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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'.


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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.
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      Oct 4 2013: Catherine....I don't think your insights will ever bore the nations....LOL

      Great observations!

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