Self-obsession?

Justin Beiber, Miley Cyrus and Rhianna all do it, heck even the Mars Rover did it. Of course, what I'm talking about is posting selfies.

It seems as though selfies have come into their own. Sure, taking a photo of yourself using an outstretched arm has been around for decades, but it has really been perfected in this decade of Facebook, Twitter, and, probably the king of selfies, Instagram.

Last week, Time magazine posted their rankings of the Top Ten Selfie Capitals in the world. Now, when Time does a Top Ten Ranking on a Phenomenon, you know it's important - and the results may be surprising.

The study used a database of 400,000 images, tagged as selfies, that also had geographic coordinates. It found that the number one place in the world for producing selfies per capita is none other than Makati and Pasig, both within Metro Manila.

What? You were expecting London or New York?

Taking spots two to four on the list are more predictably Manhattan, Miami and Anaheim in the United States. One would assume that a list like this would be dominated by American cities, but coming in fifth for top selfie cities is Petaling Jaya, Malaysia!

Both the Philippines and Malaysia have two more entries in the top ten, with Cebu City and George Town taking the ninth and tenth spots respectively. Rounding out the list in spots six to eight are Tel Aviv, Israel, Manchester, United Kingdom and Milan, Italy.

What an eclectic list! Try to stump people by asking them what Manhattan, Milan, Cebu City and Petaling Jaya all have in common.

If this speaks of the popularity of social media, than clearly emerging markets like the Philippines and Malaysia are moving full steam ahead into this realm.

But what does posting selfies say about a city? Are selfies good or bad? Even the Oxford dictionary, which added the term in a massive act of validation for the phenomenon, then goes on to use its sample sentence as a way to pass judgement on it stating: "Occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself every day isn't necessary."

Psychology states that the selfie is self-empowering for the "regular person" - you don't need to be a celebrity to post a photo and get feedback and feel a little better about yourself on that day.

But, critics also state that posting photos of oneself, as if others are clamouring to see their images, could stoke narcissism and even cause obsessive behaviour. In other words, where the user is constantly posting pictures seeking validation to feel a greater sense of self-worth. And, it's dangerous when your sense of self-worth comes from the internet.

There is the feeling that unless you're famous, somehow you have no business to be so shamelessly self-promoting as to post selfies. However, there is also the argument that selfies are just another form of self-publishing, which has been on the rise since the advent of the Internet.

Youtube is basically a place to self-publish videos. Blog sites like Tumblr and microblogs like Twitter allow us to self-publish our opinions, ideas, sense of humour, and interact with the world. So why can't we self-publish photos of ourselves?

Like most things, you can't simply generalise about everything. Are selfies bad? In some forms, sure. When somebody is obsessively posting selfies of themselves with their lips pursed and chin down a la Victoria Beckham at any event she has ever attended, then yeah, that could be indicative of someone who is overly self-absorbed, attention-starved, or badly in need of validation from the world.

But, selfies have been compared to those photo booths we used to pile into to have a strip of pictures of ourselves taken while sticking out our tongues.

Those weren't seen as anything else but good harmless fun, and people used to paste those shots on their binders or in their wallets so other people could stumble upon them.

The best selfies have this quality to them. The fun, self-deprecating nature of the photo booth shot can provide a brief respite from our day to day reality. And maybe that's alright.

Are Petaling Jaya and George Town full of self-absorbed narcissists because they found themselves in the top ten selfie takers? I'd say it's either that, or they're cities where people like to have fun and don't take themselves too seriously.

Or, they're just the cities where people actually tag their selfies as selfies. Seriously, who does that?