Go Selfie Yourself!

“Why something, such as the selfie and that has been out there for 7 years now, is so popular today?” This is a question of a friend of mine asked on Facebook the other day…

But what is a selfie?

“A selfie is a type of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone, and are usually taken in a slightly tilted manner.”Wikipedia.

“A picture was taken of yourself that is planned to be uploaded to Facebook, Myspace or any other sort of social networking website.”Urban Dictionary.

That reference to 7 years of existence my friend made is actually not entirely correct.  The term was cornered some when in 2005, but Albrecht Dürer and many other painters were at it hundreds of years ago…

Why the attention now?

I actually believe that selfies are part of the users’ growing up in the age of smartphones. Like teenagers in high school, they are expressing themselves and trying to find themselves by experimenting with looks, accessories and others. The number of smartphones available out there is reaching fast 2Bn, and in 2014 other 1Bn users are said to join the dark side of the über-functional mobile army. A learning curve involves many social attitudes mimicking and basically figuring out what engages the circle of friends.  And this trend will continue for a while at least until the users get enough of it and move on with their smartphone social lives.

I have been experimenting a bit with selfies, and I have noticed that my followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook find what I see through my lens way more compelling that when my lens is seeing me. However, I have also observed a totally opposite user behaviour among other friends. Well, I am not as handsome and creative as they are, but their selfies do get an enormous amount of likes and comments.

On the other hand, one should not forget that selfies are also an enormous marketing niche when taken and posted by celebrities. Both accessorizing and fashion, in general, are a big thing. The audience is enormous, and selfies are just the right tool to use and push your wearable product. Same goes for beer, actually. It is an opportunity and marketers do take upon them any chance they get.

So, go selfie yourself and tell me how it goes in the comments below!

Copyright © 2013 Borislav Kiprin. All Rights Reserved.

6 Comments

  1. samoznai December 13, 2013 at 9:53 am

    If a photo is worth 1,000 words, a selfie is sometimes wotrh 10,000 hours of self-search and self-assessment… Also, one selfie is just enough to ruin a carefully groomed impression of one-self which sometimes takes years to create.
    Rembrandt is said to have produces more than 40 self-portraits. We might say he was selfie-obsessed.Some of these portraits are considered masterpieces but all of them would raise millions if ever auctioned. Now, imagine him with a camera and a mirror, nowadays…This smartass says, we will hardly notice this old man’s photos…

    1. Borislav Kiprin December 13, 2013 at 11:13 am

      Interesting that you mention Rembrandt. Back in the days, I think that painters were exploring heavily on techniques and colors by using themselves as a subject on paintings rather than paying for a model. That said, I fully agree that the psychological reasons behind making a selfie are related to self-search and self-assessment. There are a few others that can be added as well – grandomania, persona behavior etc…
      On the other hand there are selfies taken for keeping a memory. These usually are not shared online and probably should be called “self portraits”, rather than selfies. But one can hardly keep up with the colloquial language trends. And shared reference is a everything in communication.
      Do you think that Andy Warhol can be used as an example of Rembrandt with a camera and a mirror? After all he got enormous attention and contributed to the cultural, advertisement and art revolution in the 60s…

      1. samoznai December 13, 2013 at 12:01 pm

        Warhol would’ve been nothing without the media and, more importantly, without the sub-cultural environment that fed his imagination and gave him field to express… And no – Warhol did not follow the same concepts that made Rembrandt great. If any comparison can be made at all: Rembrandt was all light, shape and emotion, while Warhol was subtext and contextual message.

        1. Borislav Kiprin December 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm

          I see. Nonetheless, it is still a selfie. 🙂

  2. Pablo Fernandez Roman March 16, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Servus Bobby,
    First of all very nice work with this blog, the little I could read was very interesting.
    I´m not going to be very long with my comment, just my point of view 🙂
    Selfie time!!!
    In my opinion this new revolution that we are living now a days is the need that people have to be like, admire or love by others.
    Why we do selfies?
    Apart from my first argument and connected with this one, we do it because of the likes, yes we love seeing a lot of people liking our photos.
    Maslow´s theory is more than true, self esteem and love are essential in people lives.
    We first have to love our selfs so the rest can love us,
    Peace,
    Pablo

    1. Borislav Kiprin March 16, 2015 at 11:17 am

      Thank you, Pablo!

      I do agree that nowadays we tend to look for love in all the wrong places before we find the one that really matters.

      Cheers,
      Borislav