The selfie-centred nation: Snap happy or plain crazy?

RHW selfie

Hello, and welcome to the millionth conversation about turning the camera on yourself. The selfie really exploded this week, legitimising its existence by snapping up a place in the Beverly Hills equivalent for words, Oxford Dictionaries Online. Every person (and their shoe-clad pug) has discussed and dissected the art, and how to perfect it. (Thanks, Stylist magazine)

OK, so we’re not going to tutor you on how to take one – unless you’ve been living in Transnistria, without your smartphone, and subsequently don’t understand the science behind applying filters, perfecting angles and getting the ideal ‘hotdog’ leg shot. But, instead, what we want to talk about is, whether, the suggestion for a “digital detox” is at all valid when we’re being bombarded with these addictive titbits into everyone’s lives.

Instagram can be called upon as the main culprit for spearheading our obsession that little bit further, but Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and endless Pinterest repins of pretty blogger/fashion bod figures are equally to blame. We’re not slating the selfie; it’s a satisfying feeling like no other, when you land a flattering, sun soaked shot that makes your body resemble Kendall Jenner’s (thanks, Earlybird and Sutro (Google them)). But more and more experts are telling us to “switch off”, “tune out” and effectively, take a technological self-cleanse, or a “digital detox” to stop our frazzled brains from burning out, and recovering some of that smartphone-free time we once cherished. Remember?

Funny, though, the mixed messages we get about social media. Turn to print magazines and they tease you with snippets of information which lure you back to “tuning in.” Case in point: Voguestagrams. The fashion tome asked readers to post pictures of them with the hefty September issue, using #voguestagram. Aren’t we supposed to be losing ourselves in the magazine, instead of forcing tired boyfriends and annoyed friends to retake pictures for the perfect shot? (Not even a genuine selfie)

Then there’s the issue of selfie etiquette heightening the cringe factor. The Selfies At Serious Places Tumblr documents the sheer stupidity of certain selfie-addicts, as they take to posing before cameras at historically significant locations (think Pearl Harbour, grandmother’s funeral and Chernobyl) with wholly inappropriate facial expressions.

But even with all the associated negativity, the impact of selfies, particularly on the fashion industry, has been immense. Senior level fashion personalities; top brands; model scouts and, even, Anna Wintour have all tasted the sweet success of a social profile swelling selfie. Prominent bloggers take to posting pictures of events directly onto social media, sometime bypassing the need to blog about it all together. Even founder of Showstudio.com, Nick Knight, surprised the social media set last year by taking to Instagram with the Pussycat, Pussycat shoot, featuring Cara Delevingne.

Revolutionary by nature, the selfie has changed the way we glimpse into the world of others, and how we let them in to ours. We’ve all suffered with the dreaded FOMO flu, but that hasn’t stopped us uploading, clicking, liking and commenting. And with so much support behind it, vanity is set to be du jour for a long time  to come.

What are your views on selfies? Are you addicted?

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