Selfies: Millennials Narcissism and The Generational Divide

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Selfies: Millennials Narcissism and The Generational Divide

Each year the Oxford English Dictionary adds new words; in the past decade, most of the new words have been related to technology. This year, the newest additions are words like “geekery” and “tweet.” In previous new word installments, new additions have included “cybercasting,” “cut-and-paste,” techno-junkie,” and “podcast.” Over the next few years, there will be one new technology-related word that the Oxford English Dictionary editors will be watching: selfies.

What the Heck are Selfies?

If you have never heard of a “selfie,” you are not alone. This is a word that truly belongs to the generation that is lovingly called the Millennials or Generation Y. This is the generation that includes people born between 1980 and 2000.

This is also the generation that does not know a world without computers, cable television, and mobile phones. This generation is also known as the most narcissistic generation ever to have existed on the planet; this is the generation that brought the “selfie” to life.

Selfie Pictures

A “selfie” is simply a picture that someone takes of himself or herself. While people have been drawing self-portraits or taking goofy self-portraits with cameras for many generations, the Millennials usually take many selfies in an incredibly short amount of time.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, /

The selfie is such a popular form of art for Millennials that the engineers at Apple put camera lenses on both sides of the iPhone 4 mobile phone so Millennials could have an easier time taking pictures of themselves.

Millennials and Narcissism

Selfies have appeared on practically every form of social media since the first mobile phone had a camera. Many Millennials will post image after image of themselves day after day after day.

Selfies in Social Media

They will often use the photos to ask their friends for fashion advice or to simply show how good looking they are.

The constant use of the selfie has perplexed people in the older generations. While Baby Boomers always thought that Generation X was selfish and narcissistic, the rise of the selfie in the Millennial generation has the Boomers shifting gears.

One of the most popular “selfies” in the last few weeks was the one taken by Hilary Clinton and her Millennial daughter, Chelsea. In most cases, when a Boomer or a Gen Xer ends up in a selfie, it is with a younger, Millennial.

The Fascination with the Self

Why the fascination with the selfie? Many Millennials use their selfies for apps like SnapChat where the users message pictures to each other while they chat. Millennials like to post their selfies because their friends will tell them how great they look, whether or not the encouragement is good.

And, if you are a narcissistic person, hearing how great you look only feeds on your narcissism. It’s like a case of the rich getting richer – the self-absorbed become more self-absorbed.

Man taking a selfies

According to the Telegraph, young British adults between 18-24 have reported that Millennials shoot so many selfies that they are now the most popular genre of photos on the Internet.
Image source: Jonathan Lopez

In fact, 30 per cent of the photos that this group take are selfies.

Final Thoughts

The sad part is that most people find selfies of other people to be extremely boring. They all tend to look exactly the same – pouting lips, a casually held camera, and an awkward stance. Many Millennials think that by placing innumerable selfies on their social media sites, they will be discovered and become the next Internet sensation like Justin Bieber.

Author and Editor Darren Wall aka Prepay

View all Darren / Prepay’s articles

Author: Darren Wall aka prepay is the founder and editor of this blog. With a background in coding, Hi-Fidelity and electronics, he loves all aspects of technology, but has chosen to write about his passion, which is new mobile communication technologies and related stories.

Featured Image courtesy of Ambro /

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