My iPhone contains the following social applications; Whatsapp, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Each application has been designed to validate my life. We are governed by our online behaviours, dictated by trends; the blur between reality and our online lifestyle is now smaller than ever.
More recently the art of taking ‘selfies’; a self-taken image usually on a Smartphone that is designed to represent the person in a more favourable light for social gratification has spread across social media. More worryingly selfies are now displayed on CV’s, LinkedIn profiles and online job boards. Even David Cameron has been getting in on the act, ushering Barrack Obama and Helle Thorning-Schmidt to practice their pouts as a reclusive Michelle Obama sits disbelieving that taking a selfie at the Mandela Memorial was the obvious thing to do.
How wise is taking a selfie? From a professional point of view it is much better to select a more discerning picture. Selfies are closely aligned to narcissistic traits. Researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor found in 2013 that college-aged and middle-aged adults who scored higher for certain narcissistic traits posted more frequently on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
The need to post self portraits in the hope of receiving positive feedback is typical of narcissistic behaviour. Whilst not every person posting the occasional selfie is to be considered narcissistic, in the eyes of the employer it is always prudent to ensure this is not a consideration.
As an employer clients will seek applicants who can demonstrate their awareness, self-belief and self-confidence. This is reflected through communication, professionalism, dress-code and choice of portrait, after all a picture says 1000 words.