Technology plays a critical role in our everyday lives; we live in a society that is increasingly dependent on technology. Several advances have emerged in the modern past; they are groundbreaking inventions that continue to transform the diverse ways of life. Photography has not been left behind, and the advent of selfies is one such advancement. Selfies refer to the type of portrait photography in which the subject captures himself or herself when gazing at the picture on the frame. This has become possible with the massive change in smartphone imaging. Beyond the basic definition, selfies have been studied and theorized in a different context by a different researcher, all having different views about the selfie.
First, people understand the selfie in a different context, and the role it plays in the contemporary society. Rettberg views the selfie as a tool for self-knowledge and self-improvement and shifting power relationships when they are shared in the social sphere (3). Marwick feels that the selfie as a self-image tool has been used to create micro-celebrities and acts as a currency in the attention economy (139). Tifentale and Manovich argue that the selfie departs from traditional photography, it constructs identities of the users while expressing that they belong to a particular community (8). The researchers acknowledge that the selfie plays a huge role in reinforcing narcissism that borders on self-image along with what the individuals want the outside world to perceive.
Additionally, the authors indulge in the nature of the selfie. The selfie is a medium of self-awareness, that is, the individual is often aware of the environment they are in and want to share with the friends. Rettberg notes that the selfie serves a self-representation and self-creation tool, we share selfies with others, after which they will form their interpretation of the individual (12). Marwick argues that the selfies have been used to showcase our identity and perspective, which is fueled by the narcissistic intentions among the youth (141). Tifentale and Manovich state that the selfie is a product of networked camera and is marked by its instant distribution (8). The different positions converge on the idea that the selfie is used to express and represent an individual to the audience, which is often shared on the social platforms; it is made for instant consumption.
However, the intentions of my friends taking the selfies might not outright be in line with what is discussed, the outcomes are the same. Most of the selfies are taken for sharing them online, they have to communicate the message of “I am doing this cool thing,” “I am in this cool place,” or just to share what they do in their daily life. The intentions reflect some borderline narcissism, the individuals who post their selfies, in one way or another, construct the perception others have about their lives or their personality. It is safe to assume that some of my friends take selfies with the presumed audience in mind, capturing them in a way that fits the audience.
In conclusion, the selfie culture is about conforming to trends, which is the same perspective from the studies. Selfies have been widely shared because it appeals to the narcissist in every individual; it pushes the individuals to share what they want the world to see. The selfie rises above conventional photography because it signifies a special part of the social lives of the individuals; it is an expression of perspective and identity.
Marwick, A. (2015). Instafame: Luxury Selfies in the Attention Economy. Public Culture, 27(1 75), 137-160. http://dx.doi.org/10.1215/08992363-2798379.
Rettberg, Jill Walker. Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs, and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137476661.0003.
Tifentale, Alise, and Lev Manovich. “Selfiecity: Exploring Photography and Self-Fashioning in Social Media.” Postdigital Aesthetics. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2015.