How Selfies Are Ruining Your Relationships

New research from the U.K. reveals that posting too many photos of yourself on Facebook is related to a decreased sense of intimacy by people in your network

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Thinking about uploading that totally awesome bathroom-mirror selfie? Think again. A new study from three business schools in Britain suggests that sharing too many photos of yourself isn’t just narcissistic, it can alienate you from the people who see them too.

“Increased frequency of sharing photographs of the self, regardless of the type of target sharing the photographs, is related to a decrease in intimacy,” concludes the joint study conducted by the University of Birmingham, the University of Edinburgh, and Heriot-Watt University. In other words, people who constantly share photos of themselves generally tend to have more shallow personal relationships. Admittedly, this won’t come as a huge surprise to regular Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram users, but now there’s data to support our nagging suspicions.

The study, which was conducted on 508 Facebook users with an average age of 24, asked participants to rank the level of emotional support and intimacy they feel from their online network of friends, relatives, significant others and coworkers. It then compared those answers to how frequently participants saw photos posted by those same people.

Luckily for those among us who already have spent years perfecting the art of the selfie, the study isn’t all bad news. Although your selfie addiction may irritate your acquaintances, it turns out that our best friends don’t seem to have a problem with our chronic photo-sharing — in fact, they seem to like it, reporting higher levels of support for the friends that regularly post photos of themselves, even if they may not be as close.

Don’t want to seem superficial but just can’t break the selfie habit? The answer might be as simple as using a photo-messaging app, such as Snapchat, to give your best friends their selfie fix while keeping everyone else blissfully unaware.

MORE: Narcissism Linked to Frequent Facebook Use

MORE: Why Facebook Makes You Feel Bad About Yourself

6 comments
shirleymayatan
shirleymayatan

Someone must be really free or loaded to waste time and money on totally useless studies like these. Seriously? Like we do not have much bigger issues and problems at hand that are begging for real help. 

ucheharpers
ucheharpers

I really think not everything merits a research as their results are pretty obvious

dbdel
dbdel

The headline is wrong and the text of the article is incomplete and confusing.  Here's how I've re-written some of the "facts" in this article:

Apparently True Statements (based on the wording of the text.  #1 is from the 2nd sentence of the 2nd paragraph; #2, 3A-3D are from 2nd sentence, 4th paragraph)

1.  People who post a lot of photos of themselves have interpersonal relationships that are more shallow than those of people who post few photos of themselves. 

2.  People who post a lot of photos of themselves may be irritating/annoying their acquaintances

3A.  Best friends are not annoyed by the frequent photos

3B. Best friends seem to like the frequent photos

3C. Best friends say they provide “higher levels of support” to friends who post a lot of photos

3D. Best friends might not be as emotionally close as other friends/acquaintances are

Nothing in this article says that frequent “Selfies Are Ruining Your Relationships”

Demerits to the two or three people involved in publishing this article.  They need to be perspicacious and precise in their reading, thinking, and writing.

  ** Demerit to the headline writer (who probably is not the same person as the person who wrote the article).

  ** Demerit to the writer, Logan Blaine.

  ** Demerit to the Time editor who approved the posting of this article with this headline.

For now, I will read the original report of the study;  see http://epapers.bham.ac.uk/1723/1/2013-03_D_Houghton.pdf

teddpotts1
teddpotts1

@shirleymayatan You are right.  A government owns the university that paid people to conduct the study.  In a free market economy, without government interference into education and trade, studies like these wouldn't be funded.  Only people who enjoy spending (wasting) other peoples' money would do this.