The vast majority of selfies posted online are uploaded by women, and just one in 10 of all selfies show signs of outright narcissism, a new study has found.
The Australian National University study, published in the European Journal of Marketing, analysed 5000 selfies posted on social media website Instagram, showing 75 per cent were posted by women.
Some 35 per cent of all the selfies analysed were "autobiographical", or images depicting a person's life – from the weekly grocery shop to big occasions such as weddings and graduations.
Study co-authors Dr Toni Eagar and Dr Stephen Dann said they also found users were mimicking business marketing practices to build their profile.
"These are people selling a view of their lifestyle or themselves, and the currency of the transaction is likes and follows," Dr Eagar said.
"The aim is to build an audience and establish a type of fame or admiration on social media," Dr Eagar said.
Dr Eagar said some Instagram users were running their accounts like a "commercial exchange" advertising themselves.
"It was very deliberate, they had plans and they clearly had ambitions," she said.
For those users, the goal was often to attract companies looking to promote their products, following a wider marketing trend moving away from celebrities to "social media influencers".
While claims of narcissism are often levelled at prolific users, Dr Eagar said nine out of 10 selfies posted were not intended for self-promotion.
"There were a lot more selfies aimed at friends and family than there were trying to gain an audience," she said.
"It's neither narcissism nor self-empowerment. People are using selfies as a tool as part of their everyday life."
The study identified seven distinct genres of selfies: the autobiographical selfie, the romance selfie, the parody selfie, the propaganda selfie, the coffee table selfie, the self-help selfie and the travel diary selfie.
Of those, the autobiographical selfie represented 35 per cent of all selfies analysed, followed by romance at 21 per cent, parody at 12 per cent, propaganda at 11 per cent, coffee table selfie at 9 per cent, self-help at 7 per cent and travel diary at 6 per cent.
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