COM-0011: Let Me Take a Selfie: The Selfie Epidemic

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 10.59.28 PM

I am a 26 year old female, I am no stranger to the selfie, I have not one by two beloved selfie-sticks.

Have I fallen mercy to the selfie-epidemic? Am I leading the charge for the popularity of the selfie? Am I helping society, but posting that #iwokeuplikethis selfie?

I am Megan Fuger and I am a selfie addict! 

The online oxford dictionary defines a Selfie “as a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media“. I believe that the act of posting a selfie has truly become an epidemic. The band The Chainsmokers, really hit the nail on the head, with their popular song “#selfie“. Bringing into the eyes of main how silly selfies are. However the song become pretty popular, and actually encouraged more and more people to take selfies. It became more of a joke, something fun to do when the song came on.

It is rare now a days to go to a concert, or a museum, or party, and not see at least two or more people taking selfies. When I scroll through my personal Instagram account, the majority of the photos that appear on my feed are of my friends beautiful smiling faces, me however knowing very well, that probably 30 photos were taken to get that perfect selfie. These perfect selfies taking time and energy that could have probably been spent on something else that holds more value. Not only do you take the time to get the perfect selfie, but you then spend time editing that selfie before posting it to your social media. Many people choose to edit their selfies with filters, or through apps such as VSCO, or Visage Lab. These apps are used to enhance the selfie, by either editing the lighting, or by fixing make-up, skin blemishes and the colour of your teeth. See from the chorus of the #selfie song, what happens before you post a selfie:

Can you guys help me pick a filter?
I don’t know if I should go with XX Pro or Valencia
I wanna look tan
What should my caption be?
I want it to be clever
How about “Livin’ with my bitches, hash tag LIVE”
I only got 10 likes in the last 5 minutes
Do you think I should take it down?
Let me take another selfie

Not only are selfies occurring more and more on social media, they are IMG_6449starting to trend more in other aspects, then just a good-looking selfie. Take for example the recent Dolce & Gabbana mens fashion show where many male models walked down the runway with a mini-iPad and at the end, took selfies with them. You can see model Adonis Bosso on your right, working his best selfie face on the runway. Selfies are not just trending in the fashion industry, they are also very trendy amongst celebrities, musicians, talk show hosts, and many others. Musicians at concerts are now stopping the concert to take a selfie with
the audience, later posting on their social media.  One of the most talked about selfies was the one by Ellen DeGeneres at the OscarsBhxWutnCEAAtEQ6

It was one of the most retweeted entertainment tweets of 2014.

My new favourite thing to help this selfie epidemic is the selfie-stick. A selfie-stick again defined by the oxford dictionary is “a device in the form of a rod on which a camera or smartphone may be mounted, enabling the person holding it to take a photograph of themselves from a wider angle than if holding the camera or smartphone in their hand”. As I travelled across Europe this past summer (please note the picture to the left is taken from google, it is not a picture of myself), I have to say I joined the selfie-epidemic, an even

imagesworse had a selfie-stick. I felt the stick was very beneficial as my friend and I both wanted to be in the pictures all the time, and there was no one around to take them for us. The stick helped us capture our many adventures, however did we take too many selfies? Were we too involved in our phone, and the idea of capturing the amazing things we were seeing, to really take in, what we were seeing?

Many studies are coming out linking selfies to narcissism. psychopathy and self-objectification. If we do not put down our phones and start embracing the world around us, is this the path we are headed? Are the future generations going to go down the selfie rabbit hole, are they going to view concerts from the screens of their phones, instead of looking up and enjoying them? Do we really look back at the pictures we took, and remember what happened, or do we remember them by sharing the stories with others when we are out an about in a group?

Do you feel that the selfie-epidemic is slowly destroying our society? Should we all go to selfie-rehab?

 

Blog 3, COMOO11 – A selfie stick, a President’s policy agenda and social media

My wife, son and I were, as we often do, scanning our computers on a recent snowy Saturday night, looking to see what was out and about on media, both conventional and social. My wife had earlier caught a glimpse on regular CBC news of President Obama’s video clip recently released on Buzzfeed. The three of us then went to view buzzfeed.com to see what all the fuss was about and what 13 million viewers to date had already seen.

obama

 

The President’s video was interesting from a number of perspectives. My 11-year-old son chimed in that the President presented himself “in a new fresh, even hip, way.” My wife allowed as how it showed the President “as relaxed, open, and trying to reach out to the public. Even the way the way his cookie got stuck in his glass when tried to dip it in his milk, and he said (in mock reference to himself) ‘thanks Obama’ created a bit of a chuckle,” she said. For those of you who haven’t seen the video in its entirety, it essentially shows the President making faces in front of a mirror, playing with a selfie stick, doing a drawing of his wife, and otherwise busting out a few informal behaviours for the camera.

At the same time as the President is presenting himself in this down-to-earth, “President as everyday citizen” way, I picked up on an item of note: almost imperceptible in the President’s chuckle-inducing attempts to pronounce “Febru-ary 15” was a reference to the deadline for signing up for affordable health care (“Obamacare”). My sense is that the President’s video succeeded in classic social-media style:  the friendly pitch to register by the deadline was camouflaged in the President’s comic mugging for the camera. The pitch was integrated smoothly and subtly into the overall flow of the video.  It didn’t come across as a jarring reminder to sign up, but more as something you gradually became aware of to put on your ‘to-do’ list, as the video unfolded.

I think the President’s use of social media to advance a policy agenda (encouraging registration for health care) was a brilliantly effective move. What do you think? Can you see the Prime Minister of Canada using social media in a similarly light-hearted way to promote the government’s policies?