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You will not believe the crazy things people have done for those extra likes on Instagram

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Andrey Retrovsky, a 17-year-old from Russia was a thrill-seeker who loved scaling buildings and balancing on ledges


In October 2015, a teenage boy had decided to climb to the top of a building with his friend. As a series of unfortunate events unfolded, Retrovsky lost his footing and plunged nine stories to the ground. Local media outlets reported he died from extensive injuries two hours later while being treated at the hospital, breaking the heart of all his friends and family.

This isn't just a story of a teenage boy who tragically lost his life for the sake of an adrenaline rush. As hard as it is to believe, Retrovsky put himself in a death-defying situation to capture the moment on camera to share on Instagram. This phenomenon has grown so exponentially that it has become a worldwide hobby with many contributers. When it comes to putting yourself in extreme situations, it's to no one's surprise that fatal accidents may occur. There has also been a story in Dubai, where a Lamborghini went up in flames as the driver revved it's engine for a picture. I guess no one reminded him that a picture cant capture the sound of his luxurious car.

Did you know the death toll for selfies in 2015 is higher than that of shark attacks? It turns out people will go to great lengths, risking their life and limb, to capture the perfect shot to share with their friends. Officials in Russia recently launched a campaign warning the dangers of selfies after a number of related injuries and deaths, including Retrovsky's.

... So why do we put ourselves in such risky situations for a picture?

Experts says there are a number of factors. For starters, we have emerged into a society where images and visuals have become an increasing part of how people communicate. The increase in camera quality, and the easy accessibility of our smartphones motivates the average user to create and be creative. This is a good exmaple of a technological movement meeting up with the drive to connect socially and manage one's presentation.

People are always striving to appear in a manner that is presentable in the eye of their peers, and Instagram gives the everyday user a platform to fully express their lives in the most vibrant and aesthetically pleasing way. Rachel Rettner from LiveScience explains that "it's become accepted, and almost expected for people to share their life events with their peers." In a world where sharing is expected among every individual, it is almost impossible to avoid the pressure of constructing an extravagent life.

Also, we cannot forget that people naturally self-evaluate by comparing themselves to others. People have "the tendency to compete with otheres within social networking sites" says Eric T. K. Lim from National University of Singapore. The more our lives are exposed to the world via Instagram, the more we fuel our own competitive nature for attention and credibility. Nobody wants to admit it, but nobody wants to be outdone. Rooftoppers have raised the bar so high for themselves that they have started putting themselves in such consequential situations that can lead to the end of their own life.

Ever heard of that saying "pics or it didn't happen"? It is almost as if sharing is not a choice but is becoming an unwritten code of conduct within the realms of social media. Therefore, if you chose not to snap a single picture of your birthday celebration the other night, did you really grow a year older? If you go out clubbing one night with your girlfriends without posting any pictures to "prove" that you're there, your boyfriend has the right to think you're cheating on them... Right?

With all this said, it is important to recognize the risks of our competitive nature, especially because we are allowing our social media platforms to define who we are in the real world. Our peers are our motivation for many things, they even make us go out of our way to calibrate our personal profiles in response to their consensus. Although it is a nice feeling to get those extra likes or shares on Instagram, it is not a good enough reason to risk your life for it.

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