Love Your Facebook Selfies? No One Else Does

by Carrie Murphy

A new study from the UK says that, basically, everyone hates all those selfies you share on Facebook.

According to research from the University of Birmingham, the University of the West of England, the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University, the type (and frequency) of photos you upload to your Facebook account can actually influence your real world relationships, not just those stalking-from-afar-and-passive-aggressively-liking-wedding photos-of-women-you-went-to-high-school with relationships AHEM. The study, which had 508 participants, looked are different types of photographs, including those of self, friend, event, family, scene, object, and animal, as well as how each type affected different types of relationships such as relative, partner, close friend, colleague and a general friend. The participants reactions to the photos were measured on a scale of "support" and "intimacy."

The study found that excessive photo sharing, as well as sharing lots of photos of your self, doesn't seem to have a good effect on your relationships. Dr. David Houghton, one of the study's author's, said:

"This is because people, other than very close friends and relatives, don't seem to relate well to those who constantly share photos of themselves. 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."

Personally, I don't put selfies on Facebook because hello, that's what Instagram and tumblr are for. But the results of this study did sortakinda make me think a little differently about the types of photos I do share, since apparently photos of events can lead to a decrease in intimacy with a partner and sharing tons of photos of friends can negatively affect a friend relationship. That's not to say I'm going to nix the party photos because it might hurt the self-esteem of my friend who lives across the country, but it's interesting to see the increasing effects of social media on our psychology.

The researchers behind the study are exceedingly clear about the effects of selfies, though:

"Increased frequency of sharing photographs of the self, regardless of the type of target sharing the photographs, is related to a decrease in intimacy."

So, maybe think twice before you share that artfully-composed shot of your feet? Unless you're trying to alienate all your Facebook friends, that is. (Not always a bad idea, I'd argue, because do you really need to maintain a good relationship with that guy who's always posting links to stuff about the Illuminati? I THINK NOT.)