The Selfish in Selfie:
There is no chance you haven’t heard of the selfie trend. Have you ever seen a group of friends crowded together in the middle of the street holding a plastic stick and smiling into a small rectangular box known also as a smartphone? or a lone person in the subway taking picture after picture of him/herself whilst making a very serious model face?
The selfie trend gained popularity from approximately the year 2010 and onward. Why does it exist? and what are its origins?
The term “selfie” was discussed by photographer Jim Krause in 2005,although photos in the selfie genre predate the widespread use of the term. In the early 2000s, before Facebook became the dominant online social network, self-taken photographs were particularly common on MySpace. Between 2006 and 2009 (when Facebook became more popular than MySpace), the “MySpace pic” (typically “an amateurish, flash-blinded self-portrait, often taken in front of a bathroom mirror”) became an indication of bad taste for users of the newer Facebook social network. Early Facebook portraits were usually more formal and serious. In 2009 in the image hosting and video hosting website Flickr, Flickr users used ‘selfies’ to describe seemingly endless self-portraits posted by teenage girls. Initially popular with young people, selfies became more and more popular over time. By the end of 2012, Time magazine considered selfie one of the “top 10 buzzwords” of that year. According to a poll commissioned by Samsung, selfies take up 30% of the photos taken by people 18–24.
I often think to myself why have I never taken a selfie and posted it on social media? what makes me avoid it? In most cases, taking selfies is usually an opportunity for the selfie taker to be awarded compliments by his/her fellow friends on Facebook or other social media. In my opinion the term “friends” in the digital sense ( social media etc.) is already something very strange and not genuine in many cases. I can guarantee that most people who have a Facebook account do not know all their friends well or sometimes at all. So why still post a close up of your face or a semi-intimate picture for “the whole world to see”? and not to forget, also friends of your friends may go into your account and see your selfie profile picture if they wish. Yes, I believe that times are changing and the modern age of social media and the complete control of it over our lives has changed many things in popular culture. Not all are bad things, and of course the selfie can be used for more enjoyable purposes such as taking a picture with a friend and sending it privately to other close friends, but when it is used as a narcissistic tool for the finding of empty and meaningless self worth one wonders if it’s real purpose is pure or just a bad byproduct of the new age we live in today.