So, regular readers of this blog will know that selfies are somewhat of a bugbear to me. I generally have been criticised for lack of photos of myself, but you know I do take them from time to time and frankly, I know what I look like and I struggle to understand why anyone else would want to see photos of me!
So what is the deal with selfies? Okay, I have asked this question before, but I think I have more of a handle on the answer now, and why so many people take them. But there are other smaller questions to answer too tied up with the bigger question.
Is it a growing trend towards narcissism? I can’t spell it, so maybe I have no right to ask. But there are selfies and then there are SELFIES. That is, people taking photo after photo, in search of the ‘perfect’ photo to showcase themselves. And this is a big part of travelling today. Yes, I see loads of people just wanting a photo or two in front of an historic landmark – and often in front of something they possibly can’t actually name, but equally I have noticed that come 2020 or in fact a few years earlier, people are taking their selfies with a high degree of seriousness and importance.
Which also means posing is an important thing too. And it’s basically tied up with people looking to be, or in many cases actually being, a “social influencer”. Yes, they have grown their Instagram accounts to the point where they are considered – or at least consider themselves – to be an influencer. On the social sphere I guess. And it can be very lucrative. Showing off an expensive handbag or some sort of travel apparel can land you sponsorship. Or more.
And when you travel, you see people trying to do this, or actually doing this. Personally, I never really cared that much what I looked like when I traveller, especially back in the day. Or even today, although I generally would like to be a bit neater than I ever am. Clicks are the thing because money can be made. Through Instagram? Can you make money? I guess you can although I don’t know how. I understand the basics in terms of YouTube and blogs, but how people make a career out of Instagram (apart from direct sponsorship I guess as mentioned above) I’m not sure.
But then the on ground experience is another thing. I have been handed phones and asked to take a photo of someone in front of a famous landmark. I remember distinctly in Jerusalem in front of the ‘I heart Jerusalem’ sign, last year. I was handed a phone to take someone’s photo. Why not? I had time. But then they wanted a second, a third…. It went on. And then this couple came along, I just wanted a picture of the sign by itself, but they literally spent ten minutes taking selfies in and around the sign. One shot and I was done. Honestly. They could see I was waiting there, let me take my one photo and then spend hours on the sign if you want.
But – selfies are more important today than ever if you are trying to grow a brand. I run a blog and YouTube channel, and I never realised, or indeed considered, that people might want to know who I was. Until a friend at work told me I basically don’t feature anywhere. And so, well, I got me a cartoon of me looking much thinner than I am today, and I tried to take more photos of myself when I travelled last year. Not that many more though!
It’s not criminal to take a selfie, or have someone take it for you. But honestly, holding up two fingers, getting in bizarre positions, spending ages working out all sorts of angles and tricks, I try hard but I can’t help but roll my eyes. And I confess, I have now started photographing people taking selfies. I can’t help it. And I took quite a few last year, so check out this camera roll below!
So why do people take selfies? Why do so many take selfies? Remember, 20 years ago taking a selfie without a digital camera – you couldn’t guarantee a decent photo. So firstly, it’s easy these days with cameras which have a front camera. And people are promoting themselves, and that’s 2020 for you and you can’t begrudge them that. And some people are having a laugh – I don’t mind that at all. If they’re posing but it’s a bit of fun.
And the remaining ones… that are serious… and possibly narcissistic…. I’m going to continue to roll my eyes at and fail to understand. Thanks for reading today – May the Journey Never End!