A few years ago I needed a photo of myself for a music page, and at the time I thought it was inconvenient to have someone else take it. I preferred to do it myself because I didn’t want some photographer telling me to turn this way and that or smile pretty, etc. Getting a picture taken is stressful enough for me (no I wouldn’t make a good model, even if I were Elizabeth Hurley) so doing it myself removed some of that anxiety. If I looked terrible in the photo, I could simply delete it. No one would ever know!
And yet, I was a little embarrassed to actually take a photo myself. It felt weird, and I went out of my way to make it look like someone else took that picture.
Times have certainly changed. It’s not only acceptable to take a photo of yourself now, but people do it so much we have a new word to describe it; “selfie.” This was not even in our vocabulary a few years ago, but now, thanks to social media, cameras in phones, etc, photo taking of oneself has become an everyday thing.
Most of us probably agree it’s nice to see friends and family take a selfie or two. We want to see our loved ones, especially those who live far away. Selfies can be a good thing, and it’s even nice to see a celebrity post one now and then. However, some have taken this good thing a bit too far, and instead of people being happy to see the pictures we start to dread them. Check out this letter posted from a woman on mumsnet.
I have a friend who I’ve known for years, I’ve always really liked her. We don’t see each other very often these days as she moved further away, but we have similar aged DC’s so stay in touch via FB. She’s asked me to meet up a few times lately and I’ve found myself putting it off.
I think the trouble is she seems to be incredibly vain. She takes very posed, very frequent selfie type photographs. I’m talking about 4 or 5 a week. Sometimes she films ‘pop video’ clips of herself miming or dancing to songs. She’s a 34 year old housewife, moderately attractive – but even if she looked like Elle MacPherson I’d find it weird.
Am sure many can relate to this woman’s letter. If someone constantly fills our newsfeed with photos of themselves, particularly scantily clad shots where they’re holding the camera at an angle and giving a duck face, we stop thinking it’s nice to see them and we wish they’d just pack it in.
Did you know that posting loads of selfies has been linked to narcissism, addiction, and mental illness?
Some of you may be wondering why I’m talking about selfies since Moonletters is a site about Second Life. I’m getting to that.
Brace yourself. The selfie craze has transcended everyday life. It is also alive and well in the virtual world of Second Life.
Ok, most of us do SL selfies to an extent. I myself have taken loads for my store because I use myself as the model for the clothes. There’s even a giant picture of me on the store sign. Eek! So I’m certainly not judging anyone. We use these pictures to illustrate blog posts, to share memories of events, to laugh at things we’re wearing – nothing wrong with that. However, just like in real life, some take things to an extreme. Many use social media to post one photo after another of their avatar, filling up a facebook or twitter feed so fast that if you want to see anything other than that person, you need to hide or mute them. It’s almost always someone with very little clothing, too, since being naked seems to go hand in hand with the compulsion to post endless selfies.
I actually feel for the people posting endless selfies because in many cases it’s a cry for attention, a cry for approval. Most people are quick to make comments of praise, and kind words can be addicting. The thing is, the comments are not necessarily real. Many of the comments are left just for the purpose of being kind to the individual who posted the picture. People may comment “you look beautiful” but are really thinking how sad you must be to post 20 pictures of yourself posing for your own camera.
I am not against selfies be they from the real world or Second Life. I think they’re a good thing because they allow us see the friends and family we love. Chocolate is a good thing too, though, but if I eat too much of it I get fat.
I would urge anyone facing the temptation to post a billion selfies to rethink it. Too much of anything causes value to decrease, no matter how great it is.