“Trust your self(ie). Create the kind of self(ie) that you will be happy to live with all of your life. Make the most of yourself(ie) by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” – My edited social networking version of a Golda Meir quote.
Selfies. Selfies. Selfies.
There I said it. Selfies.
First and foremost, I am capital G.U.I.L.T.Y. of the dreaded “Selfie”. Secondly, there are several words in life that I despise and “Selfie” is one of them. (Might I add that the word “Selfie” does not come up as an error in autocorrect and to be honest I’m not so sure how I feel about that.)
It wasn’t until recently that “Selfies” started to create quite a stir in the world of social networking. My Facebook newsfeed was littered with both comments by “Selfie Haters” and posts by “Selfie Players”. I saw “shares” of posts entitled things like ‘Top Ten Worst Selfies’, ‘Best Selfies of 2013’ and even ‘The Most Dangerous Places to Take a Selfie’.
Then one day, a private message from a friend, asking me not to be offended by the posts she wrote about hating “Selfies”, showed up in my inbox.
Next, on my newsfeed posts from people emphatically trashing people who take “Selfies” were woven between actual posts of “Selfies”.
And finally, discussions, compliments, insults, and in my opinion way too much time thinking about “Selfies”, started popping up everywhere.
That being said, my opinion of “Selfies” has been shelved in the back of my mind for quite sometime.
It wasn’t until a couple of days ago that the drama of opinions about “Selfies” actually made me think about taking the time to blog about them.
Essentially, a non-social networking friend of mine was stunned when the topic of “Selfies” came up. Said friend made a jab/joke about me taking a “Selfie” (or two…or three…) and the person he was with at the time had a difficult time grasping the fact that my friend had done that.
Though I wasn’t actually present during the conversation, it was my understanding that my friend was told that the joke about me taking selfies was a huge insult.
But in my world, I didn’t give a @&$^.
Self portraits have been made by civilizations since the earliest of times. For me, Self Portraiture started many moons ago, way back when, in the ancient world of the 90’s.
Repeatedly, throughout my years in Art School, I was assigned to make collages, take photographs, draw, paint, sculpt, write about, film, sketch, animate and create three-dimensional expressions of my external and internal self. Thinking about how I “looked” inside and out was a very basic and average subject when living a life studying the arts and the concept of “self” seemed even more important when obtaining a degree in Counseling. After all, if we don’t truly know ourselves and aren’t comfortable in our own skin, how on Earth can we know others.
Yes, one can argue that what I described above is art while snapshots from a smartphone is simply a snapshot of arrogance. But who are we to decide what is art and what isn’t?
Maybe the guy at the gym with his bulging biceps thinks his abs are canvas worthy. Maybe the tired mom, who has been taking care of five kids, finally had the time to get a haircut and some rest so she decided it would be a good day to snap a shot of herself before the bags under her eyes come back to haunt her. Maybe the person at a stop light had a really bad day and in that fleeting moment she finally felt good about herself because someone smiled at her before she got in her car and she wanted to capture that moment.
Perhaps the teenage girl in high school finally escaped a barrage of name calling, insults, verbal or physical abuse and sadly can only feel good about herself when her friends click a “like” button. The reasons behind a “Selfie” are endless.
For me, my personal self expression journey, via social media, started when I signed up for Facebook years ago, asking me for my name, location, movies I like, books I read, favorite quotes, interests, am I single, am I married, when was I born, where was I born, where am I now, who am I with, when did I graduate, where did I study, what did I study, do I have a job, am I still at this job, am I at a new job, what do I do at that job, how long have I been at that job, who am I friends with, who are they friends with and what’s on my mind? (To name a few).
And all of those questions were presented and answered way before a profile photo even came to my mind.
The way I see it, Facebook and all avenues of social networking are a form of self indulgent “Selfies” through and through.
When posting a link we assume people care. When we update our status we assume people care. When we talk about the successes of our families, their illnesses, births, deaths, graduations and pregnancies we assume that people care.
What’s the weather like where I am? Am I cold? Am I hot? Am I hungry, tired, having fun? Who’s with me? Did I have fun with you?
Here’s a photo of us having fun. Here’s a photo of you not. I’m at this store. I saw this movie. I liked it. I hated it. I passed a test. My kid scored in soccer. My daughter got married. I got divorced. I agree with this political view or maybe I don’t. I’m right, you’re wrong. The list of how social networking is all about us goes on and on…
So when my profile has my name on it and my profile knows more about me than I probably do, I see no harm in including a self portrait/snapshot to visually represent the me I currently am.
I mean you did just read that I was shivering in the cold, eating a turkey sub, while my sister was giving birth to triplets in room 405 at the hospital and since no one’s around I’d better document myself to go along with it. After all wouldn’t you rather see a picture of me than what’s currently digesting in my stomach and preparing to come out.
Agree with me or not, (feel free to post your opinion on Facebook in the off chance that someone actually cares) the way I see it, if someone else takes a picture of me and I post it online, it’s nothing but a “Selfie” taken a few feet away. All that matters to me is whether or not the person posting pictures of him or herself online treats others with genuine kindness and respect.
So “Selfie” away my friends because Lord knows that a great deal of people in this world care only about themselves anyway, whether they take pictures of themselves or not, probably because they are spending far too much time in front of a mirror.