Have you ever thought about selfie and selfieing? What does it really mean to take a selfie? Is it old? New? Old-new? Does it reflect narcissism? Loneliness? Self-esteem? Reflects nothing at all? Is it a big deal? Is it a harmless fun or dangerous obsession? Is it really worth the noise? I will be brainstorming about that in the following lines.
Well…no way to ignore it as a new word, fad or phenomenon, or to overlook what it is all about as selfieing has eventually become part of many people’s digital lives, be them celebrities or not. The Oxford English Dictionary in 2013 inducted “selfie” into its collection…and claimed the word was first coined by a drunk Australian on a web forum in 2002….a story that rings true. “Selfie” is now defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.”
But with due respect to Mr. Oxford and all other opinions…in selfies the arm and face or part of the face of the self-photographer is usually purposely placed in the picture, showing that they have no friends to take the picture…but still I don’t understand why using a ‘throwable’ camera that can automatically snap panoramically when at the top of the throw is not a selfie…and why putting the camera or cellphone on a tripod, or resting it on a table, and using a timer to take photos is not a selfie!!
Ok…is selfie old or new? It is an old thing…having been done millions of times over the years. But the difference is: the Internet and social media websites, in particular, have made it the talk of the town, the word of the year and on everyone’s radar. So, the selfie fad has started whenever and wherever, but nowadays has been growing a tail all over the cyberspace like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and MySpace…so excessively after selfieing had obviously – for some people – careened out of control.
Is selfie a bad or good thing? Selfie has the two sides just like any other thing. Some people are so wrapped up in themselves that they just take and share countless number of photos, which drive other people nuts. For me, I see some people are just like going around with a bullhorn announcing their private life to the world. They are sending photos, unaware they are rubbing people and friends the wrong way. But the bright side is that some other people take selfies in order to share the great experiences they have and inspire people with what they take pictures of.
Probably people – in a weak moment – tend to take and share selfies because they want to be appreciated and loved for who they are and the way they look like. Also possible they want to get a network of friends and contacts and build their power in life.
A family of selfie sticks…
Nowadays, chances are high to see a family on a trip with every member of them carrying their own “selfie stick”…just in case…something that reminds me of fishing with everyone carrying their own fishhook. Probably someday wives will be proudly talking about “selfie sticks” having been part of their marriage requirements!
Let figures speak…
A new study reveals that Brits are so selfie obsessed that the average woman spends an entire month of her life capturing her own face. But it isn’t a case of ‘I woke up like this’, with the study revealing that women spend a total of 753 hours taking, deleting, retaking and touching up their social media selfies to look picture perfect.
Selfiecity, a project analyzing photographic self-portraits that can be found on Instagram, examined 650 selfies out of a total pool of 120,000 from each of the following cities: New York, Moscow, Berlin, Bangkok, and Sao Paulo. In every city, selfies by women outnumbered those taken by men. In Bangkok, it was just 1.3 times more. Moscow was a different story with women generating 4.6 times more selfies than Russian men do. The average age of the selfie-taker was 23. Women tend to tilt their heads at a greater angle then men. Men over 30 upload more selfies of themselves on Instagram than women aged the same, according to Selfiecity.
Is selfie symptomatic of narcissism?
I feel like some people are so obsessed with themselves that they just can’t help taking and posting photos about themselves. It feels addictive. Too many selfies could be a sign of loneliness or narcissism.
However, I wouldn’t go to that extreme and say that selfie is always symptomatic of narcissism. But I still believe some people are crossing the lines into narcissism by sharing too many such photographic self-portraits online. So, there is a fine line, let’s say, between taking selfies just to be in touch, give your network an idea about what you are doing, inspire them and keep them up to date on the one hand, and taking meaningless selfies just to break into other people’s lives with a photo of your breakfast or new t-shirt.
I think we have to ask ourselves what is the true motive behind taking selfies and what we are doing this for. If it is a purely selfish motive and narcissistic, then it certainly will backfire on us. If we are looking for attention, we probably will be rejected. More selfies will make us less likeable.
Bottom line: “One day, Narcissus bowed to drink from a water fountain. Seeing his own face reflected on the water, he fell in love with it. Narcissus was so attracted to his own image that he frequently returned to the water fountain to contemplate himself. Seeing himself on the water, he tried to embrace his own image and drowned in the attempt.”