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When, Where and What Filter: A Guide to Selfies

You’re feeling your look. You take a selfie. And now you’re wondering if you should post it on social media. Here’s what you need to consider before you do.

When’s the last time you posted a selfie?

If you’ve posted a photo of yourself in the past four days already, you should pump the brakes and save any future selfies for a rainy day. Just like advertising content, frequency plays a large part in selfie performance. Too much in too little time can push your loyalest fans (e.g. Grandma) to the brink (e.g. hiding your posts, if she can find the damn button). To quote/butcher The Dark Knight: this may be the selfie Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.

However, like most rules, there are exceptions 1) If you worked hard on your Halloween costume, people should see it multiple times. 2) Your education probably resulted in many a student loans — the world owes you at least three graduation-related selfies. 3) Pictures with parents or grandparents are always cute. Always. Anyone who says otherwise is either jealous, an orphan or both.

Why are you posting this selfie?

You never need a real reason to post one, but a selfie bred from boredom is never half as fun as a selfie with purpose. Does your photo fall into one of the following scenarios:

  • You are having the best vacation ever, and you want to make your coworkers jealous.
  • You are skydiving for the first time, and you want to freak out your aunt.
  • You got hired at an awesome company, and you want to rub it in your old study buddy’s face.
  • You are seeing loved ones for the first time in a long time, and you want everyone to cry.
  • Your winged eyeliner is perfectly even for the first time ever, and you need proof.

If so, post away. If not, save that photo for when you can come up with a convincing lie for your caption.

Where will this selfie perform best?

Instagram is your best shot here. It’s already a photo-based platform and the least-judgy when it comes to selfies. Plus, do you realize how many selfie contests and giveaways are hosted on Instagram? You might as well get some free stuff while you’re at it.

There’s nothing wrong with posting a selfie on Facebook either, but you may have to mentally prepare yourself for when your high school math teacher likes it. If you do go the Zuckerberg route, I recommend posting selfies with friends — that way you’re actually participating within your network.

Your snapchat story is also an option. Whether you’re pouting or herp-derping, selfies are appreciated here. Fair warning though: your work of art will disappear after 24 hours. If you need more information on what the hell Snapchat is and how it works, visit Maggie’s blog here.

In my opinion, Twitter is by far the most out-of-place platform for selfies. It just seems wrong considering that many people only use it for news, live sports and niche humor (hi, @dril and @DoctorPug). Do you really want your beautiful face mashed between two AP tweets? Could be weird. Let’s avoid.

Do I really need to put this much thought into posting a picture of my face?

Long answer: Despite the very real impact social media has on society, these platforms are still outlets for fun and keeping up with old friends. These “rules” shouldn’t be followed unless you want to follow them. If you enjoy posting 50 selfies in a row, go for it, even if it breaks the heart of every selfie-hating Gen-Xer out there. If you only post selfies on Twitter, that’s your prerogative, you big weirdo. It’s your social presence, so you should do what makes you comfortable. And remember: no matter what anybody tells you, you’re not dumb or ruining America’s future by posting the occasional selfie.

Short answer: Hell no. It’s your face; do what you want with it. I’m just trying to get paid here.