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Facebook “Selfies” Can Hurt Relationships, Study Reports

Update Date: Aug 13, 2013 10:26 AM EDT

A Facebook profile can speak volumes about the user, which is why people spend a lot of time choosing the right picture and the level of privacy. For some people, the perfect one might be the very personal selfie that is taken in the bathroom or in the bedroom. The selfie places the user at the center with nothing else distracting viewers. Although the selfie might allow people to focus on themselves, a new study is reporting that selfies could potentially take a toll on people's close relationships.

"People, other than very close friends and relatives, don't seem to relate well to those who constantly share photos of themselves," the lead researcher, Dr. David Houghton said according to the NY Daily News. Houghton is a marketing lecturer from Birmingham Business School. "It's worth remember that the information we post to our 'friends' on Facebook, actually gets viewed by lots of different categories of people; partners; family; colleagues and acquaintances; and each group seems to take a different view of the information shared."

For this study, the research team from the United Kingdom looked at how people's posting habits could potentially affect how others view them. They found that since Facebook tends to connect people to a wide range of people, from families to mere acquaintances, how these different groups of people view one's profile does vary greatly. The researchers found that for users who promote a big-brand by uploading a picture of themselves with the item tend to be more negatively judged by other viewers. Overall, though, selfies are considered one of the worst pictures that other people would prefer never to see.

"It is narcissistic, but it's becoming acceptable," Julie Spira, who was not a part of the study said. "The President's daughter posted a selfie from the inauguration, so why shouldn't you post from your high school or college graduation?"

One of the more interesting findings of the study has to do with relationships. The researchers reported that people who post selfies frequently could actually be straining their relationships. Users who post selfies were more likely to self-report feeling less supported by their relationship partners. In the majority of these cases, their relationship partners tended to post more pictures of families and family events. The researchers reasoned that the difference between the types of pictures uploaded could explain why one partner might be feeling less supported. The researchers recommend that couples have the social media talk at the beginning of a budding relationship.

"If you're posting more than three times a day on Facebook, you're going to irritate people," Spira sad, "If one friend is hogging your entire feed, you might unfriend that person because that's not why you joined."

Based from the findings of this study, the researchers recommend that people should be more aware of the amount of pictures they are posting. On top of that, the types of pictures that end up on the Internet and gets seen by everyone should be hand selected. 

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