FaceApp: a selfie filter in tune with our narcissistic times

Tim Dowling on FaceApp … ‘Offers two smile options, at least one of which is guaranteed to make you look like a git.’

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Luckily, I’ll never have to smile for a picture again, because now there’s an app for that. FaceApp uses “deep generative convolutional neural networks” to turn your frown upside down. It is meant to be more realistic than previous selfie filters, making subtle adjustments to the eyes and the rest of the face to produce a look of genuine merriment, instead of a cheese-hating grimace.

…Along with the smile facility, the app can also deploy those neural networks to make you younger or older. “Meet your future self,” is how the app puts it, as if such a reunion were somehow desirable. It’s never going to be good news, is it? In either case, the effectiveness of the transformation probably depends on your actual age. The youth option turned me into a 12-year-old, which is a bit further back than I think I’d want to go. The ageing button took me not forward in time, but backwards. It’s more or less how I looked in the mirror that morning.

This Is The Antidote For Digital Narcissism

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What’s sad is that for some people, the vacation didn’t happen and the charitable work doesn’t count unless it’s on social media. It has to be uploaded, seen and liked to matter.

What you seldom see are the routine parts of people’s lives. The boring stuff like reading email at work. Poring over spreadsheets and enduring conference calls. Doing the laundry and vacuuming. How boring!

People only portray the cool stuff. The coffee shop photos or selfies in the gym, where they’re showing up their sedentary friends. They share this stuff because it reflects well on them. They know it will garner lots of likes. And that makes them feel good.

People who post their fitness routine to Facebook have psychological problems, study claims

Facebook Fitness

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Researchers from the Brunel University in London have conducted a study as to why so many people share every workout on social media. The results are unflattering, to say the least.

…People who are always keen on documenting their gym activities (or every time you simply go for a good, old-fashioned run) tend to be narcissists. According to the researchers, the primary goal is to boast about how much time you invest in your looks. Apparently these status updates also earn more Facebook likes than other kinds of posts.

People who regularly take selfies ‘overestimate their own attractiveness’

Selfie fans regularly overestimate their attractiveness in their photos, the study found

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Posting a super-groomed selfie online could have the opposite effect to that intended, according to new research which found that selfie fans regularly overestimate their own attractiveness.

The study found that people who enjoy taking pictures of themselves rated themselves as more attractive than other people looking at their photos.

Observers also found selfie-takers less likeable as they appeared narcissistic, according to the researchers at the University of Toronto.

 

Me! Me! Me! Are we living through a narcissism epidemic?

It’s all about me …

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The damage narcissism brings can be quite amorphous and ill-defined. “Much of our distress,” MacDonald notes, “comes from a sense of disconnection. We have a narcissistic society where self-promotion and individuality seem to be essential, yet in our hearts that’s not what we want. We want to be part of a community, we want to be supported when we’re struggling, we want a sense of belonging. Being extraordinary is not a necessary component to being loved.”

The full-blown disorder is associated with harsh, critical parenting, but a mass rise in narcissistic traits is partly ascribed by MacDonald to lax and indulgent parenting: “[With] parents seeing their children as extensions of themselves – they want to be mates, the boundaries aren’t set – the child gets very confused: ‘You’re great, you’re terrific.’ Maybe we’re not, maybe we need to know we’re just ordinary.”

There is a context even broader than Twitter: a competitive culture in which asserting one’s difference, one’s specialness, is the bare minimum for being market-ready.