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Is Social Media making us more vain?


Article by Ceri Wheeldon

I was recently asked by a magazine if I could forward to them a photo of myself with my husband. They were working to a deadline. I was just returning from a meeting in London and had no access to any photos. ‘What about the photos you take on your phone to share on Facebook?’ they asked.

It was an interesting assumption. I didn’t have any photos of my husband and myself on my phone, to share on Facebook or otherwise, especially as I hate having my photograph taken, but it did get me thinking.

is social media making us vain image

With all the profiles we create on the various social media platforms – all of which seem to require a headshot ( I know- I’ve cheated and used a graphic on mine!), we are having to post images of ourselves more and more often. We seem to need photos for everything – twitter, Facebook, Linked-in, author bios for blog posts, the list goes. At one time the only occasions I used to have my photo taken would be on holiday or if at a wedding, but it seems that now everyone has a camera – especially with so many cameras being built into smart phones. Every lunch out with friends or family now seems to involve a photo-call. And now the latest trend is for ‘selfies’.

But is sharing on social media making us more vain?

Apparently many people having aesthetic procedures are now giving looking good on Facebook as one of the reasons for treatment –  a stronger jawline seems to be a popular request!

People seem to be more aware of their ‘best side’ and are keen to put this side forward when it comes to group photos. After all, nobody likes to see a ‘bad’ photo of themselves!

I ran a successful business for 20 years without the need to have my photo anywhere – if I were to start that same business today I would need to have my photo in numerous social media profiles and on a dedicated website. Not through vanity – but necessity.  But if I were publish photos alongside my professional profile of course I would want to see that I was shown in a flattering light.

What are your thoughts? As we increasingly share more images of ourselves- are we becoming more self-aware – or vain?

Image credit: freedigitalphotos

 

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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Comments

  1. alessandra

    September 4, 2013

    I detest the now widespread habit of taking pictures on the phone and post them on fb on every small occasion, a perfectly ordinary coffee in Costa, a trip on the traain, a little outing somewhre…I get so irritated and I resent having to say no, I don’t want another photo tsken, and sound like a spoil-sport to people I normally love to bitd! Why do they put me in that position? Ladies and gents, guess what, we don’t need to record every trivial event, albeit enjoyable, and post photogrt evidenc! 😉

  2. Jo Carroll

    September 7, 2013

    I agree with you, Ceri. It all feeds into the illusion that what we look like is more important than what we think or feel.

    And all those pictures of children – who have had no say about an image of them, standing in a puddle looking smug at the age of 2 – what will they say when these are paraded when they’re teenagers? And what will their 30-year old selves think of the person mooning at a camera after too much wine on holiday?

    And I’m with alessandra – there are many times when simply being somewhere is the point. We don’t need to record everything on camera just to prove it happened.

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