As the Michaelmas term and 2014 draws to a close, we have been reposting the top 5 most popular blog posts from this year every day this week.

At number one, the years most popular blog post was this July report on the Selfie, a global phenomenon.

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The word selfie has recently been added to the the Oxford English Dictionary.

In this post, I explore some useful resources for studying the impact of  the selfie on modern society.

Who takes selfies?

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak and footballer Ji So Yun taking a selfie

  • In the UK,  There have been a recent YouGov poll on knowledge of selfies, and discussion of social situations where it is appropriate to take them.
  • Time Magazine recently released a fascinating ranking of cities where the most selfies are taken.
  • For more in depth research selfie City (from City University of New York) is investigating the number and types of selfies taken in 5 cities: New York, Sao Paulo, Berlin, Bangkok, and Moscow.
  • Other useful starting points for surveys on the impact of new media on social life include Pew Internet Project and the Oxford Internet Institute.
  • LSE staff and students can locate journal articles on Communication  & Mass Media Complete. This can be cross searched with SocIndex, if you select the choose databases option. Also useful is the ISI Web of Science.

Selfies and Psychology

Do selfies encourage self-centered behaviour? Try these resources:

  • In a 2013 study David Houghton et al found that the sharing of photographs on Facebook could harm social relationships.
  • Sociologist Ben Agger has warned of oversharing on social media. It is worth searching the site for links to other related studies.
  • Research conducted by Michael Stefanone, University at Buffalo examined the relationship between photosharing, facebook and self-esteem. Hear him discuss why some women post lots of photos.
  • Blog postings on Psychology Today have discussed the question of abuse.
  • Some feminists find the topic of selfies particularly controversial. Jezebel provoked a storm when it published an article calling selfies a ‘cry for help’. In response María Guido referred to them as empowering
  • As a result the #365 FeministSelfie group was set up to post pictures of ‘real beauty’ in women.
  • Cancer Research has also created a ‘no make-up selfie’ page to raise money. Although this too has attracted some criticism from blogs such as Feminist Current
  • LSE staff and students can search for articles using Psychinfo and ISI Web of Science.
  • A search on PubMed also finds references to articles on psychology, Facebook and mental health.
Heather Dawson

About Heather Dawson

Heather Dawson is an Academic Support Librarian based in the Academic Services Group where her main role is in Collection Development.