Filter, lighting, angle and pose are just a few of the necessities needed taken into consideration when flashing your pearly whites, whitened professionally if I might add, for the perfect selfie. In this day and age, especially with the current generation, selfies are l-y-f-e. They can be taken at home, depending on which family members are home and if they’re going to judge you for standing on the couch with the blinds open so you get the perfect lighting or in the car (but not while you are driving!). Selfies can be taken at the Kenny Chesney concert that happened this past weekend, with the sunset on the beach during senior week (SWEEK), or even while you’re in Stats class, just hoping your model career will take off and you can quit with this “school thing.”

But who are we really posting the photos for? We crop, add backgrounds and frame our photos, all for who, are even what? Is it really just to show the world how happy we are, with our looks or lives, or to show what’s happening in our lives, in the hopes that someone notices or even just so that our out of town family can keep up with what adventure we currently are partaking in. But what if it is not for those reasons. What if the purpose of posting our almost professionally taken selfies are for the likes they will receive. Is the new currency, whether for self-esteem or status within society, come from your photo likes?

Don’t get me wrong, I am very guilty of posting a selfie, or any photo for that matter, and counting the hearts as they pop up on Insta. I get ecstatic when I see the names move from names to numbers, and when the number goes higher than my previous selfie, the one most likely taken in my dimly lit dorm room (no wonder the likes were low…). But since when did I stop posting just to show the world how my summer is going, or that my 11 minutes in between English classes are going well and that that bowl of popcorn on TGIT Scandal nights was thoroughly enjoyed? When did I stop posting just for me? Are we as a generation really so superficial that we depend on likes and shares to depict our self-worth? Who are the influencers leading us to make likes a currency?

Selena Gomez posts a picture of her eating a donut, and she gets 10.3 million likes.

Taylor Swift posts a picture of her cat, and she gets 2 million likes.

Kim Kardashian posts a pictures of her drinking milk, and she gets 774,000 likes.

While they’re celebrities, and getting into that realm of likes is unimaginable for the normal twenty-something female, it shows how even the simplest photo-ops can force their photographer into the spotlight. Are we living by the example we’re shown and sending out to the world every detail of our lives, even if not requested? Are likes really all we have to wish and strive for in this life?