Selfies And Self-Esteem: What Do Posting And Looking At Selfies Say About People's Lives?

First Posted: Oct 25, 2016 04:20 AM EDT

The modern-day people are undeniably living in the selfie age. And while posting and looking at selfies seem ordinary activities these days, recent studies say otherwise. Experts started to link selfies and self-esteem; however, the findings don't allow them to make up their minds yet regarding the concrete effect of people taking their own photos and looking at somebody else's. Do these activities boost or lower one's confidence?

According to CNN, a new study suggests that looking at selfies indicates low levels of life satisfaction and self-esteem. On the other hand, another one says posting selfies might boost one's feelings about his or her self-worth.  But apparently, both studies show connection between selfies and self-esteem.

In the study Let Me Take a Selfie, two graduate students from Penn State University focused on the effects of looking at selfies. They are the first to analyze the effects of looking at other people's selfies instead of taking them. According to, the viewing behavior is called "lurking", particularly when a person is an observer but does not participate in liking and posting social media content. Such concept stresses the difference between posting and looking at selfies.

The researchers studied 255 survey responses and noted that those who often lurked on social media had lower levels of self-esteem. This links to the upward social comparison theory in which people may feel unhappy about their lives when they view others' photos. The report pointed out that having a frequent selfie viewing behavior may trigger one's feeling of jealousy and lower self-confidence.

Meanwhile, another study revealed that posting selfies could help build one's confidence. The journal First Monday published the research findings stating that affirming comments by other users help increase the self-esteem of women who often take and post selfies. Those positive messages enable them to look at themselves in a positive light.

Indeed, posting and looking at selfies are two different activities. They show the two ends of how selfies and self-esteem are linked to each other; both of which have crucial effects in one's life.

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