I don’t take too many selfies. Well… publishable ones at least.
My Logic: Take 20 and at least one should be, at least, alright.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t care how people perceived my image online.
As a communication and media student, I make a conscious effort to never publish anything online that could potentially affect my social and professional image let alone someone else’s. So as a form of self-monitoring, I only post photographs, mainly on my Instagram that speak authentically to who I am in person.
Now, this does not mean that I post photographs of myself in my missed matched pajamas with my hair in a unicorn bun whilst eating a bowl of cereal at 3pm in the afternoon. No. That’s maybe too authentically real. That’s more Snapchat material.
“As individuals are capable of experiencing pride and shame, they present their self in the best possible way while they safe guard their self against embarrassment” (Klein, 2015, p. 89)
Just as I am sure other Instagram users do, I try to make my Instagram page as colourful, interesting and humorous as possible. I have fun with my photographs and yes that does mean I take selfies.
Selfies directly connect us to our social medias and allow us to not only visually show ourselves but also communicate with others. The reason for posting selfies is defined by an individuals morals and values and to be honest, the reason can be as simple as just thinking you look cute and to that, I say you do you boo.
Though some people see selfies as a moral panic, like an epidemic that is taking over the lives of everyone with a mobile phone. Threatening peoples perceptions of themselves, some fear selfies can create high and unrealistic expectations for on lookers, effecting their own body image and mental health. We also tend to view selfies as a form narcissism or attention seeking. *It can be seen as narcissistic if your selfies are just a little too constant. So I monitor that.
We use selfies to show our followers where we are, who we are with and what we are getting up too. As Uschi Klein reveals in his essay Sharing Selfies, selfies allow us to “actively participate in an online community which they can share their present experiences and moments” (2015, p.89).
Since creating my Instagram in 2013, I have posted 94 photographs depicting myself in experiences and events that have connected me to family and friends I have made over time (even friends met amidst those events).
“…the relationships and connections we create and maintain with others by sharing selfies is no less important as part of our popular and visual culture…exchanging personal photographs, including selfies, is fundamental to maintaining off- and online relationships” (Klein, 2015, p.91).
Originating in September of 2012, by an Australian man seeking advice online for a self-induced injury from a drunken night out, the purpose of a Selfie has since become something more varied and even more subjective.
** WARNING** GRAPHIC**
Selfies can come in all shapes and sizes, inspiring different forms of creative expression as Klein emphasises: “The impulse to be creative and original when taking selfies indicates a strong desire to connect with others in a variety of ways and to share experiences in real time” (2015, p.92).
Drag queen Phi Phi O’Hara is a perfect example of creativity expressed through selfies in their ‘365 Days of Drag’ project. Everyday of the 2016 there was a complete new look. From cosplay, cartoon characters to glamorous creatures of art, Phi Phi takes selfies to a whole new level connecting with 355k followers and inspiring makeup enthusiasts across the globe.
Phi Phi O’Hara wrote on her final selfie: “… This was a hard year for a lot of us and I took a break after the entire All Stars situation to clear my thoughts and remind myself that you can’t let people stop you from achieving any goal or dream you have set for yourself! I hope this project continues to inspire others to push themselves and reach beyond the sky…..there is no limit!”
Through these examples, it is evident that selfies can be a positive form of reflecting ones self. Like a window in to the life they choose to share online, selfies allow individuals to share experiences in the moment, communicate with loved ones and friends as well as share their creative abilities.
Klein, U 2015, ‘Sharing Selfies’, in Waskul D & Vannin P (eds), Popular Culture as Everyday Life, Routledge, New York, pp.85-94.