How do you feel about selfies? You know, those photos you snap of yourself either with someone or thing and then share on social media? When President Obama was caught snapping a selfie with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt at Nelson Mandela’s funeral, it got me to wondering why folks participate in this social trend.
This month I’m conducting an experiment of sorts. I set a goal of taking at least one selfie a day to share on my social media sites. I think I’ve missed maybe one day (so far). What have I learned? A few things, surprisingly. I’ve never liked pictures of myself but I do get a kick out of taking photos with my pets. *shrugging shoulders* It was sometimes an exercise in patience to get a good shot of my wiley furbabies. I’ve also found a few nifty little apps that I’m sure I’ll experiment with on non-selfies.
I’ve also learned that some people push the boundaries of decency. My experiment is innocent enough. I haven’t snapped inappropriate photos, nothing to embarrass me or anyone else. The second part of my experiment was to research the trend and I found some disturbing images and facts.
A high school student, while on a field trip to the University of Alabama Birmingham, took a selfie with a corpse. I’m not joking. Social News Daily reported on the incident: “The lab strictly prohibits the use of cell phones and other recording equipment in the area where cadavers are stored. The young girl ignored the restriction and snapped the photo.”
My reaction? Why? I don’t see the appeal. Why would you want to take a photo of yourself with a cadaver? Tweet: Would you want to take a photo of yourself with a cadaver?
There’s a Tumblr blog called Selfies With Homeless People. It’s populated with photos of teenagers and young adults posing with homeless people (some aware of what’s going on, others not). Again, why?
Another Tumblr called Selfies at Funerals. Really?
Where do we draw the line on appropriateness? When do selfies shift from self-expression and artistic to narcissistic and morally abhorrent? Tweet this
While I haven’t really enjoyed my little experiment I do understand how people can be drawn into the practice. You get a new dress and want to show it off to your friends – snap a selfie and share. You’re celebrating a special occasion and want to capture the moment – snap a selfie and share. You can do much more than that though. Take a photo of yourself then use software and apps to create art. Really, the possibilities are endless.
In my mind, it is completely inappropriate to take a photo of yourself alongside a dead person. And instead of taking pictures with the homeless, why not take them to McDonald’s and buy them a coffee or a full meal? The selfies at funerals I’m on the line about. If you’re smiling and saying guess what, I’m at a funeral – rethink posting that photo. If you’re grieving and want to document the moment, well…to me that’s personal and not to be shared with the masses. I’d be more comfortable with a professional photographer snapping candid shots of the mourners. But that’s just me.
I guess the biggest thing I’ve learned with my experiment is we should stay in constant contact with our moral compasses. Not just when snapping photos of ourselves, but in everything.