Pros & Cons Of Social Networking Sites & Selfies Essay

Pros and Cons of Social Networking Sites (SNS) and Selfies

In our modern society (SNS) has created ample opportunities for connecting, sharing and disclosing information amongst peers. Further positive affirmations of selfie-posting as men-tioned by Boursier & Manna (2018), whom argue that there are two significant factors: (1) self-promotion and (2) self-disclosure. Social promotion is often prevalent on (SNS), because it emphases individuals need of wanting to fit into societal standards and be seen in a more positive light (Sorokowska et al., 2016).

This is imperative because it gives rise to a deeper comprehension regarding “why” individuals feel inclined to take and post selfies. The sec-ond factor concerns self-disclosure, which highlights the aspect of “revealing one’s feelings for earning sympathy” (Diefenbach & Christoforakos, 2017). Although, the most telling mo-tive for why individuals choose to take part in selfie-posting is “the need to belong – to be accepted by others and to be part of a group” (Kim, J., Chock, T., 2017, p. 571).

Though, this sounds good in theory, evidence points to the contrary. Scholars Shin, Y., et al, (2017) affirm that (SNS) has become increasingly widespread and that “people compare themselves to others in order to reduce uncertainty in specific situations, and to learn how to define self (Festinger, 1954 in Shin, Y., et al, 2017, p.139). This seems relatively harmless on the surface there is evidence of related risks involving social media.

Selfie Addiction

These health hazards are referring to the term “selfie addiction” when someone frequently takes and posts images on social media platforms (Mills et al., 2018; Pantic et al., 2017; Körmendi, Brutoczki et al., 2016). A prominent sign of this “selfie addiction” is the craving and societal pressure an individual can become subjected to. These inevitable forces indi-viduals to believe that taking selfies is needed to heighten motivations of self-presentation (Kim, J., & Chock, T., 2017).

From this discovery another mental disorder “selfitis” has also surfaced, which according to the American Psychiatric Association is “the obsessive compul-sive desire to take photos of one’s self and post them on social media as a way to make up for the lack of self-esteem and to fill a gap in intimacy” (Balakrishnan & Griffiths, 2017, p.722). Even though, this is a relatively more severe selfie addiction, it raises a range of in-teresting facts. One of these concerns the notion of three levels present in selfitis behaviour “(borderline, acute, and chronic)” (Balakrishnan & Griffiths, 2017, p.723).

Research also sug-gest that selfie-taking occurs in both private and public settings and that it can occur in a variety of context (Balakrishnan & Grifftish, 2017; Starcevic, Billieux & Schimmenti, 2018; Bij de Vaate, Veldhuis, Alleva, Konijn & van Hugten, 2018). This highlight and broadens the un-derstanding of selfie behaviour and its underlying virtual existence.

Gratification Theory

Additional debates amongst scholars have concluded that (SNS) and selfies are linked to the gratification theory, which “posits that people select and use media to gratify their social and psychological needs and desires” (Rubin., 2009 in Kim & Chock., 2017, p.563). Signifying the need for instant gratification and the “need for popularity” (Kim & Chock., 2017). This theory also highpoints that selfies and (SNS) makes us as a population and society more dis-tant from real life interactions (Primack et al., 2017).

This may seem unavoidable but if not careful, we might permanently devolve into a more isolate state of being. Likewise, Roman (2014) discusses this particular phenomenon and affirms that selfies “trumped any courtesy, social contract, or even common awareness of the other” (Roman, 2014, p.314). These nega-tive factors are seen to become increasingly prevalent, especially concerning; social interac-tion deprivation, mental health issues and narcissistic behavioural patters (Mills et al., 2018). Built on these research findings, selfie behaviour signifies unrealistic self-presentation by deliberately highlighting desired attributes.

Narcissism I

n the case of narcissism and selfies it is important to note that a “crucial component of nar-cissism is grandiosity which involves as inflated sense of self-importance” (Krauss Whit-bourne, 2016). This highlights that selfies may be a good way of representing an individual’s self-image, however, it could also have a negative effect resulting in “the perfect opportuni-ty for people to present those in their circle with the self-promoting content” (Krauss Whit-bourne, 2016).

Furthermore, according to Seidman (2015) the real link between narcissistic behaviour and selfie-taking boils down to four facets of narcissism, that includes:

  • Self-sufficiency: thinking you can do things on your own and don’t need other people.
  • Vanity: concern about appearance and a tendency to admire your own physical appearance. Leadership: believing that you should have authority over other people and being willing to exploit others if neces-sary.
  • Admiration Demand: exhibitionism, feeling entitled to special status or privileges and feeling superior to others. (Seidman, 2015).

This highlights that there is indeed a link between selfie behaviour and narcissistic tenden-cies and that narcissism and its facets is a predictor of selfie-taking. Furthermore, several other studies have also confirmed this relationship between narcissism and the frequency of taking selfies (Panek, Nardis & Konrath, 2013; Ryan & Xenos, 2011). Although, it is impera-tive to understand that the facets of narcissism are incredibly complex and hard to distin-guish, or for that matter examine (Ackerman et al., 2011; Emmons, 1987; Kubarych, Deary & Austin, 2004).

From knowing that exploring this relationship might be more difficult than anticipated there are a few areas of importance, when regarding selfie-posting and selfie-taking. These include research that suggests that narcissism that self-promotional content via social media may be a strong predictor of selfie-behaviour (Carpenter, 2012). Narcissism is in itself a personality trait and from what research has postulated, there is a large body of the population that is currently suffering from this state of being simply by taking and post-ing selfies on a regular basis (Panek, Nardis & Konrath, 2013; Carpenter, 2012; Ackerman et al., 2011; Kubarych, Deary & Austin, 2004; Ryan & Xenos, 2011).

Facial Recognition for Identifying Faces

Moving away from the behavioural aspect of selfies, the most important part when trying to establish a baseline for knowing whether an individual can distinguish between images tak-en with a selfie or a non-selfie, is face matching trials. These facial recognition matching tests are often administered when examining and exploring identification of faces (Noyes, E., & Jenkins., 2017; Karczmarek, P et al., 2016; Ryu, J., R Chaudhuri, A., 2006).

Research sug-gest that when conducting face matching trials, participants are more likely to recognize a familiar face compared to when presented with an unfamiliar face (Lorenzino, Caminati & Caudek, 2018; Ryu & Chaudhuri, 2006). Research in terms of analysing whether an individual can recognize the differences between a photo taken by a third person or by themselves (selfie) has not previously been studied. Many of us hold the belief that we are in theory excellent at recognizing faces, while in reality a sparse percentage of us are actually good at it (Ryu, J., R Chaudhuri, A, 2006).

Likewise, in the last several years it has become increasing-ly evident that facial recognition regarding unfamiliar faces is more difficult than recognizing a familiar face (Hancock P.J., et al, 2000). This creates multiple disadvantages especially con-cerning law enforcement and how imperative facial identification is in criminal cases (ID matching, surveillance camera imaging, etc.) (Behrman, B. W., & Davey, S. L., 2001; Cutler, B. L., et al, 1987). However, new approaches to measuring face recognition and identification has become slightly easier with the assistance of (SNS). But the ease we hold when attempt-ing to identify familiar faces, is somehow overshadowed by our limitations to successfully identify relative strangers.

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