On Selfies

Why do we take so many selfies?

Why, instead of looking out on the world and capturing what we see, do we turn the camera around in an attempt to make sure everyone can see us?

What does it say about our generation that we take more photos of ourselves than we do of anything else?

The conclusion reached by older generations is that we’re just a bunch of insecure narcissists who measure our self-esteem in likes. However, I think we’re just doing exactly what those older generations have been telling us to do from childhood. We grew up in a time (and place) of peace, prosperity and opportunity and so it got drummed into us from a young age that we were special little snowflakes and that we could achieve anything we wanted to.

As adults, on some subliminal level we still think we’re special, we still think we’re important and so we take photos of ourselves.

As an aside, I’d be fascinated to see if there’s a link between family size and affinity for selfies. My theory is that only-children got a more focused dose of the special snowflake sermon and so they take more selfies than those that grew up with brothers and sisters. (I have absolutely no evidence to back this up).

The aggregate of all of this is we’ve collectively made celebrities of people whose sole talent is self-promotion. Not the best singers, not the best actors, not the funniest, not the most intelligent. The Kardashians are the obvious example but there are swarms of celebrity YouTube vloggers who fit the bill every bit as much.

While I’m sure this all reads as a criticism, that’s not really the point I’m trying to make. After all there are few things more narcissistic than writing a blog (it’s just intellectual vanity rather than physical vanity) and you’d better believe that I secretly obsess over how many people actually read it. I guess what I’m really getting at is that our generation is a product of the generation before us and so next time someone tells you that our generation is lazy and self-absorbed, tell them it’s their fault.

Let me know what you think.

Jez

PS: I’m calling it now — we’re at the cusp of a new era of selfies. First there was the two-hand digital camera selfie, then the one-hand smartphone selfie, then the selfie-stick selfie. The next evolution will be the drone-selfie — coming to a social media timeline near you.

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