Love them or hate them, selfies are a part of our daily existence, thanks to the Internet era. And while many people write off selfie-taking as a narcissistic activity, it turns out these pictures mean a lot more than just meets the eye. And according to new research, there’s actually three major reasons why people post photos of themselves.
Thanks to #science (and researchers at Brigham Young University), three main archetypes of selfie-takers have been determined, and they have wildly different reasons for posting them.
Brigham Young University published an entire study about selfies in Visual Communication Quarterly that describe these three distinct types of people — communicators, autobiographers, and self-publicists. BYU says that the research “employed a Q-method analysis to quantitatively and qualitatively identify what archetypal motivations exist among individuals who take and share selfies.”
What does that mean exactly? Basically, 46 participants arranged statements about why a person would take selfies to reflect their own actions.
Now, on to the archetypes:
This first group uses selfies as a way to interact with their followers. The study cites Shonda Rhimes wearing her “I voted” sticker as an example. Communicators like to encourage dialogue and have a discussion with their social media contacts.
The second group is all about social media as a means of documentation. This group posts pictures of themselves as a way of keeping track of cool stuff that they’ve been up to. But they’re not really concerned with others’ feedback or interpretation. We thought Rihanna’s IDGAF attitude (and no-caption snaps) were a perfect example of this.
Finally, you have people who take selfies to share their everyday lives. Members of this group include celebs like Kylie Jenner and Taylor Swift, who use social media to project a positive narrative of their lives. These selfie-takers care very much how people respond to their pictures, because who doesn’t?
All of these sound a lot better than the dismissive “narcissist” claim we often hear applied to selfie-takers. So, do you fall into one of these selfie-taking categories?