Thursday, 17 April 2014

Selfies...

...love them or loathe them, you can’t escape them.

You only have to log in to Facebook to see most of your friend list posing and pouting for the camera. But why have they become so popular? 

5 years ago most people would never have heard the word ‘selfie,’ let alone have known what one was. Analysts say that the usage has risen by a staggering 17,000% over the last year.
This is because lots of celebrities started taking selfies and posting them online. Fans saw photos by the likes of Rihanna, Justin Bieber, and Beyonce and started to take their own. Since then, the selfie craze has only got bigger.
2013 was dubbed ‘the year of the selfie’ and it was also the Oxford Dictionary word of the year. 
It certainly seems that the selfie has become a firm fixture in the modern world.
Now you can get software that can add everything from filters to backgrounds into a selfie, and with apps like Instagram and SnapChat it has never been easier to share photos.
Well...it would be rude not to join in!
Image copyright: Lorna Holland
However, there is a lot of debate about the link between posting selfies online and cyber bullying. People argue that it promotes dissatisfaction and low self-esteem among teenagers, with bullies taking advantage of the anonymity of the internet to target vulnerable people.
Others say that selfies are a good thing as they can help to promote positive body image. One example of this is the body positive movement, which helps people accept and be happy with their body shape.
Now that selfies have become popular people are trying new and inventive ways to put their own twist on the craze. For instance, there are now selfies taken subtly by people at work, in cars, in school...not forgetting the ‘Selfie Olympics,’ where people competed to upload the most inventive selfie.  
Arguably the most famous selfie is Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie from the Oscars, which now holds the Twitter record for the most retweeted post ever.
Despite all this, most selfies are still nothing more than harmless photos on social media.
Last year, the selfie of Barack Obama, David Cameron and Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service made news headlines across the world. It was heavily criticised for being inappropriate because of the circumstances, but they weren’t the only ones.
Until recently, there was a blog comprised of selfies people had taken at funerals. Submissions for the blog are now disabled, but this only happened because of the media’s interest.
Maybe this is a sign that the selfie craze has gone too far. Perhaps it’s time to stop the endless stream of photos and move on.
Besides, it won’t be long before a new trend emerges, and soon everyone will have forgotten about the humble selfie.

What are your thoughts on selfies? Let me know in the comments below!

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