Digital Life
Amanda Pendolino
August 16, 2013

Study Says Too Many Facebook Selfies Will Hurt Your Relationships


Posting too many selfies to Facebook is annoying — and now there’s research to prove it!

A new study from the UK confirms what most of us already know: if you constantly take photos of yourself and post them on social media, you’re going to alienate people.

Researchers found too much photo sharing in general — in addition to excessive selfie sharing — makes most people like you less.

“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,” says lead author Dr. David Houghton of Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University.

“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.”

The study looked at different types of photos (self, friend, event, family, scene, object and animal) and how posting them affected different kinds of relationships (a relative, partner, close friend, colleague and a general Facebook friend). Then, 508 participants were asked about their level of “support” and “intimacy” for the photo poster.

Although your very close friends and relatives may like your selfies, study authors note that “Increased frequency of sharing photographs of the self, regardless of the type of target sharing the photographs, is related to a decrease in intimacy.”

It’s not surprising that people get annoyed by narcissistic selfies, which were found by one British poll to be the most popular form of social media photography. But because those close friends and relatives are clicking “like,” people are encouraged to keep posting them.  I’ve read elsewhere that selfies and food photos are the most “liked” photos on Instagram, despite how many complaints we hear about them. (If you want to discourage selfie posting, stop clicking “like!”)

On the other hand, if you love posting selfies but don’t want to harm your relationships, Annie Stammel  at HelloGiggles has a lot of good suggestions, like making your selfies funny and limiting yourself to one selfie per week.

You might also choose to share photos just on Instagram and not on Facebook. That way, only your Instagram followers (who are probably less annoyed by selfies than acquaintance-level Facebook users who don’t use Instagram) will see them.