Informations and abstract
Keywords: Selfie, Identity, New media, Media education.
The study presented in this paper explored the range of motivations of selfie taking and sharing, with a specific attention to the processes of identity work and representation. A survey involved a sample of students of the University of Bari (aged 18-35, N=566). Biographical memory, self-expression and amusement are the main motivations arising from the survey, respectively associated with the identity functions of remembering, self-representation and playing. Based on the survey results and a theoretical framework on identity work and new media, the article explores possible directions for research and educational practice, with an effort to focus strengths and weakness of selfie as a symbolic resource in the identity process. Selfies can play a role in identity exploration. A selfie inspires its author to reflect on the own self and his/her relationship with places and experiences as identity markers. At the same time, a selfie is a looking-glass capturing social reactions from a range of possible publics. However, the survey also highlights some educational limits of the selfie since it seems mainly an autarchic and self-referential form of communication, with uncertain effects on the development of dialogic identities, and the tendency to reproduce gender stereotypes on the digital space.