This probably comes as no surprise, but “selfie” was the Word of the Year in 2013 according to the Oxford English Dictionary. A selfie is defined as “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”.
Lately, as a part of working on branding, I take a glimpse at client Facebook images and what they reveal about that person. I find that people don’t really think about how they may come across to others on social media, sometimes at their own expense.
Your employer, your customers, interviewers and even your friends are looking at your pictures and making their own assessments. Have you thought about what they would see and think about you?
There are a lot of people out there who are genuinely obsessed with taking photos of themselves. Hundreds of selfies a day obsessed. I am not talking about that level of selfie taking. These people have problems bigger than branding. This degree of selfie taking has been linked to Narcissism and to Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
A study from researchers at Birmingham Business School on the effects of sharing photos of yourself on Facebook found that people who have higher than normal rates of self sharing had less intimacy in their real lives.
In a recent statement, lead researcher on this study, Dr. David Houghton said:
It’s worth remembering that the information we post to our ‘friends’ on Facebook, actually gets viewed by lots of different categories of people: partners; friends; family; colleagues and acquaintances; and each group seems to take a different view of the information shared.
People, other than very close friends and relatives, don’t seem to relate well to those who constantly share photos of themselves,
Not all selfie taking is bad. I’ll admit that I occasionally indulge, and I like to see selfies of others. Big brands are now using the selfie phenomenon successfully. In January 2013, about 13 brands on Facebook put the selfie front and center with selfie contests and by December of that year there were more than 207.
On Twitter, selfie contests grew from 252 to 781 during that same period. So, I am not saying to completely stop with the selfies. They are here to stay and can be fun.
I suggest you take a look at your Facebook and Instagram images as a whole, and assess what those images tell someone about what is important in your life. Is who you are reflected in those images? Do the images paint the picture of you that you want people to see?
You should go through your photos and cull them to reflect how you want people to see you. Sometimes all you need to do is to add other types of images that show a more well-rounded picture of yourself, and the breadth of your activities.
It is easy to get stuck on posting one type of picture. A full dose of pics of your new baby or on the other end of the spectrum, of you at parties, may be what’s front and center in your life but hopefully it is not the only thing you have going on.
What are your recommendations for a brand image upgrade?