Article by: Matthew Sicat
Photographs by: Mild Chawalitanon
“Matt why don’t you go and do your homework”
“Sure mom, but first… let me take a selfie.”
Self-portrait photographs, or ‘selfies’, which are usually taken digital cameras or cellphones, have taken the world by storm. The selfie phenomenon has seeped into our everyday lives and has become an integral part of pop culture; finding its place in movies, televisions, and music. Furthermore, the selfie trend is supplemented by the cellphone cameras and applications such as ‘Snapchat’. Selfies continually congest our Facebook timelines, Twitter feeds, and Instagram walls; but at what cost? What purpose do they serve, and why do the millions of selfies everyday have such a huge impact in today’s society?
Snapchat, arguably the largest selfie platform, has changed the way we communicate with one another. Many agree that selfies allow one to immediately show their friends what they are doing at any give time. As Maia Paterno, a Junior, says, “social media is a way of communicating – selfies and Snapchat have categorized themselves as social media and thus have changed the way we communicate with others”. These ‘Snapchat Selfies’ have enabled us to share our experiences with our friends easily. “It’s all about showing your friends what you’re doing and who you’re with in a instant’s notice,” says Paterno.
However, from this convenience stems unavoidable consequences. Firstly, the very nature of selfies focuses on only one thing: you. “Much of today’s generation is about how many ‘likes’ or ‘favourites’ one can garner”, states ISM senior Lindsay Langevin. She adds, “The selfie culture of today is very self-centered”. This is understandable, as the Georgia Institute of Technology has discovered that an Instagram post of a selfie is 34% more likely to be ‘liked’, and 32% more likely to attract comments than other social media posts. Furthermore, the short, 10 second limit on applications such as Snapchat is detrimental to real, face to face, meaningful human interaction. Rather than expressing ourselves through long, meaningful conversation, communication is limited to only 10 seconds of our attention span. As junior, Danielle Limcaoco, argues, “although it may seem [that] selfies and snapchat push human interaction backwards, they actually teach us to be concise and to the point, succinct. These abilities are necessary in effective writing and communication”.
Similar to many phenomena throughout the years, there will always be pros and cons to this selfie trend. Whether one takes selfies to help practice one’s essay writing techniques or to rack in the ‘likes’, one should be aware of the power of that little self portrait. Selfies have changed the way we view the world and interact with society; it will be interesting to see how selfies will evolve in the future, and what role they will play in shaping a generation chock full of tech savvy, selfie snapping enthusiasts.