Contrary to the common perception that people who post frequent selfies on social media platforms are generally narcissists, a new study now says selfie lovers may have different motives which often extend beyond self-obsession and showing off.
After analysing their survey results and interviews, a team of researchers from Texas Tech University found that there are three categories of selfie-takers — communicators, autobiographers and self-publicists.
“It is important to recognise that not everyone is a narcissist,” said Steven Holiday, study co-author in a paper published in the journal Visual Communication Quarterly.
Communicators are those who post selfies on social media such as Facebook and Instagram primarily to engage with their friends, family or followers in a conversation.
“They are all about two-way communication,” added team member Maureen “Mo” Elinzano.
Autobiographers use selfies on social media platform as a tool to record key events in their lives and preserve significant memories.
Lastly, self-publicists are the people who love documenting their entire lives.
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“Identifying and categorising the three groups is important because it’s a different kind of photography than we have ever experienced before,” Holiday added.
Understanding people’s motives can be valuable, because years from now, our society’s visual history is going to be largely comprised of selfies.
“And to find out why people do it, that contributes a lot to the discussion on selfies and visual communication in general,” added Matt Lewis, co-author.