Is your selfie stick your white cane ?

Silke Remmery@Flickr

Are you one of those who love to walk around streets or in exotic places with the white cane?

Yes I meant the selfies stick as a white cane. It very much resembles the white cane used by Blind or visually challenged. Yes this simple monopod, extendable with an adjustable clamp on one end holding the phone and a handle in the other end closely resembles a white cane to me. Well am not against those techno geeks who are faithfully infatuated to this new age toy. Be it a busy street or a shopping mall or in an exotic location, you can find yourself among many folks wholly engrossed in capturing their beautiful moments with selfies using a selfies stick. I certainly didn’t want to miss mentioning that the selfie stick is also fondly called as ‘Narcisstick’

While I was on a vacation this summer with my kids to escape the infamous scorching heat of Chennai to show the Taj mahal, I was stunned at first, seeing a new species of tourist so passionately clicking their selfies with the beauty. Not to mention that I was stunned at the beauty of Taj last time I visited while I was a grade 5 student. It was hard to find anyone admiring the Makrana marble beauty or the Mughal architecture but could see many eager faces trying to get the best shot using technological masterpiece that shows best of their self with their partner or all alone with the Taj in background. A perfect Photographic Masterpiece!!!

Right from the latest Selfie Le Le re, a Bollywood number that went viral with over 2 million views in You tube to the 2014 Kollywood block buster Selfie Pulla which has over 4 million views, selfie is making waves and sounds like yet another element that one could add to digital projects to get viral in the social world. Statistics says over 17 million self-portraits uploaded to social media every week with over-55s taking more than those aged 18–24, which means that there are 9 selfies uploaded for every eye blink!!! There have been several eyebrow raising selfies taken across the planet ; like the volcano selfie taken by the Canadian adventurer George Kourounis who dropped himself into an active volcano for a jaw dropping selfie and few others amidst a bomb blast or alongside with a corpse. So far, 12 people have lost their life while trying to take a photo of themselves. But the number of people who have died as a result of a shark attack was only eight, according to the Huffington Post. Well yes, taking selfie does have its own side effects and downside.

Psychology today brings out a startling study in which the authors examined people for self-objectification: a tendency to view one’s own body as an object based on its sexual worth, along with three traits, known as the “Dark Triad”: narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. They have tested the correlation between narcissism and the number of selfies posted. Interesting results from the study revealed that women posted more selfies than men; both narcissism and self-objectification were associated with spending more time on social networking sites, and with more photo-editing.

While the study is still underway with more research factors and psychology behind selfies; it is not totally ruling out that taking selfies is purely narcissism and on the contrary primary motivation for selfie is not just to show off.

On the whole there seem to be broadly three kinds of selfies that emerge: solo selfies; selfies with a romantic partner; and selfies in a group. So whether you are in a distant land with no habitat and exotic location or want to show a funny expression, this is seen mostly as an inherent narcissist activity on social media. You might want to show up your clubbable face with a group of your peers of friends together having a party.

Posting more selfies and changing profile picture could show up your increased level of Self objectification. It reflects your mood and present mindset to viewers projecting ‘ an attention seeking child’ in you. This could convey unstated expressions like” I would like to be the talk of the town “ or “Am a party animal!”. Another subtle point to observe here is various social media channels (Facebook, twitter or Instagram) that become a platform to post selfies also become a mirror to reflect your true self; outer image sometimes revealing your inner self. It is both ridiculous and bugging to find some of the people on social media changing their profile pictures with selfies almost every week or twice and obsessively following up with the post for its number of likes and comments. Then there would be a rage of bantering and some stupid conversations to follow further on the post. Be it an occasion, a grumpy mood, new hair style or a new background to show off or even if there is no reason for a new selfies. L.Often I see selfies as a reflection of a low self-esteem or depression surfacing out from someone suffering from it, similar to a kid demanding attention from parents. On the downside, it could also mean pulling down someone else’s social esteem or morale; the ones who don’t have an attractive physique and cannot flaunt themselves in Social media could feel left out or ostracised.

In a recent interview with Tom Insel, America’s top mental health researcher, he says that he thinks smartphones could collect biomarkers of depression or psychosis via speech patterns, and dole out psychiatric interventions as well. So I wonder that very soon your phone could recognise that you are going through depression and feeling low by the number of selfies taken and posted.

Only good thing that I liked about the fact about people motivated for selfies is that the pictures that are taken cannot be blamed on anyone and they give photo credits to the one in picture. Also they are mostly on their own not bothering other fellow tourists or co-passengers to take-retake a picture after a review.

Selfie sticks are banned these days in many popular destinations including the Disney ;check out for signboards for selfie sticks before you decide to shoot one.

So next time you turn on your front camera to shoot yourself a selfie, take few minutes to ponder if you really want to post that and if it isn’t going to hurt anyone else. So go ahead and post only your best picture of your inner self not leaving room for viewers to judge you from your selfies and profile picture.

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