What Does Your Selfie Say About you?

Contrary to popular belief most selfie takers aren’t narcissists. People also take selfies to chronicle their lives, says a study called ‘The Selfie Study: Archetypes and Motivations in Modern Self-Photography’, recently published in ‘Visual Communication Quarterly’, aimed to explore why people took selfies and what they said abut them as personalities. In the material of the research provided by Brigham Young University, researchers seemed to have found that individuals’ motives often extend beyond self-obsession and showing off. In fact, they have identified three categories of people who take selfies: Communicators, autobiographers and self-publicists. Check out which of the categories you belong to as you happily post your self-taken pictures online:

Communicators. You take selfies primarily to engage your friends, family or followers in a conversation. “They’re all about two-way communication,” explained coauthor of the study Maureen Elinzano. If you want to spark a conversation about the value of voting and encourage your followers to fulfill their civic duty, post your “I voted” selfie on Instagram.

Autobiographers. You use selfies as a tool to record key events in your life and preserve significant memories. You enjoy sharing but aren’t necessarily seeking the feedback and engagement that communicators are. So, for instance, NASA astronaut Scott Kelley, who returned to Earth in 2016 after a year in space, chronicled his trip with a number of epic shots, including a full-blown space-suit selfie.

Self-publicists. If you belong to this category, you love documenting your entire life. Says coauthor Harper Anderson, “In documenting and sharing their lives, they’re hoping to present themselves and their stories in a positive light.” Take any celebrity that has made a name for themselves only on the basis of social media.

Irrespective of the kind of selfie-taker you might be, if you are an obsessive self-photographer, there’s a significant health issue that could soon come visiting you. Selfie elbow is the latest tech-induced ailment to sweep smartphone addicts everywhere. “Selfie elbow is similar to ‘tennis elbow’ or ‘golfer’s elbow,’ which are names for conditions in which you experience inflammation in the tendons that run along your arm from your hand to your elbow,” Mary Ann Wilmarth, a doctor of physical therapy and spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association told ‘The Washington Post’. She added that inflammation from taking selfies happens because you’re extending your arm but also trying to keep a firm grip on your phone as you do—a modern movement that our bodies just aren’t designed to do on a regular basis. This comes on the heels of other tech-related physical conditions such as “gaming thumb,” “swiping finger,” “texting neck,” and other issues caused by obsessions with staying digitally connected.

Thankfully the solution is simple. Have technology time-outs in the day, get regular exercise to improve your circulation, and remind yourself to focus on enjoying your experience rather than documenting every second of it.

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