Psychology of Selfies: A TEDxSyracuseUniversity Talk

My TEDx talk on the Psychology of Selfies has been posted! Check it out, share it with your friends. Tag your own #healthieselfie!

Check out more selfie psychology with the teaser posts leading up to the talk…

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Increasing Individualism in Youth Created Music Videos on YouTube (2007-2013)

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Congratulations to Steven Kendrat, a recent MA graduate from the TV, Radio, and Film Department at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University on having his masters thesis accepted at AEJMC in August!

Abstract

Since its launch in 2005, YouTube has provided a unique venue for anyone to share content and comment on the content of others, resulting in more user generated content (UGC), especially among teens. The current longitudinal trend study analyzes demographic, production, and narrative trends in the emerging genre of youth created music videos using a sample of 100 videos uploaded to YouTube in 2007 and 2013. Compared to videos posted in 2007, youth created music videos posted in 2013 featured younger and less diverse casts, and more complicated editing techniques; they were also more likely to feature single actors and celebrate the self, mimicking the recent emergence of “selfie culture.” These findings are discussed with respect to YouTube’s role in reducing barriers to entry and providing a virtual space for youth oriented content communities that thrive on engagement and social networking as strategies of identity development.

Kendrat, S.J., & Corsbie-Massay, C.L. Increasing Individualism in Youth Created Music Videos on YouTube (2007-2013). To Be Presented at Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) in San Francisco, CA; August, 2015.

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#TBTSelfie Part 4: Color of Selfie

Reposted from June 3, 2014: Inspired by a photo series entitled Humanœ, a “chromatic inventory… to record and catalog all possible human skin tones,” I decided to do my own quick pantone using an assortment of selfies. Click here to see all 25 shades.

I originally put this series together as an exploration of colorism, prejudice or discrimination against individuals based on skin tone, often within ethnic or racial group. Colorism runs deep and can affect all members of a group. For a great summary, see Dark Girls (2011) and Light Girls (2015). I also shared 8 Things Pale Latinas are Tired of Hearing and stories about Eva Longoria and Beyonce.

But I chose to explore how different photos of oneself can help unpack and question the stability of color. I pulled 25 of my favorite pictures (mostly selfies) and isolated the dominant skin color from the cheek. 25 pictures, 25 colors, a self-pantone. In doing so, my selfies contribute to a larger conversation about social and political issues. Selfies-as-Art.

How would you make your selfies into art? What emotions and observations would you want to convey across your work? Do that.

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#TBTSelfie Part 3: Caught in the Act

I love taking pictures of people taking pictures. And when people take pictures of me taking selfies. For me, it is a meta moment where I am capturing someone capturing another moment. This moment is just as valuable for the photographer as it is for the thing being photographed.

On that note, I also love getting caught in the selfie act. Although the narcissism of selfies is widely discussed, capturing someone in the selfie act allows us to observe the act itself, not just the outcome. The traditional selfie tropes (e.g., duckface, “sleeping” selfies, see others at knowyourmeme.com) are even more hilarious when the individual is caught in the process of such facial and bodily contortions.

The best photographs of photographers are candid. The selfies captured below were done so without my knowledge, thus demanding a greater understanding of the photo being taken. In the first selfie at Joshua Tree in 2011, I was excited about the scenery, the weather, and the overall trip. The second one, also captured in 2011, was just a quick duckface on a good hair day, but by capturing that seemingly narcissistic and gratuitous moment, the friend photographing my selfie reminds me that it is not a throwaway moment, but rather a great afternoon with friends that deserves just as much value and attention as a camping trip to a national park.

TEDxSyracuse University: Friday, April 17, 2015 at 5pm
Livestream Available at http://tedx.syr.edu/livestream.html

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#TBTSelfie Part 2: Sticker Pictures

I recently came across a bag full of sticker pictures from college c. 2001. The sticker picture was the first time that I had the opportunity for regular immediate photographic gratification; growing up, I didn’t have a Polaroid camera because the film was too expensive. So much of our selfie culture is based on im-media-cy; it is not about how we look, but rather how we look right now. The Kodak iZone made that opportunity available for cheap 1999.

I loved my sticker camera, and I had forgotten how much until I came across this bag of photos. I have a lot of hair selfies. In 1999, I cut off my hair instead of continuing to straighten it. Until then, I was generally unable to manage my own hair and I often left it up to my family members or hairstylists. In cutting off my hair, I learned how to take care of it inch by inch, and I was madly in love with my curl pattern.

TEDxSyracuse University: Friday, April 17, 2015 at 5pm
Livestream Available at http://tedx.syr.edu/livestream.html

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#TBTSelfie Part 1: My Earliest Selfie

Next month, I will be giving a TEDx talk at Syracuse University on the Psychology of Selfies. I’m sharing a throwback selfie each Thursday for the next 4 weeks leading up to that talk. Installment #1, my earliest selfie. Taken 20 years ago during freshman year of high school (1994-95), complete with bangs, scrunchie, and double chin.

I may have selfies from middle school, but this is the oldest that I could find. The selfie is often associated with our new media environment, where a camera is always available via smartphone, and the gratification of viewing, editing (including selecting which image and manipulating), and sharing the image is immediate; however, this environment only made the self-portrait easier to create and distribute.

My original selfies, much like Colin Powell’s (whose 60-year-old selfie I have tacked up in my office) were shot on film, and had to be sent away to be developed. Each image was more valuable due to higher cost and lower availability, so I held onto every print, even the ones that were unattractive or unflattering. These pictures were valuable to me. Raised as an only child, I captured my own emotions to share with myself; I would write letters to myself and occasionally send presents to myself from myself. In 2010, I pre-ordered an engraved iPod shuffle with the note, “You’re awesome.” It arrived 2 months later long after I had forgotten about it. Sometimes, I write thank you notes to my prior self for the things that she remembered and documented.

I’m certain that on the day I took this picture, I thought I looked good. I loved those bangs even though I had to blow out my corkscrew curls every morning. It was 1994, and I wanted to look like Alicia Silverstone. I’m sure if I search harder, I can find a selfie with a terrible cameo choker.

TEDxSyracuse University: Friday, April 17, 2015 at 5pm
Livestream Available at http://tedx.syr.edu/livestream.html

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