Constantly taking selfies and posting them on social media sites has become like a regular, modern-day re-enactment of Narcissus gazing at his reflection in a pool of water.
And for the most part, we’d agree that snapping photos of your face ad nauseum is one of the most annoying things a guy can do on social media. But it turns out there’s a selfie silver lining—and it’s one you probably didn’t see coming.
In the study, researchers followed two online forums, or “virtual support communities,” focused on weight loss. Ultimately, they found that when people shared photographic evidence of their progress with others committed to similar weight loss goals—regardless of whether that update was a success or a setback—the selfie-sharers were more likely to stay motivated and accountable.
“Sharing intimate information and photos about weight loss goals in virtual space is a key factor in motivating behaviors that fulfill that new, thinner identity, and thus helps people reach their goals,” said Sonya A. Grier, Ph.D., an author on the study. “Not everyone can get the support they need from the people they interact with in-person on a daily basis. It is helpful that technology can support community-building and goal-achievement in virtual spaces.”
But before you whip out your phone to nab a quick selfie the next time you hit the gym, remember that while it may be helpful when it comes to hitting your weight loss goals and boosting confidence, doing it in a douchey way can still be a huge turnoff to, y’know, pretty much everyone.