Why Do I Judge Some Selfies and Not Others?

It turns out that I judge some selfies as good and some as vain and annoying. Why?
Photo by Angela Franklin.

I am not a selfie-hater.

I know some people like to blame the selfie for all of our societal ills, declaring them vain acts of narcissistic image curation, designed to seek attention and make other people feel bad about themselves, but I think that's at least a little bit over the top. The only difference between a selfie with your friends at the beach and a picture of you and your friends at the beach is that you didn't take up some stranger's time to take the picture if it's a selfie.

Also, what's this obsession with whether people are trying to "get attention"? Who cares?!? Posting ANYTHING online is basically a plea for some kind of attention. You are posting it IN PUBLIC. For PEOPLE TO SEE. The point is to get attention of some kind, whether it's for your sense of humour, appearance, fun vacation, wokeness, life milestone, intelligence, or whatever.

If no one paid attention to what each other posted online then social media would cease to function. And then we would just go back to other ways of getting attention, writing letters to the editor or sending carrier pigeons or whatever.

AND YET.

I have come to realize that I judge people very inconsistently for their selfies.

Some selfies I see as nice and interesting and fun that are "just sharing their lives." They are great! I like seeing people's lives!

Others I immediately judge as attention-seeking, annoying, desperate pleas for compliments and/or likes.

Ummmm... what?

Honestly, that is just mean. And presumptuous. What makes me think I know the reasons behind people's selfies, and even if I did, didn't I just say that trying to get attention isn't so bad? Why is my brain such a jerk?

I have really tried to figure this out. Is it because I know that person to be more needy or insecure? Do I have reason to believe they are trying to manipulate for likes? Is there something materially different in the photos that triggers this response? The captions?

I have found no obvious answer to these questions. Do you have answers for me? How do you judge selfies? Or are you just a better person who doesn't do that?


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Comments

Russ said…
I think part of my judgement (that happens despite wishing to be my best possible self) comes from frequency or types of selfie posts? If a friend seems to be having a genuinely wonderful moment, I'm happy for them. If those genuinely happy moments are coming really often, it starts to feel a bit artificial. Lots of vague hashtags tend to irritate me too, but I think that's just because I don't tweet.