It’s the latest craze— pucker up, pose and snap that reverse-lensed smart phone and share with the world your mugshot. Celebrities and simple people alike snap millions— perhaps billions of selfies daily and share on their social media.
A colleague of mine recently shared his views on the craze in a rather negative way on his blog (ironically, isn’t a blog yet another form of a selfie, sharing words instead of images, on a regular basis?), calling perpetrators of the selfie craze narcissistic and self indulgent.
And while I’m not sure if the dig was intended towards me— as one of the biggest violators of this so-called crime against human interaction, it got me thinking about my own tendency to selfie.
Guilty as charged— I even have a “selfie album” on my Facebook page and proudly share them with people who follow me on my social media networks.
But it’s not the “self indulgence” or narcissism that drives me. I am no fashion model, nor do I think I am god’s greatest gift to mankind that constantly feels the urge to gain “likes” or compliments from people. It’s not my beauty that I want to share with the world, nor is it my fabulous lifestyle or desire to feed some sick narcissism. I work hard just like everyone else does and life hasn’t been all that easy these past few years— so for me, my tendency to selfie is more about letting people who care know— that “eimai kala”… I’m doing OK.
My mother has a mental illness— we have her computer set up so that she can easily click buttons and scroll, seeing her faraway family and friends on her Facebook newsfeed without much difficulty. She can no longer read or write and she doesn’t even know how to press “like” on a photo; but, visually, she can be stimulated because her memory and visual recognition is intact. She doesn’t have a smart phone so I can’t send her iMessages and keep the interaction between ourselves.
Most of the time when I take a selfie, I think of my mom’s smile when she sees it on her newsfeed and her affirmation that her son is doing well. I think of my nephews in Pittsburgh and am certain that their mom, my beloved sister-in-law is certainly sharing the photos with her boys. “Look at your crazy uncle, boys,” I can hear her saying now.
I also think of my cousins in Hania and Athens who rarely see me in person. I think of my best friend in London who I miss so much and my “special person” who is also far away at the moment. I think of my auntie in Sydney and her daughters— and other beloved cousins who although I’ve only seen two or three times in my lifetime, are like brothers and sisters to me.
For me, a selfie is a simple and easy way to let those I care about know— “hey guys… I’m good. I’m smiling.” And because it would be next to impossible to do this individually and personally to each and every one of these people I care about throughout the world, I choose to use technology to my advantage and share my smiles with those who care— en masse via my social media.
The good thing with technology and social media is that it gives the end user an opportunity to unfollow or ignore– or, of course, judge.