There will always be one thing that stands out as a similarity between cultures, time periods and ages: that we all have a need to be liked, approved, loved; that we all judge the people around us whether we propose our liberalism or not. The opinion of others will also have some hold on one’s identity and development and if you think I’m wrong, you’re naive about the world and the way it works. Especially our modern era where everything is about harnessing your inner Kardashian or wearing the glitzy football jersey of whatever team is ‘trending’ in 2013. With the prominence of social media, the self-important selfie is but one facet of this universe. It could truly be a bit of evidence aliens could use to study the psychology of humankind. One can try and imagine what happened hundreds of years ago when a lady commissioned a painting of herself – there was no doubt some barging in to make sure the painter lightened the skin and brushed away the wrinkles. It will always be human.
Why else would a seemingly depressed teenage girl pose for a selfie and post it online without the need for human contact? The need for a Facebook thumbs-up or comment that enhances her own self-worth? That’s what we’ve become: something that feeds off social approval or commentary. And what better way to capture yourself in a selfie? You have the ultimate control in the end: the powers of editing and lighting and the common use of a fancy quote attached. There is a multitude of techniques of course. The ever-popular duck pout. The look-away-from-the-camera-even-though-I-know-it’s-there look or the selfie that is taken in oddball places. Like the bathroom or your car. Somehow I doubt there’s a good enough filter to make a bathroom mirror appear fancier. But, its become our age. What I’ve noticed most recently is the appearance of the actual phone in the selfie. There is no shame anymore. There seems to be a norm in giving one’s social family the thrill of a new selfie with one’s glamorous iPhone at the forefront. There’s a silly little mask we give ourselves online and where we seemingly spend most of our hours of the day because it seems a little harmless compared to normal face-to-face interaction, right? Right? We’re creating a more likable self with the common-day swag poses and peace signs that we have to adapt in order to fit in. It’s a scary thing when you actually look at the selfie in that way. Social reception is paramount and we wonder why a particular status update or tweet wasn’t wholly favourited and shared. We crave it.
I hope it does give way but there needs to that ring of online users with the needs to post their faces and when comments quickly come back with hailing approvals, there is usually a humble, ashamed bit of thanks – almost like the post itself was unintended. Whether its a moody writer face you’re going with or one to show off your new specs, the real reason you’re grabbing a selfie is to create yourself. We’ve all done it. We take a selfie, delete it, retake, delete, filter, edit, delete. It could be for your own personal entertainment or to use your phone camera as a mirror. It could also be your way to fit in. And everybody does it. Even Justin Bieber.
In the year of the selfie, you’re probably all thinking that this post is about you. Remember if you’re going to dive into the selfie, have fun. You might just stand out.
P.S: How’d I do? (Blackberry is a clear fail of society, isn’t it?)