Photo sharing is the publishing or transfer of a user’s digital photos online, thus enabling the user to share them with others (publicly or privately). This function is provided through both websites and applications that facilitate the upload and display of images. The term can also be loosely applied to the use of online photo galleries that are set up and managed by individual users, including photoblogs. Sharing means that other users can view but not necessarily download the photos, users being able to select different copyright options. The first photo sharing sites originated during the mid to late 1990s primarily from “services providing online ordering of prints (photo finishing)”, but many more came into being during the early 2000s with the goal of “providing permanent and centralized access to a user’s photos”. Webshots, Yahoo! Photos and Flickr were among the first. (Warren, 2002)
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A selfie is a picture that people taken of themselves that would be uploaded to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other sort of social networking website. Since nineteen century, self-portraiture had been so popular. But it is hard for the lower class to get a self-portraiture. High quality built-in cameras in smartphones and picture-enhancing apps which is easily to access are making “selfies” a common form of self-expression among social network users nowadays. (Hourihan, 2002)
MySpace has received a significant amount of negative attention from the media and many concerned adults, who point to several isolated incidents where predators have contacted, become involved with and even assaulted adolescents whom they met through the popular social networking web site. Furthermore, concerned parents have expressed discontent with the amount and type of personal and private information youth seem to reveal on their profile pages. In 2006, the authors performed an extensive content analysis of approximately 2423 randomly sampled adolescent MySpace profiles, and found that the vast majority of youth were making responsible choices with the information they shared online. In this follow-up study, the authors revisited the profiles one year later to examine the extent to which the content had changed. Though exceptions occur, youth are increasingly exercising discretion in posting personal information on MySpace and more youth are limiting access to their profile. Moreover, a significant number of youth appear to be abandoning their profiles or MySpace altogether. (Krishnamurthy, 2002)
A recent national survey revealed that 51% of 600 Facebook users are more conscious about their body image after viewing pictures on the social network fuelling fears that social media can negatively affect users’ self-esteem. According to Doctor Harry Brandt (2012), claims that ‘Facebook is making it easier for people to spend more time and energy criticizing their own bodies and wishing they looked like someone else.’ Facebook allows us to view our friends’ pictures and statuses, but this can lead to some of us making unhealthy comparisons between ourselves and others on Facebook. In fact, just over half of the 600 Facebook users surveyed agree that they compare their life to that of their friends when they read status updates and see pictures posted. Doctor Harry Brandt also states that with “constant access to the internet it is difficult for people to remove themselves from images and other triggers that lower self-esteem.” People make comparisons between themselves and others offline but online we are continually exposed to these images. It probably doesn’t help that research shows Facebook users usually post and tag photos of themselves at their best body shape and clothes. The risk is that Facebook is creating an avenue for individuals to compare themselves to others in a detrimental fashion and by doing so poses a serious threat to their user’s self-esteem.
Social network plays a large part in our everyday lives for the majority. the survey showed that 80% of the 600 people surveyed log into Facebook at least once a day. Those who use Facebook frequently are constantly surrounded by images and statuses which could lower their self-esteem. In another study the University of Houston found that there was a link between the amount of time college students spent on Facebook and depressive symptoms.
It’s not just the amount of time that we spend on using social media that can have an effect on our self-esteem, the number of friends we have on Social media could also have an impact. According to Psychologist Mudra India Muskesh (2000) you should have no more than 354 friends on Facebook. In Mukesh’s study those who had just viewed status updates gave themselves lower ratings and those with over 354 friends felt more inadequate in comparison to those with less friends. Is having more friends on Facebook allows people to make more comparisons between themselves and others? Mukesh states that being continually informed of other’s achievements can make people feel worse about themselves.
The above research has shown that using social networks can affect our self-esteem and suggests there’s a correlative relationship. Nevertheless, it isn’t clear if social networks are creating new self-esteem issues or exacerbating existing ones.
Food blogging typically represents a complex interweaving of “foodie” or gourmet interest in cooking, blog writing and photography. Most food blogs use photos taken by the author and some accounts of food blogging seem to focus on photography in particular: “Food bloggers tend to write about travel and restaurants as well as publish domestic food diaries and their own recipes (Robinson, 2009).”
Some also write cook book reviews. Thus multiple aspects of consumer culture are reflected in writing that draws also on genres from the professional media such as cookery writing, restaurant and book reviewing and travel writing. “Food blogging, like mews blogging, seems to reflect a shift from media consumption to production.” (DeSolier, 2006)
Food blogging is part of a wider growth in forms of writing about food (Brien, 2007), a topic that can be the “locus of personal, physical and emotional matters, including concerns about health, well-being and self-esteem” and can also engage with global concerns around environmental issues and community building (Brien, 2007). However, much blogging about food specifically reflects “foodie” culture (Watson et al., 2008). Foodies focus on the aesthetic and the sensual appreciation of food as a form of claim to cultural distinction (De Solier, 2006). Thus Watson et al.’s (2008) analysis of one food blog sees it as part of the blogger’s search for personal significance and identity through “skilled consumption” experiences, shared with a “community of consumption”, other bloggers. Stebbins’ (2009) recent work has argued that :
Consumption and leisure have “common ground” but are “separate worlds”, here the two merge. Complex, sustained practices around inventing recipes, making food, appreciating the results, writing about food, and taking pictures combine consumer consumption (food, internet use) and a serious leisure pursuit.
In Grant McCracken’s (1988) terms, “photos can be a tool for displacing meanings that are too fragile and tenuous to be contained in the here and now”. By instead claiming these identity statements in the there and then of the tourist’s travels, they become less subject to interrogation and less demanding of verification. Research also find that, despite the narrative that the tourist photographer imagines delivering at some future time, these tales “wind up being more internal tales told to the self than ever finding an audience outside of the immediate family”.
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Our tourist photos are “nevertheless selectively taken and retained with an intended audience in mind and are a conscious attempt to manipulate our self-image” (Crang, 1999). E-mailed photos as well as photo sharing sites like Flickr and social networking sites, blogs, and web pages may have some greater success in reaching an audience (Schau and Gilly, 2003), and a few of us may also bring selected images to our workplace (Tian and Belk, 2005). According to Rodzvilla (2002) :
The fact remains that with the ease of taking photos and the sense of purpose that it gives us to photograph our touristic sights, not to mention the escalating proliferation of photos that result, most of the world will little note, long remember, nor even encounter the self productions we have in mind when we record these images. And as these images become more numerous and more ephemeral in their digital forms, it may well be that we ourselves will never see them again either.