered that spending too much time looking at selfies on social media can really damage your self-esteem, but that viewing group photos has the opposite effect. Rouxu Wang, one of the lead researchers on the team has divulged that "Most of the research done on social network sites look at the motivation for posting and liking content, but we're now starting to look at the effect of viewing behaviour. People usually post selfies when they're happy of having fun. This makes it easy for someone else to look at these pictures and think his or her life is not as great as theirs". They have found that group images do the opposite and in fact are associated with increased life satisfaction and improved self-esteem.
Fan Yang, another researcher, added that "We don't often think about how what we post affects the people around us. I think this study can help people understand potential consequences of their posting behaviour". Concluding that "It is not selfies that make you happy, it is smiling that makes you happy".
Maybe where I'm going wrong is not smiling in my selfies, I'm more of a smizer, I'll be sure to show my grin off next time I want to indulge in a little selfie action....
Photo Credit: Pinterest
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