As of late, I have found myself confined to the four cream walls of my university room and have spent many a hour scrolling, scrolling and scrolling though various social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and the one common denominator that pervades all these sites are: selfies. For those who may not know what a ‘selfie’ is here is a quick definition.
Selfie \ˈsɛlfi\ (noun, informal): a photograph taken of oneself, that usually incorporates a level shot of the upper arm at either the bottom centre, left or right (dependant on who’s taking the selfie) in an attempt to capture oneself alone or with someone/thing all at once.
So as it stands, I cannot say that I am not an advocate of the selfie nor do I have a hatred for the selfie – its just an interesting phenomenon that has swept across our daily lives that nobody ever really thinks twice about it. The selfie even has its own specified app – snapchat – which allows for conversations to be upheld in the form of a selfie tennis rally. This new use of technology really is astounding and some selfies really do make for some great photos.
However, upon reflection of what taking these photos actually entails is actually a little depressing. As it happens, selfies are usually taken in order to capture something that is deemed to be fun or interesting or beautiful. The thing that strikes me is that the very moment you are taking the selfie, you are taking yourself out of that moment and therefore in real time, are not actually enjoying that moment but are engrossed in making sure the photo is ‘taken on my good side’, or ‘making sure everyone is in’ or ‘moving the phone/camera to get the beautiful waterfall in the background’. Here, an example of the point I’m trying to make. Not enjoying the moment, but taking a photo.
It just seems funny that the majority of social networking sites are merely a medium to portray to other people a side to your life that may not really ‘exist’. What I mean by this is that the taking of selfies of you with all your friends, at a famous landmark, in a beautiful location is really an attempt to boast and broadcast to friends, old acquaintances, the cyber space realm, whoever – the only aspects of your life that you want them to see – creating a ‘cyber alter ego’. In a sense, I guess its a way of trying to prove yourself, to demonstrate how much fun you have or how well travelled you are, when in actual fact, the moment the photo is taken and uploaded and viewed for likes, the whole room actually looks like this:
It’s a little sad that our world practically revolves around pixels on a screen and I am by far guilty of this too. Just next time you are getting the iPhone out to take a photo to upload to social media, maybe try and just be in the moment instead of on its peripheries.