Instagram was created for the sharing of photos. Hashtags were introduced to help find content. Likes showed appreciation for the post.
However, now we share images and use hashtags with the intention of gaining more likes. It is interesting that we put that much value on the opinion of strangers when constructing a sense of self. People who see your image online when searching through a tag don’t know you. And yet you value their “liking” your image. You question why some get less likes. You wonder why people didn’t like that one. Do you delete it?
Pamela Rutledge wrote an article for Psychology Today that say “selfies communicate a transitory message at a single moment in time. We are more concerned with “what’s going on” than the projection of identity.” However it is undeniable that the images that we chose to share online does project a type of identity. And people need to be aware of what identity they are portraying and the potential implications of that portrayed self.
But the people liking your image can only take you at face value, they only know and see that one image, at most the profile of images you have created. So why do they have the power in changing how we chose to construct our online identities?
NRP.org is running a series called New Boom all about millennials in America and one part of that series is “Millennials Rewrite The Census For A Better Sense Of Selfie“. Here National Public Radio called for people to send in selfies with a card, note or annotation that described them better or ore holistically than the data they would be reduced to in the consensus.
This project actively allows people to see how their selfies can define and redefine them. And it is really interesting to see what characteristics people chose to share about themselves when specifically asked. But without this project, without the captions or signs, what would this peoples’ online identity say about them? Would it be in line with what they chose to describe themselves as? Would it be in line with the constrictive consensus data? Or would it be another identity altogether?
I have even previously posted about creating identities on the internet and how we shape them for the specific platform we are on. (Don’t judge my past writing styles) emilyjward.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/authentic_self/. Rutledge for Psychology Today also says that “we don’t know how to think about selfies using our current mental models. We know what to do with pictures of babies, people holding trophies, or even those teens holding soccer balls smiling so proudly on the mantel.” But what do we do with selfies?
Make them into artworks apparently.