Selfie (both verb and noun): A picture taken of yourself (with potentially others in the photo) that is planned to be uploaded to social media. Usually taken by an individual with their arm outstretched using a front facing camera, or through using the reflection of a mirror. The subject/s of the selfie will also be posed in any number of key poses:
- Duck-lips selfie
- Hand on hip (always a classic)
- ‘Hot dog’ or ‘legs’ selfie
- Candidly posing with coffee/shopping bags/puppy (insert object)
- At the gym selfie
- No makeup selfie
*For a complete list with pictures click here .
The act of taking a selfie (or self-portrait) is done for many reasons: an expression of self identity (“Damn I look hot today”), to display affection (“I love my bae”) or to document travels (“selfie with the Eiffel Tower”). The taking of such photographs greatly differs between individuals as does the motivation behind the image. It is important to note, that although they are often regarded as meaningless or narcissistic (which more often that not is true) the action of taking a selfie breaks across so many age, gender, political, economic, education level and social statuses. In other words EVERYONE loves a selfie.
There has been a complete shift in the online world, social media has gained traction, new platforms have been introduced to facilitate conversation through images and a greater range of products have entered the market, with their sole focus to increase the ease of taking selfies. With the introduction of Snapchat, selfies are now interactive, time sensitive and incredibly easy to share. The idea is to grow community and relationships on a different level to other social media platforms, and this does so successfully.
New Products– The Selfie stick reached its height of ‘popularity’ in 2014, attracting the attention of international tourists and insta-fame wanna-be’s alike. Banned at all Disney Parks, the Louvre and many other famous sites in 2015, the selfie stick has also been the cause of a number of deaths last year.
LG have just released a new High-End V10 Smartphone with two front facing cameras that allow for a greater selfie taking experience. There is also a great increase in the number of photo apps available to ensure that each selfie can be carefully edited and manipulated. With tools such as blemish fixing, fake tanning and even slimming effects it is this side of the selfie evolution that is increasingly narcissistic and conceited. The seven best photo editing apps are here.
This then leads to a discussion of a new form of currency moving across the digital realm: the rise in attention economy. Whereby individuals disseminate countless pieces of information about themselves, photos, videos, opinions, all in the hope that their social media followers will respond positively. This usage of media has changed the way brands advertisement themselves with users of these media platforms becoming their spokesperson.
Through media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Youtube there has a come growth in the micro-celebrity, every day people who develop a skill/message/identity that can be expressed across different media channels. The people are celebrities because of the media outlet yet are not bound to experiencing fame purely on the platform. These people are accessible, they create content that is meant to be commented on, to be shared and liked. Communication is far greater and intimate across these channels and there is a sense of validation across all users. Bringing back the topic of narcissism and selfies: is the act of taking a selfie narcissistic if it is an expected and wanted act by your followers?
This is how media is shaping lives – through selfies, through social media taking one vain act and making it valuable and accessible to all. The documentary below depicts one micro-celebrities interaction with social media and how it has been used by him to create his own self brand.
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/86023743″>INSTAFAME DOCUMENTARY</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/sylvainlabs”>Sylvain Labs</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Digital Trends 2016, 10 Best apps for the perfect selfie, accessed 14th of March 2016, http://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/best-selfie-apps/.
Minq 2016, 19 Bros who nailed these basic girl instagram poses, accessed 14th of March 2016, http://www.minq.com/style/11945/19-bros-who-nailed-these-basic-girl-instagram-poses/#page=2.
Social Media Week 2016, Instafame: the rise of the micro-celebrity, accessed 15th of March 2016, http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2014/04/instafame-rise-microcelebrity/.
Style Caster 2016, The 7 best photo editing apps, accessed 14th of March 2016, http://stylecaster.com/beauty/best-photo-editing-app/.
Urban Dictionary 2016, Selfie, accessed 13th of March 2016, http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Selfie.