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There is a new kind of social networking culture. People are constantly taking photos and posting them online. WHY?

Through the use of smart phones and other technological devices, people have become obsessed with taking photos of virtually anything, accommodating the photo with a caption and posting it online for others to view. Sure, posting photos up online enables your family and friends to view some happy moments of the wedding you attended on the weekend, but when did posting a picture of a tissue box and captioning it with 'my best friend for today' become so mainstream? (The idea behind posting a tissue box is so that viewers get the idea that you're sick). Why is it that when my food is served at a restaurant, my friends feel the need to take a photo of my food (at the right angle), ask me which filter looks best, think for a very long time and determine what caption they would attach to the image and post it on a social networking medium such as facebook, instagram, etc? Then they would constantly update their pages to check who and how many people have 'liked' the post.

Also, why do people post up a photo of a loved one, caption it with a long sentimental greeting directed at the person (for example: happy birthday to my grandmother who means the world to me, you are my inspiration etc) but the loved one doesn't possess any sort of social networking account? It would make sense if the user inserted a caption along the lines of 'today is my grandmother's birthday, she is my inspiration etc' (this way the user would be showing appreciation for their loved one) but if the greeting is DIRECTED at the loved one and they don't have any sort of social networking, then why doesn't the user greet the person face to face or through a phone call?

This has become quite a popular activity amongst the younger generation. Can you relate to this activity and what do you think about it? I would like to know if there are any evidence-based theoretical explanations for such an activity. I am looking for an answer further than merely 'they want attention'.

  • Oct 7 2013: This culture of taking the photos and posting them online has been the trend recently in the social networks. Social networking content evolved from the plain text to the multimedia and the smartphones are being really smart and handy with a good camera in it making every one a photographer. This gave opportunity to new social networking sites like Tumbler and Pinterest to be part of the social networking.

    Who likes just a boring text... so people post the pictures which meant more than the words. Some post are given true meaning with picture itself and the pictures may tell more story than the plain text post. So it is the just the new blend of social networks

    But some are updating they status once in a while posting what they are doing and so on to make them interesting. Its human nature to be liked by others. Therefore, I think because of that they are posting such pictures for geting their fame on social networks. But they tend to forget that, overdoing is bad. Sometime you post(pictures, comments, status, tweets) whatever you like and nobody cares because you are just another kid in the block.

    So, we are looking at the different faced of the social networking today.

    Adma Maharjan, Community Manager at Simplify360(www.simplify360.com)
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    Oct 4 2013: I think there is a mix of reasons why this has taken off.. I can name a few:
    - culture of the celebrity (so I want to be a celebrity too, i.e. selfies);
    - general acceptance of blatantly open talk-shows (so that's why I think it's acceptable to share my feelings to thousands of "friends");
    - surge in reality TV (so I'm happy to share my privacy to the world);
    - breakdown of the traditional family unit through divorce, immigration, globalisation (so I want to share with my family even though they're 5 million miles away).

    There are other reasons I guess - deeper reasons but I won't go on and bore the nations!

    P.S I outline these characteristics thinking principally of teenagers although it is true some 20 or 30 somethings can be still "teenagers" in this regard.
    • Oct 4 2013: Catherine....I don't think your insights will ever bore the nations....LOL

      Great observations!
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    Lejan .

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    Oct 4 2013: Because new toys tend to be interesting at the beginning.
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    Oct 4 2013: I'd like to say some of them take photos of themselves is because they are narcissists. :)
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    Oct 6 2013: .

    "WHY?"
    It is means our instinct of symbiosis works.
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    Oct 6 2013: Do people really take photo's of their dinner? It must be a reaction from those chef reality shows. I find it embarrassing pulling my phone out in public. It's not because i think it's wrong it's just that it takes you out of the real moment of now and makes you inaccessible. Cut off.

    Do you think people are losing interest with reality? That their online projections are more real to them than their real life? Maybe it's a way of glamorizing themselves, mystifying? I stopped communicating with a lot of people so that when we do meet it's worth the experience which sounds horrible but the reconnection is like a long lost friend. I'm not against technology or it's uses and in this era it might sound weird not wanting to communicate but i found for me it has slowed me down nicely.
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    Oct 5 2013: It appears to me, In my observation, going from one social media like Facebook to another like TED, there are certain "intellectual" groups who want to condemn others for being "immature" and wasting time on social media that is not enriching in their opinion. Enrichment comes in many forms. I am "guilty" of posting pictures and comments as stated in the question. From my point of view, why my friends, family and I do this, is because we are sharing our lives with each other in a hurried world. We are not doing it for the general population and we keep our updates to ourselves in our group. I realize there are no doubt people who do it for other reasons, like those who have 1,500 "friends". But for us who only share with actual real friends it is a good way to share our lives.With the ease in which it is possible now with smartphones it is even pretty fun!
    I am not a youngster, and I know many older people who enjoy smartphones and social media. Done responsibly it is not something that anyone needs to get all twisted up about! Nothing is static or remains the same. Either join in or get left behind! :)
  • Oct 4 2013: I think some are using this to share pictures with friends and family but many are looking for their 15 minutes of fame which unfortunately sometimes becomes 15 minutes of infamy which lasts a lifetime. It could stop them from getting a job.
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      Oct 5 2013: I believe companies that do look into these profiles are looking for the perfect or closest to perfect character for the company as usual. The problem is the amount of competition and characters to select from and FEAR. Would you hire someone with opinions different from your very own, similar to your very own, or programmable to your very own? I believe society is on a path being afraid of showing who we really are, a bunch of fakes or cookie cutter molds (FEAR again, action-reaction). We are better than this. I disagree that many are looking for their 15 minutes of fame, though they may stumble upon it in this way but really 15 of fame on facewreck is a bit of an underachiever in my opinion if this is what they are seeking.
      • Oct 7 2013: Some kids trashed a house in NY 300 at a party and it was the vacation home of someone who was not there and none of the kids were supposed to be there or related to the owner. They posted pictures of them doing destructive things with their names.

        They are now being arrested for trespass, destruction of property, and in some cases grand larceny (stole a statue valued at 1200)
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    Oct 4 2013: They post pics as an indicator of their tech savvy, their hipness, and their conformity to current trends. Picture follows.
    • Oct 4 2013: I also think it's out of pure boredom!!!
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        Oct 5 2013: I think you are right. If a person is not engaged in the ongoing labor of meeting one's resposibilities to self; friends; family; school; or employer, boredom is a real threat. Bored people focus on things like showing-off their tech savvy, their hipness, and their conformity to current trends. Pictures follow.
        • Oct 5 2013: Yes indeed. I had also read where this could really backfire when the time comes to get a job. Many employers scan the internet for a digital footprint of the future employee.

          This whole "living my life online" trend ends up coming back and biting them in unmentionable places. :/
  • Oct 4 2013: You might enjoy reading this:

    http://www.mckendree.edu/academics/scholars/issue18/bicanic.htm

    and this:

    http://www.annarbor.com/news/university-of-michigan-study-finds-the-facebook-can-make-users-sad/

    In your OP you state: "It would make sense....." I think what makes sense to us older ones, does not necessarily make sense to the younger ones.
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    Oct 4 2013: One picture is worth one thousand words.
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      Oct 4 2013: This highly depends on the picture, as well as on the words, as well as on the observer ... way to many variables for any clear message ... :o)
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      Oct 4 2013: Valerie, have you looked at Lejan's avatar? A thousand words?
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        Oct 4 2013: I don't get it. Whats with my avatar?
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          Oct 4 2013: I think it's a great photo.
        • Oct 4 2013: Me too!!!
          Some people might be left speechless by it....therefore it would not reach the 1,000 words.....maybe that's what Ed meant......

          Take it as a compliment ;)
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          Oct 4 2013: Oh dear. I have overstepped my rights of comraderie by making an inappropriate reference to you personally without your permission. First I apologize Lejan for any confusion or discomfort my deed caused you. Second I think the expression on your face exudes confidence, mystery, and a non-threatening friendliness which could easily require a thousand words to fully flesh-out. Forgive me sir, it won't happen again.
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        Oct 4 2013: @ Fritzie

        Thank you for your support, Fritzie.

        Comments like these can be interpreted in several ways and as I am no English native, I just want to be sure how to take it. And although I have some ideas already, some of them do collide with my general expectation and may just be wrong. Thats all. But thanks again!
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        Oct 4 2013: @ Mary

        I just don't understand the meaning, the intention so to say, thats all.

        I am not easily offended, if this was your concern - hey, I just fired a whole broadside at
        Krisztián, so I have to take crossfire aimed at me just as well. Here I simply don't get the message and it would be helpful if I would. As I said ... way to many variables for any clear message ...

        ;o)
        • Oct 5 2013: I knew things would work out......Those of us who like to luxuriate in word play, sometimes might be misunderstood.

          Now the universe is in balance again......Yippeee!!
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        Lejan .

        • +1
        Oct 4 2013: My question became bigger than I expected, my apologies. Comraderie was the word I was seeking, although I have to admit, that you could add the remaining 933 words to make a thousand if they go as charming than those you've chosen ... :o)

        Comraderie to me does not mean to go easy on one another, as you may have noticed by now, so I am looking forward to be right at the center of your intellectual cross-hairs whenever you choose to, as I am here to learn, less for picnic.

        Thank you!
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          Oct 4 2013: Indeed the only proper basis for fellowship and comraderie is truth. Let us proceed.
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          Oct 5 2013: Learning is best at a picnic I believe. Imagine the ABCs without a song to go along with them. Have you found octopussy? :B

          The biggest difference in Facewreck and here is many of us here have two major things in common truth and learning.
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    Oct 4 2013: But I think taking photos of your daily life surprise and events could be a good memory to share with others.
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    Oct 4 2013: allogrooming is not a rational action
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      Oct 4 2013: Are you saying one animal grooming another member of its species is irrational? Or, are you saying no animal act can properly be classified as rational or irrational? Or are you saying something different from those two guesses? Oh just tell me what you mean, please.
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    Oct 4 2013: Ha! The human digital way of passing on what is being experienced at the very moment ...to feel as though they are a part of something, to show who they are for those that do not know them well (2-3 people maybe?) and want to know them? Everyone has different reasons I assume.

    So, ok you really care about your grandmother. Who doesn't care about their grandmother? See, I'm just like the rest of you! Com'on get creative and make it worth reading at least..."I called to tell her but she couldn't hear what I was saying or knew who I was, so I'm posting here to show her in the after life."
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      Oct 4 2013: Thanks for the laugh! I think your profile pic could be a good insight into this conversation... very revealing (even if it is of your teeth!!) ;)