- By john mataraza
- On January 7th, 2015
- In Uncategorized
Seeing somebody actually take a selfie is like watching sausage get made. It leaves me feeling uneasy and gross.
Alright, for the most part, I’m just not down with selfies. I get it, sometimes they cant be avoided and there is a time and a place for selfies (no really there is – like with your kids). But in general, selfies are an outcropping of the neo-narcissism fueled by social media. The need to be seen, to be complimented, to be congratulated, to be comforted at every turn. We cant seem to do anything anymore just for and with ourselves. To have a quiet moment of pride or joy or fun alone or even with “in-person” friends, its got to go bigger for the sake of virtual pats on the backs in the form of likes. It’s electronic bragging. It’s as if our life’s moments don’t count or don’t exist unless there is a virtual stage and a spotlight. If a tree falls in the woods but it wasn’t on Vine did it really fall?
Anyway, jumping off my philosophical high horse for a minute, this rant is more about the act of taking a selfie. Ever actually witness somebody taking a selfie? Awe man, I’ve seen a pile of selfies being taken – Red Sox games, concerts, in and around Boston, at the beach… It’s not a pleasant sight. It’s embarrassing and hard to watch as the casual observer. What I’ve noticed is a staggering degree of effort and time goes into taking a selfie. The selfie owner would have you believe the picture was simply a quick causual snap wthout much thought or effort. Sadly, this has not been anywhere near what I’ve seen. Take picture, check phone, erase, re-shoot, take picture, check phone, erase, re-shoot, take picture, check phone, erase – over and over – sometimes this ritual goes on for 10 mins. This happens because nobody else is there to put you in check, to say, “hey you got the shot let’s go – for god sakes stop taking pictures of yourself man, what is WRONG with you?” – no, instead you stand there taking more and more until its just perfect according to you. It’s hard to watch, I try to look away but its like seeing a car wreck in motion, you just can’t in spite of yourself. It’s hard to resist asking the selfie person what the perfect shot of themselves would look like. Perhaps make a suggestion for the silly ironic face they are trying to conjure up to make it seem like they aren’t trying too hard in their selfie endeavor. They are trying so hard.
It’s not so much the selfe posted to Facebook, it’s knowing how much EFFORT and TIME went into taking the exact right picture. I don’t look at the selfies posted of my friends and think “ohhhh, great picture, I wish I was doing the cool thing they are passive aggressively bragging about”. Instead, all I can think is, “I wonder how much effort they put into taking that picture, how many do overs, how many retakes” because when somebody posts a selfie, they think it’s perfect.
Yes, the hypocrisy of me writing a blog post about the need for attention in digital media is not lost on me. Now, where did I put my selfie stick?