With the number of online social networking sites available to us these days, it’s easy to see how the ‘selfie’ has become one of the biggest and most talked about uploads in recent times. Oxford dictionary even classed it as ‘word of the year’ in 2013, with the definition ‘a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website’ (Oxford Dictionary, 2013). New media has provided users with many different platforms to be able to express themselves on, through online pictures and videos, however it is becoming more of a way for people to validate their existence. For example, a person going to the beach with friends doesn’t exist to the world, unless a photo is taken and uploaded as proof.
Jerry Saltz states ‘selfies have changed aspects of social interaction, body language, self-awareness, privacy, and humor, altering temporality, irony, and public behavior. It’s become a new visual genre—a type of self-portraiture formally distinct from all others in history. Selfies have their own structural autonomy. This is a very big deal for art’ (Saltz, 2014).
Selfies have become a new way of relating to others and now, with so many different ways to reflect upon ourselves, it has started to have significant implications on self-esteem and identity (Wesch, 2009). With that said, I do believe selfies can most definitely be a good thing and something I enjoy looking at when it comes through my newsfeed. For example, Ellen’s selfies that was taken at the Oscars this year with all the stars and actually crashed Twitter with the amount of retweets it was getting. I do think, however, there is a limit to how many selfies a person does upload, even if it is to showcase their #newlipstick or #newswimmers!
Oxford Dictionary, 2013, ‘Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013’, OxfordWord Blogs, viewed 23rd March 2014, <http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/press-releases/oxford-dictionaries-word-of-the-year-2013/>
Saltz, J 2014, ‘Art at Arm’s Length: A History of the Selfie’, Vulture, 27 January, viewed 23rd March 2014, <http://www.vulture.com/2014/01/history-of-the-selfie.html>
Wesch, M 2009, ‘YouTube and You: Experiences of Self- Awareness in the Context Collapse of the Recording Webcam’, EME, vol. 8, no. 2, pp.19-34