A dictionary of Journalism defines selfie as “A photograph taken by the person featured in the picture who then makes it publicly available via social media such as Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook” (Harcup, 2014). The important thing to note here is that a selfie is made “publicly available”, when we look at other pictures that are released publicly we can get a possible insight into the reasoning and implications of the selfie.
Marketing The Self
Almost every moment of every day we are under a constant barrage of marketing, targeting the senses, especially images.
In his article on reasons why images should be included in marketing, Jeff Bullas identifies that social media is becoming increasingly photocentric, supporting image sharing on massive scale. Bullas states, “…It then showcases in my follower’s streams and updates and invites them to engage with me by commenting, liking or sharing.”, leading to the idea that a large part of image sharing is audience engagement. In applying that to the concept of a selfie we see that people are taking photos of themselves and sharing them to public spaces such as social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc) and engaging with other people’s selfies by sharing, liking or retweeting.
Steve Migs wrote a blog post on gender differences and by mimicking the ‘stereotypical girl selfie’ he received numerous comments about how attractive he was.
It seems, in an abstract sense, that the production and subsequent ‘posting’ of selfies is a kind of self marketing and trade, where the product is your image (but not necessarily you) that you are capturing within a photo in exchange for positive social interaction.
Now I want to ask, is the process of uploading selfies and socially engaging with them something we do ‘semi-consciously’ or is it now so prominent in youth culture that it’s ‘just the thing to do’? An article in The Telegraph by Radhika Sanghani, suggests it might be a bit of both. Sanghani looks at how selfies are a way of showing others an image that we want to affiliate with ourselves but also a way we define ourselves and be part of a culture.