I hate my selfies. I haven’t quite figured out how to take a good pic of myself. But I’m gonna keep trying to learn. I think selfies are awesome!
A few weeks back I shared a powerful example of selfies as a tool for survival (Selfies Are Self-indulgent? BS They Can Save Your Life). And I recently came across a highly intellectually stimulating article by Jerry Saltz comparing selfies with the portraits of the past — think Van Gogh’s own or Parmigianino’s Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, 1523–24 (Art at Arm’s Length: A History of the Selfie).
I always love to hear analyses of technology that don’t depict us, users, as self-indulgent, brain-less idiots. Oh, how the media likes to bemoan the end of morality, intellectualism and community because of technology. It drives me nuts!
I won’t do justice to his whole analyses but, in a nutshell, Saltz’s article digs into the various roles of the selfie — to express our true feelings in the moment, showing a raw, real world or sharing the shock and awe of the shooter.
I want to take the positive side of the selfie in another direction too. I think the self-indulgence we attribute to selfies may be a GOOD thing. Let’s be honest, how many of us totally love ourselves fully? How many of us berate ourselves for small mistakes or criticize our tiniest flaws. By putting ourselves out there, we’re taking a risk. We’re actually saying, I’m OK and I SHOULD love myself.
Even Dove, with its latest “pulling-the-heart-strings-video,” shows the positive power of selfies. Dove launched an experiment going inside a public high school and enlisting girls to not only take selfies, but then blow them up for the whole school to see on big poster boards. Other kids put post it notes on the posters declaring their admiration for these girls and how beautiful they think they are. As you can imagine, the selfi subjects were surprised, warmed and encouraged. See video.
My selfies always suck but I’m going to try to get the hang of them and promise to post more. Because, in the end, they’re more for me than for you!