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A selfie (/ˈsɛlfi/) is a self-portrait digital photograph, typically taken with a digital camera or smartphone, which may be held in the hand or supported by a selfie stick. Selfies are often shared on social media, via social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.
They are often casual in nature (or made to appear casual). "Selfie" typically refers to self-portrait photos taken with the camera held at arm's length, as opposed to those taken by using a self-timer or remote. A selfie, however, may include multiple subjects. As long as the photo is being taken by one of the subjects featured, it is considered a selfie.
The appeal of selfies comes from how easy they are to create and share, and the control they give people over how they present themselves. Many selfies are intended to present a flattering image of the person, especially to friends whom the photographer expects to be supportive. Those selfies would be taken on trips, during activities that are considered interesting or as a group selfie with interesting or attractive people. However, a 2013 study of Facebook users found that posting photos of oneself correlates with lower levels of social support from and intimacy with Facebook friends (except for those marked as Close Friends). The lead author of the study suggests that "those who frequently post photographs on Facebook risk damaging real-life relationships." The photo messaging application Snapchat is also largely used to send selfies. Some users of Snapchat choose to send intentionally-unattractive selfies to their friends for comedic purposes.
Posting intentionally unattractive selfies has also become common in the early 2010s—in part for their humor value, but in some cases also to explore issues of body image or as a reaction against the perceived narcissism or over-sexualization of typical selfies.
The practice of taking selfies has been criticised not only for being narcissistic, preventing assessment and appreciation of what is happening in the present, but also for being mindlessly conformist behaviour, when everyone does what everyone else is doing, "like that scene in The Life of Brian – where the crowd gathers outside Brian's window and enthusiastically chants in unison: 'Yes, we're all individuals! ... Yes, we are all different!'" However, this has been disproved by more nuanced and detailed analyses of the genre.