MAS330 - Selfies And The Networked Self
Whether you like it or not, selfies are here to stay!
The phenomenon of selfies has really kicked off in the ever connected world of social media and the internet in general. Being required to use a selfie as a profile picture on just about all social media sites or any service with a profile for its users creates an in-depth sense of personalisation, but is this compromising their privacy? The controversial subject of selfies definitely has its pros and cons, its team A and team B and both sides need to be taken in to consideration.
Technology, the enabler.
Every smartphone these days has a camera in it, more than one camera, they have dedicated selfie cameras! With the majority of people around the world having a smartphone in their pocket or purse, it has never been easier to pull it out and take a quick snap whenever the situation calls for it, even when it doesn’t in some cases. A report conducted by Google in 2014 found that over 93 Million selfies were taken every single day around the world, just on android smartphones, this doesn’t even consider the number of selfies taken on iPhones and Windows based smartphones. Is this just harmless fun or is this the future of narcissism?
Selfie Addiction is a Real Thing.
“Science links selfies to narcissism, addiction and low self-esteem” was a news story published in Adweek online which told of the possible consequences of selfie taking. While this would only be in extreme cases, these extreme cases do exist and can have horrible outcomes such as those in the case of Danny Bowman the selfie addict from London who attempted suicide when he couldn’t get the perfect selfie.
Why do we Share Selfies?
Everyone has their own reasons for sharing their personal selfies, some for no reason other than vanity, others to share good times they are having with friends and family. Celebrities on the other hand can use these selfies as a marketing tool of sorts, by sharing their selfies they can generate a larger fan base by showing them in their ‘normal’ lives which can be interesting to certain people.
A selfie should represent a person in a truthful way, unfortunately digital photography is becoming easier and easier to alter and ‘beautify’. Filters are becoming the norm in selfie sharing social media sites and applications, rounding edges and flattening skin tones etc. As a result of this, millions of fake selfies are circulating the web giving off impressions of perfection in selfies. This can have a negative effect on people who have low self-esteem stemming from their looks.
There have been many selfies that are just simply amazing like this one from outer space, from the top of skyscrapers and in fighter jets are just a few to be mentioned. These selfies show the experiences that some people go through everyday where others could only dream of experiencing for themselves.
Kirill Oreshkin scaled the Top Star building in Russia to get this amazing selfie.
A Danish F-16 fighter pilot took this selfie travelling over hundreds of miles an hour through the sky while firing off a missile.
In The End.
For better or worse selfies are here to stay, it is up to us to use them responsibly. They definitely add a layer of personalisation to our online persona, show us experiences that we would not normally be able to experience and help to get online exposure if that is what you are after. Like most things there is a negative side to the selfie phenomenon so adequate precautions need to be taken if you are susceptible to narcissism, addiction or have a low self-esteem.
McLuhan, Marshall. (1994). “The gadget lover, Narcissus as Narcosis.” Understanding media, the Extensions of Man”, MIT Press, London : 46–52.
Senft, T. M., & Baym, N. K. (2015). What does the selfie say? Investigating a global phenomenon , International Journal of Communication.
Steve. (2016). Top 10 Selfies in the History of the World. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 01 October 2016].