GetYou Uses Selfies to Combat Stereotyping, but Will it Backfire?

Asking users to upload selfies specifically for the purpose of being judged by others might lead to undesirable consequences.



Tel Aviv-based GetYou is a social feedback platform with a new approach to social input that lets users discover how they are perceived by others. The platform launched in beta Tuesday on both iOS and Android.

GetYou’s mobile game app uses semi-anonymous feedback mechanisms to determine gaps in first impressions. Users are presented with photos of other members and asked to answer questions pertaining to age, occupation, personality traits etc. Results are then analyzed and users discover how others perceive them.

In this game, appearances are everything. Users are judged solely on their photos, however, judgements are compiled into an “Intuition Score.” Those who judge inaccurately are given information about how they may have used stereotyping to arrive at biased conclusions, which GetYou says is the game’s ultimate goal — “by helping us see how others may falsely judge us, as well as showing us how we too can jump to misinformed conclusions.”

While on its surface the goal appears worthy, asking users to upload selfies specifically for the purpose of having them judged by others could lead to undesirable outcomes. Science has linked selfies to narcissism, addiction and low self esteem.

According to Time, psychiatrists are beginning to consider the compulsion to take selfies as a serious mental health problem. Selfie addiction is a new pathology, often related to past bullying and esteem issues.

“Selfies frequently trigger perceptions of self-indulgence or attention-seeking social dependence that raises the damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t spectre of either narcissism or very low self-esteem,” said Pamela Rutledge in Psychology Today.

Selfies represent a psychological shift in in self-portraiture. “There’s a continuum of health and authenticity in what you shoot and post,” says clinical psychologist Lucie Hemmen.

“A secure, mature person is going to post selfies that are spontaneous and not overly engineered or edited, and they’re going to do it less often. A more insecure person is going to post staged or sexualized photos, and they’re going to do it so much that they become consumed by it and the comments they receive.”

GetYou’s CEO Orit Mossinson said in a press release:

GetYou wants to make the world a better place by fixing the judgmental, wrong first impression crisis in a fun way. We are all guilty of making assumptions about people, based on first impressions. This crisis of false judgment is exactly what we are going to fix with our engaging, interactive game, the first application of our social feedback technology.

But GetYou — as a catalyst for comment consumption — may push young people dangerously close to the unhealthy and less authentic side of the psychological continuum. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 91 percent of teens have posted a photo of themselves online.

“If a young girl poses provocatively and gets 300 likes for that photo, that’s false self-esteem for that kid,” says Hemmen. “Selfies can be fun and give people a burst of satisfaction in the moment, but we still want to encourage people to have authentic identities in real time and with real people.”

In an email to SocialTimes, Mossinson said, “The underlying premise for GetYou is about how people can use the app to help better understand how people really are, as opposed to how they are perceived on Facebook and other social networks.”

GetYou does not enable people to leave any negative or harmful feedback on any user’s profile.  As for the concern of people using GetYou in harmful or compulsive fashion, the images that pop up in the app are actually utilized to show people that they cannot judge or guess based on image alone. Once a user plays a card, they are then provided with the accurate details about the person. Furthermore, GetYou provides users with the opportunity to interact and engage, increasing understanding and cross-cultural communication, so once a bridge is made, it is more about connecting rather than using the app to over craft an image.

GetYou has received $1.1 million in funding by angel investors such as Wix founder Avishai Abrahami and venture capital firm RDSeed.