The impact of Social Selfies on Narcissism and Self-Esteem
Photo sharing has become a salient part of the online experience due to the increasing popularity of social media. Given the theoretical rationale on social media behaviour as a predictor of personality, the main aim of the current study is to investigate the effects of the new social phenomenon known as selfie-posting, across self-esteem and narcissism. In addition, this study will investigate if there is a significant relationship between the participant’s total narcissism and self-esteem scores.
Posting photos on social media has become a central part of the online social experience. Moreover, these platforms provide users with the opportunity to construct an ideal identity and customise their self-presentation. Previous research has indicated that posting selfies may act as a means of strategic self-presentation through the self-selection and editing of photos. Research suggests that frequent enagement in selfie-posting social media may reinforce narcissistic tendencies. Since one of the main advantages of social media is the opportunity for self-promotion, posting selfies allows narcissists a novel opportunity to project a positive self-image and create an idealistic lifestyle. Social media engagement provides a platform for self- promotion, where users can self-select content in order to project their ideal self, therefore enhancing one’s self-esteem. As this new individualistic form of social media engagement has been largely unexplored, the present study aims to examine the act of posting selfies and the impact on certain individual differences. This study used an online-administered survey. Convenience sampling was used to recruit participants (N=148) with ages ranging from 18-54 years. The independent variable in this study was the number of selfies posted on social networking sites each month, which were divided into three independent groups: low selfie group (0-15), moderate selfie group (16-32) and a high selfie group (33-48). The first dependent variable was the participant’s narcissism scores, assessed using the Narcissistic Personality Inventory-16 (NPI-16). The second dependent variable was self-esteem, measured by Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale. Participants completed a set of demographic questions including age, gender, selfie-posting frequency, the main motivation for posting selfies online and the likelihood of a selfie being deleted if it did not reach a certain amount of social media “likes”.
A one-way between-groups analysis of variance was conducted to investigate the effect of posting selfies on participant’s self-esteem. A significant difference was indicated in self-esteem scores between the three levels of selfie-posting (low, moderate and high). Another ANOVA was conducted to explore the impact of posting selfies on narcissism. Selfie-posting was not found to have a significant effect on narcissism scores. A Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient indicated a moderate positive correlation between narcissism and self-esteem. The findings of this research indicated that the main motivations for posting selfies on social media was the due to inherent opportunity to receive positive feedback from other SNS users through the means of “likes” and comments.