The Act of the Selfie
“A picture taken of yourself that is planned to be uploaded to Facebook, Myspace or any other sort of social networking website. A picture that is usually accompanied by a duckface or any other kind of unnatural expression; usually involves looking in another direction than the camera.”
According to Jessica Merkt, Instagram in always the “go-to” when you’re feeling the need make yourself look good.
“Choosing the right filter is a serious job,” Merkt says. “But I think most people can tell when a photo is real or when there’s a filter involved. Filters make everyone look better, that’s why they use them. You can’t take photos like that too seriously, but it’s always nice when a filter makes you feel pretty.”
How Selfies Can Result in Catastrophe
For obvious reasons, people do not advertise their negative traits on social media and they will not post unflattering photos on Instagram. Because we are in need to control how we are viewed by others, we are strict about what is found about us on social media.
However, we are often fooled by others who post photos, specifically selfies, that many times invoke feelings of envy.
“Almost every time I go on Instagram I am in awe of some of the stunning photos my friends and celebrities post,” said Sarah Boofer, an avid consumer of social media. “It takes me a while to realize that they are using a filter and that what I am seeing has been altered.”
Like many others, Boofer realizes that her sense of time has been altered as well.
“I continue looking at others and I lose my sense of time even though I know most of what I see is not entirely real. I don’t really post selfies unless I want to show a new hair color or something like that. I think there’s something cocky about selfies, not everyone want to look at your face as bad as you think they do.”
Consumers like Boofer and Merkt have a difficult time remembering to differentiate between what is “the perfect tan” and what is the X-Pro II effect.
“Everyday I say ‘she looks amazing!’ but then I have to remind myself and say ‘she looks amazing…with that filter!'” Merkt said.
According to the Chicago Tribune, even the amount of followers plays a role in the importance of the consumer.
Social networker Mohammed Gol says, “If someone has more friends than you do, then you think that he’s more popular or that people like him more.”
While selfies are important in the social media world, the amount of people consuming them is what really matters. Because of the need to consume and view these photos, and the desire to have others consume yours, depression linked to Instagram is on the rise due to the fact that people comparing themselves to one another is constantly increasing.
How To Prevent Possible Depression
According to Kelsey Sunstrum, a writer for Psych Central, there are three main ways a consumer can work on treating and preventing depression caused by social media:
Take the time to unplug from technology and social media accounts everyday.
When faced with social media-induced self-loathing, confront your negative thoughts and question their origin and validity.
If you’re drawn to social media during times of boredom, ensure you have something to distract yourself, such as a book or fun phone app.
The Code of the Selfie: Reality vs. Filter
Boofer offers advice for people who have a hard time telling the difference between reality and filters. “I always have to remind myself that what I am seeing is not real. I can say ‘wow look how gorgeous he/she looks in this picture!’ and I’ll mean that because they do. But I can’t take it seriously. Instagram is for entertainment most of the time and selfies are no different. It’s really important for people not to trust everything they see to be real or else it will break them.
“You need to get rid of that source of negativity or else you will be consumed with wondering why you don’t look like them or you’ll become obsessed with trying to.”
The Selfie Code:
Spend however long you want taking the perfect selfie and use your favorite filter that gives you that flawless glow.If it makes you happy, do it. And do it again until your entire profile is filled with photos enhanced by the Mayfair filter. Just remember, everyone else is doing the same thing.