Picture Something: Self(ie) Help

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Twentysomethings are associated with many ideas and trends, but none is more ubiquitous than the selfie:  the often maligned, yet still ever-present camera self-portrait.  They’re on Facebook.  They’re on Twitter, and you’d better bet they’re on Instagram.  (Yep,  I checked.  There are currently 45,359,032* public posts tagged with the term “selfie” on Instagram.  Forty-five million.  That’s more than the populations of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire combined).  Oh, and they’re probably on Tumblr too.

So, I guess we like taking pictures of ourselves.  Does that make us greedy attention seekers?  I mean, when our selfies include tags like, ‘#followme’ or ‘#follow4follow’  we’re  looking for attention, right?  (Side note:  Am I the only one who finds that phrase disturbingly Messianic?)   We want strangers, people we will probably never meet to see us and ‘like’ us.  We want them to judge us based solely upon our image.

Stop!  Think about that last paragraph.  Does that really sound like healthy behavior?  Pleading with strangers (and friends) for attention?  Okay, carry on…

And if we’re brash enough to believe people will follow us based on our image alone, that must make us pretty vain, correct?  Only a vain person would even think to take pictures of themselves, not to mention post them online for the whole world to see.  Only those who are obsessed with their looks would take daily pictures of their hair, their outfits, their makeup, and their nails.  And for goodness sakes, most of those pictures are taken in front of a mirror!  A mirror – one of the most vain tools at our disposal.   Adding tags such as, ‘#pretty,’ ‘#love,’#instagood,’#me,’ or even ‘#vain’ only further confirms this diagnosis.

[The grand irony of all this vain behavior is, of course, that most of us don’t even look very good in selfies.  Let’s be honest.  Most camera phone angles distort our faces, and the closeups make our skin look more grainy and uneven than it already is].

But is that really who and what we are?  Vain attention seekers?  Is that really how we want to be perceived?  Or is there more behind the pixels than excess lipgloss and inflated muscles?

If the answer is yes, there’s  more to us than meets the eye, what are we waiting for?  Why are we hiding behind Instagram?

Are we one of forty-five million, or one in forty-five million?

*Note:  In the time it took me to write this post, 48,017 more selfies were posted to Instagram.

– l  xo

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  1. […] 2010, Kevin Systrom and Matt Krieger made iphone selfies a whole lot cooler (or not) with their  invention of the Instagram photo app.   Over 100 million users have since made their […]



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