AAAI Publications, Eleventh International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media

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Selfie-Presentation in Everyday Life: A Large-Scale Characterization of Selfie Contexts on Instagram
Julia Deeb-Swihart, Christopher Polack, Eric Gilbert, Irfan Essa

Last modified: 2017-05-03

Abstract


Carefully managing the presentation of self via technology is a core practice on all modern social media platforms. Recently, selfies have emerged as a new, pervasive genre of identity performance. In many ways unique, selfies bring us full-circle to Goffman — blending the online and offline selves together. In this paper, we take an empirical, Goffman-inspired look at the phenomenon of selfies. We report a large-scale, mixed-method analysis of the categories in which selfies appear on Instagram — an online community comprising over 400M people. Applying computer vision and network analysis techniques to 2.5M selfies, we present a typology of emergent selfie categories which represent emphasized identity statements. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first large-scale, empirical research on selfies. We conclude, contrary to common portrayals in the press, that selfies are really quite ordinary: they project identity signals such as wealth, health and physical attractiveness common to many online media, and to offline life.

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