Selfie culture among generations

The concept of taking a selfie has been on the rise for quite some time. However in terms of which generation is the most tech savvy when it comes to taking selfies, a poll by the Pew Research Center confirmed that between Millennial’s (those born between early 80’s and 2000), Gen X (those born between 60’s and 80’s) and Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964), Millennial’s were found to have posted the largest numbers of selfies on a social media website. According to the poll, 55% of Millennial’s, 24% of Gen X and 9% of Baby Boomers had posted their selfies to a social media site. It was also found that amongst the Silent generation i.e. those born between the mid 1920’s and early 1940’s, 4% had uploaded their selfie.

Reports also state that more than 1 million selfies are shared by individuals on a daily basis on various social media websites and apps. Out of all these websites, the most popular where selfies are uploaded is Facebook which accounts for 48% of the selfies uploaded by various individuals. Facebook is then followed in popularity by Whatsapp on which 27% of selfies are shared; 9% are shared on Twitter; 8% on Instagram; 5% on Snapchat and 2% on Pinterest.

Businesses too tend to look into trends and to jump on their bandwagon to help their business thrive and attract a larger customer base. With the increasing trend of selfies, a number of businesses have caught up and have begun to make use of this tactic in their ad campaigns as well. Companies such as Samsung, National Geographic, Pizza Hut, UNICEF, Marc Jacobs and a number of others have utilized this trend to attract the tech savvy generation of today and to promote their brands. Most activity related to businesses and their engagement with their clients now tends to take place via social media which further helps in gaining more traffic to the business’s page on these social media sites but also helps in building longer lasting relationships.

Similar to other trends, the selfie trend too has its pros and cons. Considering why selfies can be good, it can be argued that they help in boosting a person’s self confidence as it allows them to take a picture when they’re looking good, edit it and upload it onto a social media website through which ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on the picture are received. Also, taking selfies is a great way of capturing the moment and to make memories and it no longer requires leaving anyone out of the picture; you can simply extend your arm and include your entire group of friends into the picture without leaving anyone out. Lastly, they are simply a fun and innovative way of taking pictures which makes it all the more enjoyable. Selfies however do have a negative side to them as well. A number of studies have shown selfies to be linked to Narcissism and with a great deal of importance being put into the superficial appearance of oneself to simply look good and gain praise from others. Posting selfies on public social media websites also has a certain privacy risk associated with it and can bring forth uninvited attention. Furthermore, selfies also cause people to become more involved in taking the picture rather than enjoying the moment itself.

While the selfie trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, certain measures can be taken to ensure that privacy of these selfies is maintained. A number of celebrities have found to have their personal pictures and videos leaked which has caused scandals to brew which is why the privacy of such content is of utmost importance. When taking selfies, children should avoid posting them on social media websites but if they must, they should make sure that their privacy levels are high; they shouldn’t upload private selfies as these could lead to trouble and a good anti-virus should be installed to ensure hackers and viruses don’t get through. Sometimes, even the apps and websites we make use of might be able to view pictures and videos through cookies and without proper protection; they may even be able to access internet browser history. The internet is not a very safe place especially if one isn’t careful which is why one must ensure that privacy and security is at the top of the list while using the internet and social media.

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