When I first read the article BC Residents Taking More Outdoor Risks for Social Media Glory I had no idea that risky selfie taking behaviours resulted in fatalities and injuries. The article goes on to say that some of the risky behaviour that people engage in are (Pawliw, 2021, para. 10):
- Getting too close to wildlife
- Cliff diving
- Hiking in restricted areas
- Swimming in restricted areas
- Staying beyond park or recreation site hours
There have been 259 reported selfie-related deaths between 2011 and 2017 (Hilda, 2019, para. 8). It brings up an interesting question as to what motivates us to take selfies, and why the risk factor is becoming so prominent.
Rookie Mistake or Professional Hazard
The modern day definition of a selfie is “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website” (Bellis, 2020, para. 3). Anyone can, and probably has, taken a selfie. Some of the reasons that we take selfies include (Miles, 2019, para. 17):
- Build self-esteem
- Manage self image
- Preserve memories/accomplishments
- Develop personal brand
With these motivating factors in mind, it begins to shed some light on why the quest for the perfect selfie is so prevalent. For more high profile social media personalities (aka the professional), they have an image or brand to uphold. If their content is not exciting or aspirational they will not build their reputation. For the average person (aka the rookie), they get validation from the amount of likes and positive feedback they get from posting a great selfie.
When selfies are taken in more dangerous or precarious locations, the photographer is more focused on the shot instead of where their feet are, or how close they might be to the edge of a cliff or waterfall (Miles, 2019, para. 24). Whether you are a professional or an amateur, you are still human and subject to losing perspective of where you stand.
With the ubiquitous nature of social media, it makes it challenging to combat risky selfie behaviour. The desire for the most eye-catching or shocking selfie feeds the human need for “likes”.
The question remains, if you don’t have a selfie of it, did it really happen?
Facebook: One Wrong Foot Could Lead to Selfie Disaster https://bit.ly/3lwCVq4
Twitter: Selfie Deaths are on the Rise https://bit.ly/3lwCVq4
Bellis, M. (2020, January 3). Do you know who invented the selfie? ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/who-invented-the-selfie-1992418
Hilda, A. (2019, August 8). The selfie epidemic: A matter of likes and death. Unreserved. https://www.unreservedmedia.com/the-selfie-epidemic-a-matter-of-likes-and-death/
Miles, K. (2019, April 16). Cause of death: Selfie. Outside. https://www.outsideonline.com/adventure-travel/news-analysis/selfie-deaths/
Pawliw, B. (2021, July 30). BC residents taking more outdoor risks for social media glory. My Prince George Now. https://www.myprincegeorgenow.com/145470/bc-residents-taking-more-outdoor-risks-for-social-media-glory/