Secret of the selfie

It’s here, it’s there, and it’s everywhere, so everybody say, “Cheese!” There is no escape from the popular trend of the selfie. Everyone takes them, or has taken one of them, from the President of the United States in the White House to astronauts Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst in space. Hundreds of thousands are taken, but only one of the many pictures taken are posted on our Facebook wall or Instagram account. People tend to stress over how many “likes” they get on their pictures. But why are these self-pictures so popular? Why do people find it necessary to take so many of them? What is the secret of the selfie?

Selfies have become increasingly popular throughout the last two decades and continue to be a trend. Teenagers will often say, “But first, let me take a selfie” or “OMG, I love your selfie.” The word “selfie” has existed since late 2002. Why are selfies such a big deal now? It wasn’t until the re-election in 2012 that they became more of a “thing,” after President Obama posed for a selfie after he won. Within the last decade, people have taken more pictures than have been taken throughout the history of mankind. Last year was the “year of the selfie,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary, and over 880 million were taken worldwide. These digital self-portraits give us the power to portray ourselves the way we want to be seen by others. They are usually made to appear casual and simple, as if to say, “I woke up like this,” or “Yes, I’m this cool.”

They can be taken anywhere and at any time. There is a social media website called Snapchat that is entirely based upon and dedicated to the art of taking selfies. With sites like Snapchat and Instagram that push for people to take pictures of themselves, it’s no wonder that they continue to grow in popularity. But what is the cause of people taking these pictures?

Some would speculate and say that selfies are merely a reflection of one’s personal vanity and the constant struggle to be “beautiful” or “attractive.”  Could it be that people post these pictures for the approval and compliments of others? Selfies, in a sense, can show one’s more narcissistic side. When taking selfies, whether conscious or subconsciously, people take them to get attention and show off, whether it is to a group of people or one person in particular. There is a sense of wanting to feel accepted and attractive that motivates a person’s actions to take these pictures, they expose one’s desire “to feel like a million bucks.”