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Why Do People Take Selfies?

Update Date: Jan 11, 2017 08:10 AM EST

Five Brigham Youth University Communications Masters students asked, "Why Do People Take Selfies?" And they found out that people are taking selfies for much more complex reasons.

Self-photographs or selfies have been a permanent fixture in people's lives with the advent and popularity of social media. However, unlike what most people are thinking, selfies are not all about showing off or being obsessed with one's self.

After analyzing the surveys and interviews, the researchers found out that selfie-takers can be categorized into three types. The first type of selfie taker is what is called a communicator. A communicator is someone who takes selfies to elicit a conversation. This type of selfie takers is eager for any kind of feedback.

The second type of selfie taker is the autobiographer. Just like the label itself, autobiographers take selfies to document important milestones in their lives and to preserve memories. Unlike the communicators, autobiographers don't necessarily take selfies for engagement or feedback alone.

The last type of selfie taker is the self-publicist. A small number of people fall under thus type.compared to the two other types. Self-publicists are the selfie takers that document everything and anything that happened, is happening, and will happen in their lives.

Another thing about self-publicists is that they use their social media accounts to promote or endorse something or someone. Most "famous" people fall into this category like the Kardashians.

According to one of the researchers, categorizing selfie-takers also showcases different types of self-expressions. It may be through how the photographs are taken or how different perspectives are shared through these images. In a way, these selfies have become a visual history not only of the individual person but also of the people in the same category.

The study published in Visual Communication Quarterly stresses the need to understand the motivation of people for taking selfies. "Because years from now, our society's visual history is going to be largely comprised of selfies. To find out why people do it, that contributes a lot to the discussion on selfies and visual communication in general", adds Matt Lewis, one of the researchers of the study.

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