If you take a few minutes and look on our most popular social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you tend to see a lot of self portraits—people with new haircuts, people and their pets, people vamping, people eating, people looking right into the lens to give you their best face. It leads to the big question of our super-connected era: Does all this self-portrait sharing cause a lack of genuine connection online—or does it make it easier to interact with someone else?
In our digital world, we are ready and willing to share our daily lives without hesitation. It’s easy to go from snapping a shot to posting it on our various platforms. As an avid social media junkie, I post most of my photos on all my social media sites that I participate on and I have started to notice there may be a difference between real relationship-building and attention-getting antics. It seems the type of photo will determine the activity it receives. Some photos spark conversation, and some just get the most “likes.”
Over the course of a week, I posted several photos on my Instagram and Twitter. I chose two different approaches to the type of photos I shared—beauty portraits and day-in-the-life photos. Between the two types of posts, there was a huge difference in likes and comments. More people were willing to complement and like a photo that was posed displaying makeup or hair that I wore that day. The day-in-the-life photos were of things I saw while walking around or snapshots of me having fun with friends and family. The day-in-the-life photos got less likes and a lesser quantity of comments, but the engagement and quality of conversation was more valuable.
Does this mean that I should cater my posts to gain attention and traffic? I find myself in conflict—I want to please an audience but I also want to truly interact with friends old and new.
Perhaps the solution is a balance. Although we’re more likely to be more engaged with a shallow subject, it’s nice to see a mix of photos to get good sense of a person’s life.
In the end, I’ve learned two things about photo sharing—post whatever you want that makes you happy, and take everything with a grain of salt. This age may have desensitized us from enjoying human experiences, but then again, what’s so inhuman about wanting to connect and communicate? Don’t feel embarrassed about sharing a snapshot of your best friend’s cat wearing a sombrero—chances are someone is going to find it funny. So go ahead, share your photos and don’t be afraid to interact with other people—you’ll be glad you took the time to get to know them.