I Hate Selfies, So I Took One Every Day For A Year

Image: Gizmodo

People who take selfies are vain, narcissistic and self-absorbed. Why post self portraits taken in a dirty bathroom mirror on social media every. Single. Day? Is it for attention? Validation? Are you hooked on how many "likes" you get? Get over yourself.

Before I decided to take a selfie every day for a year, I didn't take selfies at all. Because I didn't want people to judge me like I was judging others.

Hang on, wait — if I hate them so much why am I taking a selfie every day for a year? Let's rewind.

I used to believe, genuinely, that women who entered beauty pageants were stuck-up, shallow and conceited. Ugly, right? I thought so too. So I entered one.

Miss Whitsundays. That's me on the far left, a 30-year-old in a beauty pageant with teenagers, self-esteem taking a solid beating. Image: Supplied

At the risk of sounding like an inspirational Instagram post designed to eventually sell you yoga for both you and your cat, that competition taught me a lot about myself. Mainly, if I find myself judging others, attempting to understand their motivations is crucial to my growth as a Decent Human™.

When I recognised the same thought patterns in regards to selfies, I threw myself in the deep end.


Rae Vs The Selfie: Overcoming The Discomfort

I know this sounds dramatic, but the thought of transitioning from a selfie-free social media presence to one where I spam my followers with my mug on a daily basis was pretty daunting. I set up a separate account, @raevstheselfie, that would become the home for this experiment — #blessed hashtags and all.

Let the light-hearted exploration of online narcissism begin!


Day One

The least threatening of the selfies, the smiling selfie. Friendly, not vain. Although I spent a full five minutes deciding if I should put on makeup before taking this, then walked around the house trying to find good light. This photo gained me 400 followers in one day. The comments were overwhelmingly positive, and on board with my "journey" (oh man, this is so reality TV right now).


Day Two

It's a funny thing that I feel most comfortable being self-deprecating. This is me, red blotchy face just out of the shower. No makeup, no filter. Blank canvas. This is the selfie I felt most comfortable uploading.


Day Three

The gym selfie (kinda). I chickened out of taking a gym selfie at the actual gym.

Three selfies in and I was already bored.

Comments rarely strayed from the usual respectful unconditional praise of my genetic structure I somehow found so uncomfortable to accept.

posty._.lord You have lovely eyes

allyjm88 You are beautiful Rae! @raevstheselfie

kevinjamesgee This one turned me on

pixelatedlord You look more refreshed today :3

michaelbmctigheFrizzy hair

m_d_g_v Liking oneself's image is a good thing, and that is a bit narcissistic

michaelbmctighe I'm not sure if you own that residence, but if I were you, when I got the money for it I'd have all that tile redone in that bathroom.

Overall everyone was wonderful. These people are strangers, but posting a selfie was allowing them into my world far more than a regular photo could.

Selfies are an interesting medium of communication because there's a barrier being removed between the audience and yourself. There's no photographer, it's just you. It's more personal, it's one on one — or one on millions, depending on your following.

People online might be lovely, and they might be gross. But let's not forget there are people in the real world too — and they are watching, judging.

"Tourist" selfies are somehow more "acceptable", as far as public selfies go. Your face with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background? Totally fine. Your face with a comment about how you're seeing the Sydney Harbour Bridge today? What's the point, other than fishing for compliments?


Day 11

Gym selfies are a whole other kettle of fish. I ran from the place when I realised someone saw me take this.


Day 14

I took this selfie in a crowded seafood restaurant while wearing a bib and rubber gloves.

My level of public shame whilst selfie-taking was diminishing rapidly.


The Epiphany

Two weeks is all it took for me to go from "everyone is looking at me and judging me and oh gosh they are going to think I am an awful narcissist" to an overwhelming "meh". Two weeks.

Bathroom mirror #ootd selfies showing off T-shirts, selfies on the bus, selfies in the street, selfies in the car with my friends, the "super close up of my eye" selfie made famous by College Humour's Instagram-themed "Photograph" Nickleback parody.

But the self-deprecation theme was strong. I didn't want to be judged. What if, despite all my assurances in the captions, my followers thought I was "up myself"?


Day 22

The comments were getting gross and judgemental too — but not towards me. I was enabling this, encouraging it even.

eve_nation This is the selfie I see most posted to me it comes from people who need other people to validate there own self worth and need to always told they pretty because they do not accept the fact they are

Then there was this.

muse_shake I see nothing wrong with people wanting to be told they're pretty...

muse_shake was right. I may have felt uncomfortable with the idea of compliments from strangers on social media about my looks, but why do I even care if other people enjoy that? What business is it of mine? If you want to post a selfie of your head and possibly have people tell you you're looking fine today, power to you. Despite selfies being bandied about as evidence of the downfall of society, in reality they hurt literally no one.

In fact, they do good.

Representation of regular people in the media is pretty dismal, to say the least. To combat this we see advertising campaigns and initiatives from beauty companies that aim to "celebrate all shapes and sizes", while at the same time it's all for a pat on the head, brand perception — ultimately, profit.

Social media changes that.

When you post a selfie on social media you are changing the landscape of the images on the internet. You are putting real faces out into the world. You are normalising normal. It's empowering, and it's important.

Yes, it's all about you. You don't need anyone's permission to feel good about you. If you are having a good face day, I want to see it, and so do other people. Take that selfie, post it everywhere, share your self confidence and allow others to do the same.

If someone has a problem with you posting selfies on your social media account that's their problem, not yours.

This got deep real quick, and I finally understood. Somewhat awkwardly, I'd achieved my goal in less than a month into my year-long commitment.

Then the direction of this project changed dramatically.


Being (A) Human On The Internet

By this point these selfies had become my daily dairy. The people that were following my account were seeing a glimpse into my life I wasn't revealing publicly anywhere else. I wasn't just gaining comments on how attractive they thought my head was at any given moment, I was gaining friends, support.

If you asked me before I started this project what I honestly felt the worst kind of selfies were, I'd have told you the sympathy-grabbing ones. If something awful has happened in your life, get off the damn internet and hug your loved ones.

Then my dog Obi died.

My Aunty Beryl died.

My Uncle Jimmy died.

My Uncle Kirty died.

#raevstheselfie Lost a good friend today. Justin "Acharacter" Costello was such an enormous part of the Australian cosplay community. He was our Uncle Justin. And now he's gone. And I have to take a stupid photo of my stupid face for this stupid project. I always strive to have a positive presence on social media. This project has made that tough. You guys see all of me, not just the happy times. It makes me feel like I'm fishing for sympathy, and that makes me uncomfortable. I'm a very fortunate person - great family, friends, career - and I never want to seem ungrateful for all of that. I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me, there are so many others out there that need that care and attention so much more than I. Maybe the honesty I am forced to show will help others be more open when they are feeling down or to reach out when they need a hug. I'd like a hug right now.

A post shared by Rae Johnston (@raevstheselfie) on

My friend Justin died.

I was that person. I was posting a selfies on the way to funerals. I was posting selfies with tears in my eyes. I deserved everything the comments section could throw at me

What I got was support. Constant, unwavering, genuine, heartfelt support. One comment stood out.

slartibartfaste It's good to share

I shared my son's first day of high school.

#raevstheselfie cosplay fun with @ardellacosplay @realbeauregard @r4hscal and @badluck_kitty

A post shared by Rae Johnston (@raevstheselfie) on

I shared cosplay adventures.

#raevstheselfie selfieception on @mornings9 today.

A post shared by Rae Johnston (@raevstheselfie) on

I shared my TV segements.

#raevstheselfie #nofilter #nomakeup

A post shared by Rae Johnston (@raevstheselfie) on

I shared good hair days. (Seriously, my hair was great this day).

The community I'd built on @raevstheselfie simply by posting photos of my face going about my daily business weren't just randoms on the internet any more.

I have met some of these followers in person, mostly at comic conventions. As soon as they say, "I followed your selfie account," I instantly know they are among the people that are now the closest to me in this world, even though they are what most people would consider complete strangers. If this project was a "post a photo a day taken by someone else with a personally revealing caption" project I honestly don't believe it would have had the same effect.


What I Didn't Share

"Oversharing" is often seen as a negative online. "TMI!" people might say to your expressions of love, or photo of the gross thing you found on the bottom of your shoe this morning. When online, the difference between good sharing and oversharing isn't so much the content itself — but who your audience is. Although they were willing participants, I often felt like I was oversharing to the followers I'd gathered on this account.

It's good to share, right? But in reality I was undersharing something important.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression on this day.

#raevstheselfie on a train full of school kids. All I can hear are a million conversations happening at once. Send help.

A post shared by Rae Johnston (@raevstheselfie) on

Literally every other moment of my life was documented and shared with the @raevstheselfie community, except for my diagnosis. There were clues — the black and white filters, the insomnia, the "not getting out of bed today" images — but I never outright said anything about my depression. Looking back, I know I could have. And probably should have. But I wasn't ready.

"Ugh, I've got the flu. Send soup"

"Oops" (Caption under a picture of a bandaged wrist)

*checks into hospital*

We are used to seeing this kind of medical-related sharing online these days. Once we might have considered this as oversharing, too — but now it's pretty standard. And that's a good thing.

There have been a bunch of studies showing that people are more likely to share their own health experiences online if it means it will support others with the same condition. The result of this is overwhelmingly positive — people are gaining knowledge and support networks while the publicly available information can be used to assist healthcare programs.

Mental illness unfortunately still has a stigma surrounding it. Making the decision to share your experiences with it, with the fear that it will impact on people's perception of your ability to function in daily life, is a big leap to take. And it's a leap I'm ready to take now. I might not be re-opening @raevstheselfie, but I'm not going shy away from sharing the lows as well as the highs on social media any more.

Sometimes knowing you're not alone makes all the difference, and the fact that a simple selfie can help with that is a beautiful thing.


I <3 Selfies

Day 365

In a year I went from hating selfies and judging those who took them to recognising the selfie as an important tool for self expression, confidence, representation and building a community of people online that understand both you are a real person and treat you like one. It's a way of sharing genuine human experience with other humans in a digital world where the nuances of humanity is often lost.

Long live the selfie.

You can follow my entire journey from selfie hater to selfie advocate at raevstheselfie


Comments

    Holy heck, losing four people and a dog in one year is unbearable. I hope to never be that unfortunate.

    A really interesting journey. I personally tried taking a selfie a day a year or so ago, I think I made it three weeks. I was going to try and take them at the same time every day, which Monday-Friday meant during my commute shortly after the train emptied out around three quarters of the way home which gave me fifteen minutes before my stop to compose the selfie and upload it to tumblr with a short blog post on my feelings that day. I had no clear objective, I think I was deliberately trying to capture how tired I was feeling, and the regularity of my haircuts. After the first week it became kind of sad that I only have three work shirts that I rotate, not because I can't afford to buy more, but because I do laundry every second day and simply don't need them, so why bother? I've since then replaced the three old shirts with three new ones. The old ones are fine, I could rotate amongst 6 shirts instead of 3, but I don't.

    Taking a selfie a day with no clear motivation or project behind it only served to highlight the mundane. I certainly would have skipped days where I was feeling down, or something significant happened. I guess that's what made your project actually work. The only time I take a solo selfie is when I want a new profile pic for Facebook or Twitter. My wife usually wants to get photos with herself and friends when we go out, sometimes I'm included. About 25% of the time she'll want to do a "silly" pic where we stick out our tongues or cross our eyes but it's so weirdly artificial, like we're going to be spontaneous and random but in this completely contrived and measured way. It's dishonest, but it's a game everyone seems to play, because we are conditioned to feel like there is something wrong with wanting to be told we look good, so we pretend we don't care about that, upload our candid pics, then smile when our friends like it on Facebook anyway.

    Last edited 22/08/16 9:31 am

    Interesting read and as someone who almost never takes selfies this has given me reason to rethink the way I look at others' posts. The cynic in me does wonder though: do you think you would have had such a positive/supportive experience if you weren't an attractive looking woman?

      That's a good question.

      Last edited 22/08/16 10:08 am

      Indeed. Or had a more realistic audience of say under 100?

      "Do you think you would have had such a positive/supportive experience if you weren't an attractive looking woman?" While researching over the year it took for me to do this project, I actually found attractive women were far more harshly judged for taking selfies -- as they are more easily seen as vain and narcissistic than "regular" people.

      I think my openness about this being a project, and the quick turn my story took throughout the 365 days endeared the audience towards me as a real person, and were therefore less likely to be jerks to me in the comments.

        Fair point. I certainly agree that 'attractive' people often also attract the harshest/nastiest comments, and I can see how your open/honest approach would help to diffuse this. However I still think a 'regular' person (I'm thinking of myself, an average looking guy as an example) would get significantly less interest/fewer comments in general, whether positive or negative.

        More importantly though, and as others have said, huge props for sharing such a personal experience in such a detailed, well written post (and also for taking the time to reply to my comment!)

      No doubt she shall find that out in time.

      exactly my thoughts! only one way to find out though....

    Nice one, I wish I knew about this experiment earlier! Patience and determination, especially on the rough days. I really respect people that go out of their way to understand something that they question. Well done, I bet it's great to look back on, the good and the bad.

    Wow. Just, wow. All this article shows is that everyone is basically the same and it is merely about levels of narcissism. I don't take photos with anyone in them if I can help it and nothing on Dog's green Earth would lead me to taking a photo of myself, unless it was to illustrate something, like evidence of a beating for a court trial.

    The fact you would be interested to see what happens, or that the reason you hadn't done it previously was for fear of being judged, shows that you were nothing more than an narcissistic selfie-taker waiting to come out of the closet.

    I wouldn't take a photo of myself because I can't think of a reason why I would want to. If I did, I certainly wouldn't be interested in what anyone else had to say about it. I can't think of anything more pathetic than that. If there is one thing I have learned about people, it is that they are completely incapable of any kind of objective assessment of anything, particularly when it comes to other people, which renders their opinion meaningless. To court opinion, then, becomes the very definition of vacuous.

    "... posting a selfie was allowing them into my world far more than a regular photo could." Why is that important to you? To me it seems like nothing more than a measure of the patheticness of those people's lives.

    "It’s a way of sharing genuine human experience with other humans in a digital world where the nuances of humanity is (sic) often lost." Urgh!

    BTW, there is some bad grammar, several spelling errors and a few typos in this article and I am judging the hell out of you for them all because sane people judge others by their actions, not by how they look. (Yes, that includes the actions of taking and posting selfies.)

      Happy for you to share the grammar and spelling errors, mate. I've had a read through and I didn't see anything worth "judging the hell" out of.

      The rest of your comment really shows you up as incredibly closed-minded, in my opinion. This might come as a shock, but not everyone is the same as you. Not everyone lives the same experiences as you do.

      Just because you don't take photos with anyone else in them -- which, I bet most of the other commenters will agree with me, is weird, weirder than taking a selfie a day for a year -- doesn't mean that you're somehow better.

      Pathetic, vacuous, narcissistic -- it sounds like you have a massive chip on your shoulder about other people doing something they enjoy with absolutely zero impact upon you. I strongly suggest you take a close look at your reaction and judge whether it's a rational one.

        Of course you're not the same as me, that's kind of my point. You all like to think you are so different from everyone else but you aren't at all, you are all just minor variations on the exact same theme. It's boring to sit on the outside and look in but because you are all on the inside, you don't even notice.

        What's really weird is that you all seem to place importance on being different whilst doing all the same things. It is clear to me, and this article demonstrates it well enough, that you crave acceptance above all else, despite the fact that you gain acceptance by being just like everyone else. It is possibly that paradox that leads to clinical depression, who knows?

        I am completely used to teh way you all are, it just does my head in that you never see it for yourselves.

        Sounds to me like you are being somewhat defensive (on behalf of the writer) and more than just a little aggressive in YOUR response. Whilst Somedork is a little overboard with his commentary I too found the whole concept more than a little hypocritical and a rather pathetic attempt to sell narcissism as a social positive. Sad to hear about her losses but there is no reason we should have to accept that as a necessary impetus to disallow critical commentary. I suggest it might be yourself with the chip on the shoulder.

          No shit! Campbell is a fellow editor, you stick up for your mates! OP (SomeDork*) clearly has been burned in the past about something? ie the chip on said shoulders. I don't like taking selfies either and i do judge people that do! As Campbell said, I am not everyone. Just because it's our way doesn't mean its the right/wrong way.

      Bit hypocritical to judge the author considering that you made spelling and grammar mistakes in your short comment:

      Dog's green Earth?
      an narcissistic?

      Also, "I can't think of anything more pathetic than that" - You think selfie-takers are more pathetic than rapists, murderers and paedophiles?

        I don't think I'd describe a rapist or paedophile as pathetic. Evil, maybe, disturbed almost certainly, but not pathetic. Murder, OTOH, is a crime I can understand. And you do realise that using "Dog" in place of "God" was deliberate, right? Narcissistic is a word, too. But I don't get paid to write, I do it between jobs at work, where proof-reading is a bit of a luxury.

          I think you'll find he was talking about the an in front of narcissistic, as opposed to a narcissistic. Not the latter being a word.

      LOL, this guy sounds fun at a party.

      Glad to know you already think your opinion is worthless!

      Im onboard with your sentiments, despite what the doosh bag below implied.
      Too me it is about introverts and extroverts and it just is never ok to be an introvert.
      Be you a big loudmouth or an attractive look at me look at me woman...i tend to find the entire culture of the selfie, the face book, the social media everything, mindless, sad regressive and unthinking. Just because everyone is doing it doesn't make it right, humans are sheep.
      just look at idocracy and the present stat e of the world.....doward spiral.

        Im onboard with your sentiments, despite what the doosh bag below implied."I agree with you, people who don't agree with us share attributes with feminine hygiene products.

        Too me it is about introverts and extroverts and it just is never ok to be an introvert.Is it? Can you support that claim with excerpts from the text?

        Be you a big loudmouth or an attractive look at me look at me woman...i tend to find the entire culture of the selfie, the face book, the social media everything, mindless, sad regressive and unthinking.Written in response to a long and thoughtful post about the motivation and meaning behind selfies, and how people use them to control how they share their thoughts and feelings with the world.

        Just because everyone is doing it doesn't make it right, humans are sheep.
        "All those people thinking the same way is bad, because I disapprove. Now agree with me, before I compare you to a feminine hygiene product again."

        just look at idocracy and the present stat e of the world.....doward spiral.
        "I'm namedropping a satirical film about the rise of the idiot to pass judgment on people who like to take pictures of themselves, because these are exactly the same thing, and comparing that to the rampant culture of anti-intellectualism. To drill this point home, I will make several spelling mistakes."

      Wow. Just, wow. All this article shows is that everyone is basically the same and it is merely about levels of narcissism.
      Does it? Where?

      I don't take photos with anyone in them if I can help it and nothing on Dog's green Earth would lead me to taking a photo of myself, unless it was to illustrate something, like evidence of a beating for a court trial.
      Relevance? Significance?

      The fact you would be interested to see what happens, or that the reason you hadn't done it previously was for fear of being judged, shows that you were nothing more than an narcissistic selfie-taker waiting to come out of the closet.
      Still making bold, judgmental and unsupported claims about another person's mental state. If you're trying to present a coherent counterpoint you're not off to a strong start.

      I wouldn't take a photo of myself because I can't think of a reason why I would want to.
      I could suggest that this is evidence of someone severely lacking in imagination or with a distressingly low self-worth, but I won't, because I don't know you. But the point is your motivation or lack thereof is a personal thing, that makes sense to you.

      I can't think of anything more pathetic than that.
      I can think of a few things, starting with people being overly critical of things on the internet that don't affect them.

      If there is one thing I have learned about people, it is that they are completely incapable of any kind of objective assessment of anything, particularly when it comes to other people, which renders their opinion meaningless. To court opinion, then, becomes the very definition of vacuous.
      If true, this would masterfully summarise why your entire post is a meaningless non-contribution to the discussion.

      "... posting a selfie was allowing them into my world far more than a regular photo could." Why is that important to you? To me it seems like nothing more than a measure of the patheticness of those people's lives.
      Because it was an exercise in exploring how people express themselves on social media, which was the whole point.

      BTW, there is some bad grammar, several spelling errors and a few typos in this article and I am judging the hell out of you for them all because sane people judge others by their actions, not by how they look. (Yes, that includes the actions of taking and posting selfies.)
      I'm not judging you for your action of making this post, because people expressing themselves is something the internet thrives on, but I will judge you on its content, which is a self-admittedly worthless meandering diatribe about a subject that apparently has no importance to you other than the energy you put into disliking it. Calm down.

      I present to you all:

      SomeDorkKeepsStealingMyName

      The only man with his head so far up his own arse he can describe the contents of his stomach

        This probably explains his difficulty in taking selfies! ;)

        Agreed, but I'm pretty sure he'll run into Kermitron while he is up there.
        A dead heat for the douchebag Olympics.

    Thank you for being courageous to share your life, ups and downs and all. Keep shining!

    Prior to reading this article I had a low and dismissive opinion of selfies. However, you actually put forward a legitimate argument for it. #MindBlown

    Just one more thing, Rae: selfie sticks. Yay or nay?

    Last edited 22/08/16 10:58 am

    @raejohnston
    far canal!
    i wasnt quite sure what i expected the article to be.
    im one of the downtrodden, judge others to make myself feel better types when it comes to photos on social media. so i started reading, not expecting to get very far.
    ill be honest. the fact that you are an attractive female, made that easier for me to get through the first chunk of the article.
    but, then, it was your openness, your candidness, your reality, your vulnerability that kept me going. to the point where i was sympathising and rejoicing with you along your journey.

    THEN, you posted about depression. and i felt incredibly sad and teared up. a 30 year old man, at work, in an office with 3 other blokey blokes. i teared up, and im doing it again right now, because depression is incredibly fucked up and incredibly real and something i know all too well.

    right there, not that im saying its what defines you, but its a BIG insight into the filter your mind uses to share things (i could be completely wrong, so, i apologise if it sounds like im pigeonholing you, not my intention)

    but over all, you most certainly achieved a goal in changing at least one other person's (mine) perspective on selfies, but also, that i suddenly found myself rooting and even caring about your well being. i truly and earnestly wish you all the best, in family (coz being a parent isnt hard enough, and then having depression on top of that), and in health. but by the looks of things, you look more than capable of tackling your self, head-on and being proactive and enriching and enhancing your own life and those you are in contact with.

    thank you for sharing, thank you for bringing awareness.

    Last edited 22/08/16 11:33 am

      I agree with everything you've said. This was exactly my experience. I was genuinely surprised at how quickly my eyerolling turned to tears.

    I can't say more than what's already been said, but you had a pretty damn rough year and a great article about how humans are connecting through digital media and that not everyone on the internet is an arsehole.

    Damn brave project. *high five* for seeing it through and learning heaps from the experience :)

    Much respect for taking the effort to find out what it's all about rather than just sitting on the sidelines and saying that it's this or that.
    Personally I wouldn't fully agree with the statement of it not harming anyone, possibly not anyone else but for some it's can and does turn into an unhealthy obsession. To live for others approval and constantly looking for it leads one to only show the good things = more likes. This is the trend I see more and more rather than Rae's somewhat more honest approach.

    Best Gizmo article this year. I am sorry for all your heart ache you had to deal with. Don't forget to be awesome.

    Wow Rae! This is probably one of the best articles I've read on Gizmodo for quite a long time, and your point on depression is very poignant as I would imagine quite a few readers now (myself included) are also going to start looking at themselves in a new light... This article has helped to "humanise" the person behind your previous work which I think is also a good thing.

    Hi Rae

    I am going to put on my academic cap and see if I can reframe your project from a theoretical perspective.

    What you have done is chosen a structured genre in visual narrative and investigated uncertainties concerning its influence on subjectivities concerning self, identity, and socially determined negotiations. Engagement of an autoethnographic visual practice revealed the medium as an agent for self-actualization, identity construction, and identification of discursive social connections.

    (Yes I am procrastinating from thesis writing by reading Gizmodo right now.)

    Great stuff Rae, Very brave.
    Still don't quite understand my niece's need to take about 100 selfiess a day. But, the opportunity to present a real you made this an enthralling article.

    Question: Do you think you'll still take many selfies now that the project is over?

    There has to be a word for the hatred or annoyance of someone else just being themselves.
    Why do we get hung up about other peoples enjoyment? Its a pleasure to see that the author came to realise that everyone is just trying to get by in the short life we as humans live.

    Great piece. I had to question my own bias' toward cosplay when I kept getting annoyed by it for no particular reason, I'm not a fan but I can at least appreciate the effort and skill involved in it now. Hopefully we get more in depth articles like this in the future.

    Damn, I also wish I had known about this from the beginning of the project. Great read and great responses too (well, almost all).
    I used to think I was a narcissist but apparently it's not just thinking or knowing you're better than everyone or most.
    I personally do think I'm better at a lot of things than most (not all and not all things either) but I don't care for the need for admiration. I guess that makes me vain but I don't really care if anyone else thinks that, my opinion is what matters the most.
    And it's not that I don't have a lack of care or understanding of other people's feelings, choices, life etc... I accept that's what may work (or not) for them. Everyone is different.
    I don't often take selfies, there is maybe 15 at most out of my 340+ pics on insta that are selfies or just me in the pic (not necessarily taken by me).
    Most are not serious. Usually taking the piss, but I would say fun. They are pics that I think are funny.

    I have no idea how you took those selfies when those close to you passed away. My maternal grandparents both passed away within the last year. I mostly stayed away from social media for while when that happened or when it sunk in. I did post a pic of me with my grandfather from the 80's when he passed but still haven't posted anything about my grandmother or even her service (for lack of a better term), I don't feel like sharing that, it's too personal.

    Again, have to say, great read this article.

    I get made fun of all the time by friends because I take selfies. I love this article because it shows why it's important to not just sit and judge but to experience something yourself to understand it better.

    Sometimes it's about small things like hobbies or things you enjoy. I follow people on Instagram that also post selfies that are related to their hobbies, hair, makeup, clothes. I do the same. "Where'd you get that top? That lipstick? That hair color? I LOVE IT. Let's share. <3"

    Other times it's about topics more serious such as illness, loss or depression as you discussed. "You are not alone, I care, I know how you feel."

    Or documenting that moment in time to look back on later, like a visual diary. There's a selfie I took the day I got married right before the ceremony. I remember happy I was that day, how the air smelled, how the breeze felt, how wonderful it was to take my husband's hand that day in front of all our loved ones. I will always cherish my selfies with loved ones that passed away, and I remember what we did that day, what we talked about, how it felt. When I share those selfies, other people comment and share how they felt on similar days or how they felt with their losses. I comment on theirs. We celebrate for each other and we show support for each other for the not-so-happy stuff too.

    It may be the self, but when you take a closer look, you are completely right. It's all about connecting with other human beings.

      Have you tried just approaching random stranger in the street and making a 'connection with other human beings'? perhaps you could stop taking images of yourself, distancing yourself from the actual human race and embracing it?

      Maybe you might end up just connecting with SomeDorkKeepsStealingMyName, I thing he could do with a hug, but because he isn't taking images of himself all over the internet , he will never know. He expressed himself and because he didn't post a pretty picture to go with it all he got was hate. Selfies = BS.

        Have you tried just approaching random stranger in the street and making a 'connection with other human beings'?Implying she doesn't?

        perhaps you could stop taking images of yourself, distancing yourself from the actual human race and embracing it?What's your basis for this line of conjecture?

        Maybe you might end up just connecting with SomeDorkKeepsStealingMyNameHard pass.

        but because he isn't taking images of himself all over the internet , he will never know.Strawman, no one is claiming selfies are the only or even best means of connecting with other people, just a means.

        He expressed himself and because he didn't post a pretty picture to go with it all he got was hate. Selfies = BS.Rubbish, they criticised something they don't agree with then baselessly levelled ad hominem judgments at the author of the article, while simultaneously asserting that humans are inherently subjective about everything therefore no one has the right to an opinion. It was a crappy post, it wouldn't have mattered how pretty their face is.

    As a social commentary it is interesting, however, I am not overly convinced by the premise. You have a circle of friends that you have gone outside to share your selfies with... Joe Public... Why do this and, in the end, not quantify?
    I don't know if you have a statistical or analytical background, however, you have been presented with a longitudinal study opportunity and come out with feelings. Did you keep comments and categorize them in order to get something more than the feeling of a broadening of your own community? Did you track comments and see if tone changed over the journey positively or negatively? Your data source would appear to be incredibly rich yet no real analysis has been performed.
    On the flip side there is nothing more dispassionate than a set of rows and columns trying to quantify... the feeling of community. In the end have you self analyzed and gotten out of it what you wanted or thought you might? Do you feel peoples comments helped lessen the impact of a depression diagnosis (regardless of whether you posted about it or not)? Do you feel your engagement was more positive in down moments that negative. Did you feel your mood shift reading posts... positively or negatively.
    Chances are I am over analyzing, however, experiments like this can genuinely benefit more than just the subject. I would love to know more, however, accept that this was probably not the original intent when Rae commenced her experiment.
    In the end I hope it was a more positive than negative experiment.

    Like it or love it, this post seems to have generated more interest than a Trump themed dartboard. The story isn't to my taste in the slightest, but you can't argue how emotive the piece is to both lovers and haters. Well Done.

      read it again and substitute "trolling' for selfies..even more fun :D

    That was a good read. I couldn't have done it, I hate pictures of myself. They always turn out dumb, thanks in no small part to becoming totally self conscious once I'm made aware of the camera and having no idea what to do. So usually just ends up in a retarded blank stare. Though I especially dislike selfies, generally I'd opt for using a tripod and timer settings instead. The handheld ones are too hard to take :P

    I recently realised that I basically have no pictures of myself, actually. I had to try and find a picture to use for a thing, and found that I had to scroll back in my phone to something like April 2014 to find a normal picture - the few other pictures in the meantime were basically all of myself in some kind of costume. And the "normal" picture I had was a pair of blurry reference shots I took in the bathroom mirror to map out the helmet I was making for a costume, so it would fit around my head.

    The sharing thing I don't get either, the only stuff I go to share are stuff I saw or things I made that I specifically want to show to certain friends. The only stuff of me that makes it through is either if I'm wearing a thing that I want to show off, or the self-deprecating "hey look at this dumb thing I did" type.

    I dunno. Maybe I'm just old. What am I rambling about again?

    Great read Rae! Wow that was a heavy year but you made it :o) so congrats for not giving up the gutsy experiment when things got tough. Its changed my perceptions about 'narcissistic' selfies . May give it a go with a group first before I go solo and unlearn my preconceived ideas.

    "You must unlearn what you have learned, you will know good from bad when you are calm at peace, passive" Yoda. Your turn Cam?

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