Living in a ‘Selfies’ World: Can it hurt your relationship?

selfiesWith the popularity of better SmartPhones, the prevalence of ‘Selfies’ has permeated the Internet and is often a top trending topic on Instagram and Twitter.

Just take a look at your Facebook page. Between puckered lipped photos, to bikini shots and goofy photos with celebrities or food, we’re now living in a selfies world.

But how do these on-the-fly digital self-portraits affect your relationships?

A new study from the University of Birmingham in the U.K. shows data that sharing photos online, might hurt your relationship offline.

In an interview with New York Daily News, I spoke with Health and Lifestyle Reporter Tracy Miller about the study, Tagger’s Delight? Disclosure and liking in Facebook: The effects of sharing photographs amongst multiple known social circles.

In this article, I was asked about my netiquette tips as it affects relationships and was quoted as saying:

Thanks to better phone technology, selfie-sharing isn’t likely to go away, said Julie Spira, a cyber etiquette expert who was not involved in the research.

“It is narcissistic, but it’s becoming acceptable,” said Spira, author of “Rules of Netiquette.” “The President’s daughter posted a selfie from the inauguration, so why shouldn’t you post from your high school or college graduation?”

“If you’re posting more than three times a day on Facebook, you’re going to irritate people,” Spira said, adding that the rule can stretch a bit on other platforms like Twitter and Instagram. “If one friend is hogging your entire feed, you might unfriend that person because that’s not why you joined.”

Some key findings of the report showed:

  • Family members and close friends don’t relate well to those who constantly post photos of themselves and at events.
  • Partners sharing more photographs of family members had a positive impact on their family relationships.
  • People other than close friends and relatives don’t seem to relate well to those who constantly share photos of themselves

In a University of Birmingham release on the report, Dr. Ben Marder, a fellow in the marketing department at the University of Edinburgh Business School was quoted as saying, “My advice for people sharing photos or links with a fan site is think twice and share once. Be cautious when sharing and think how it will be perceived by all the others who may see it. Although sharing is a great way to better relationships, it can also damage them.”

Three tips for photo sharing that I shared with New York Daily News include:

  1. Don’t post bikini photos. Just because Rihanna does it, doesn’t mean your friends and family will appreciate yours. If you don’t think your parents, children or boss should see it, then don’t post it.
  2. Talk about social media with your partner. Make sure the two of you are on the same digital page. Women generally post more often than men. Remember that your photos may be accessible to your partner’s friends and family as well as yours, and that “harmless” pic of you planting a smooch on your BFF could easily be misinterpreted. Don’t let posting  your latest fun party cause a breakup or a digital bump in the road.
  3. Post important milestones. Engagment and wedding photos, getting a new puppy, and the birth of a baby are perfectly acceptable. Posting a picture of you yawning at the dinner table isn’t. If you have something truly amazing post away, because those are milestone events where people want to cheer you on.

Read the full article on the New York Daily News.

Do you enjoy seeing your friends’ selfies photos? How often do you post a selfie?

Julie Spira is a cyber-relations and netiquette expert. She’s the author of The Rules of Netiquette and The Perils of Cyber-Dating. For a list of acronyms from The Rules of Netiquette book that go beyond BFF, click here to download your free copy and follow @JulieSpira and @netiquetterules on Twitter.

Photo credit: © berc –

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