The Reinvention of the Selfie

The Reinvention of the Selfie
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Photo-sharing social media site Instagram was down for couple of hours on the weekend, sparking a mixed-bag of online feedback (on other social media sites, namely Twitter) from users unable to post their “selfies.”

Though some attendees of big events like US music festival Coachella were genuinely frustrated, the majority of Instagram fans employed a sense of humour in response to the site’s impermanent failure.

This kind of online banter implies attitudes on social media are becoming more self-aware and light-hearted.

The “selfie” is an example of these evolving attitudes and is now the social norm for “capturing the moment”, according to James Keeler, head of strategy at The White Agency. 

According to the Oxford Dictionary Online, (to which “selfie” was officially added last year) a “selfie” is: “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”

Now that even the Pope has been caught taking selfies, the selfie has entered the mainstream and been embraced by people all over the world.

Over one million selfies are uploaded on a daily basis, according to Selfie Infographic by Mantas Malukas “…the strong visibility of this content in our daily lives has allowed the selfie to become engrained in our psyche as an everyday convention of smartphone etiquette,” Samuel Snowden account director of Thinktank Social explained.

The selfie has become a cultural phenomenon because it is “accessible, identifiable and one that exudes personality,” according to Snowden.

There are, however, instances of selfie-related narcissism still appearing in social media circles. Keeler says the “shareable selfie” or “shelfie” has emerged as the selfie’s new egotistical offshoot, reserved for online users who only post photos they look desirable in.

Interestingly, Selfie Infographic shows that men and women are more or less equally likely to take a selfie. Of these, men are 34% more likely to retouch every selfie uploaded, as opposed to females who only retouch 13% of every selfie shared.

“These statistics indicate that the selfie is a marketing tactic that is equally appealing to all ages and sexes,” said Snowden.

He says the selfie is no different to the cultural obsession of reality TV shows in the early noughties, “the only difference between reality TV and the selfie is that in 2014 everyone could have their 15 seconds of viral news feed fame, irrespective of their geographic location”.

It seems the selfie, like it or not, is here to stay.  

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