Ahhh the humble selfie, for some it may just be a throw away image but for others it can build an empire. Behind every selfie there is a purpose, whether that showing the world how much you’re feeling your winged eyeliner today, or to display a product that you are totally not getting paid to promote.
I do suppose that I should begin by explaining to the uninitiated exactly what a selfie is (although if you are able to read this blog post it means that you’re on the internet, and if you’re on the internet it is an almost certainty that you have seen a selfie). A selfie is a photograph that you have taken of yourself, a self-portrait for lack of a better term.
The selfie has become somewhat of an icon of the current media age, with approximately 17 million self-snaps being uploaded each day. But… why? What is it about the selfie that has social media users constantly uploading them?
I can understand uploading a shot of yourself after something has changed, or there is a new aspect of yourself to reflect on (be it a haircut or new make-up technique). But it’s the people who always upload the same type of selfie that have me confused. I catch myself thinking, “Come on man, we know what you look like already… for the 20th time this week.” And I guess it is here that the negative stigma attached to selfie culture is born. The belief that selfies = narcissism is one that I would say is held by many, and it’s easy to see why.
Type selfie into google, or read some of the other blog posts from the BCM310 subject who are speaking about this topic and you’ll find that one name reigns supreme. Kim Kardashian(-West). The queen of social media, and general self-promotion. Only to be rivalled by her sisters. She even released a book titled ‘Selfish’. But why does Kimmy K consistently post her self-portraits? Power. Social media relevancy and influence equate to great power, and our constant viewing of her face means that she always has our attention.
People take great care in their selfies. I have no doubt that many hours of hard work and dedication are put into werkin’ that front-facing camera. They are edited, sent to friends for approval, uploaded, taken down if the likes per hour number isn’t quite high enough, uploaded later, hash-tagged, shared, and bitched about. But everyone seems to do it so why all the stigmatism?
On a deeper and I guess more ‘meta’ level, we take selfies and edit them or frame them to promote a certain idea of who we are or how we want to be perceived. We curate our own image, an image that may not always be as true to ourselves as it could be. But when you think about it, we can never fully know how others view us. We can look in a mirror, or see a photo. But mirrors have imperfections, and cameras can’t match the resolution of our eyes. We have never seen ourselves as others do.
Of course this post focuses on the selfie, but it speaks to the wider issue about how we portray ourselves and lives through the many different social mediums. Do you project an image of grandeur, while flipping burgers at McDonald’s? Or do you #staytrue.