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. Overwhelmingly, the more someone posted selfies, the lower they ranked on the intimacy scales of the participants.
“People, other than very close friends and relatives, don’t seem to relate well to those who constantly share photos of themselves,” said Dr. David Houghton, a professor at Birmingham Business School and lead author of the paper, said in a statement. “It’s worth remembering that the information we post to our ‘friends’ on Facebook, actually gets viewed by lots of different categories of people: partners; friends; family; colleagues and acquaintances; and each group seems to take a different view of the information shared.”
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.
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