Last summer, some commentators hinted at the imminent demise of the ‘selfie’, including the ‘Snapchat selfie’ Queen herself, Kim Kardashian.
The truth is, selfies are an unavoidable presence in our lives, worshipped by some and barely understood by others. I am a secret sucker for a selfie. My excuse is that I just don’t trust anyone to take the “right” picture. So I do it myself.
Selfies are a cultural phenomenon dominating the social conversation. They involve significant time, deleting and retaking pictures to ensure perfection before being uploaded. At their best, selfies can create ‘front cover’ looks for us ordinary folk.
It’s no secret why selfies are popular: people love attention, people like to look attractive, and people like looking at attractive people. However, it took a while for selfies to become such a hot topic.
The history of the selfie, according to the BBC, kicked off when the word appeared for the first time back in 2002, after a man snapped a picture of facial injuries he had suffered following falling down drunk, and posted them to an Australian forum.
From there, the expression was used sporadically on photo-sharing websites until the advent of the Hashtag Revolution, which accompanied Twitter and Instagram. However, selfies didn’t begin to get much interest online until 2013.
Snapchat, one of the largest catalysts for the selfie explosion, caught on in 2012 and kept growing from there. It seems like you can’t go anywhere now without witnessing a girl taking a picture of herself.
2014, marked the peak of the selfie Era. “Selfie” was declared Word Of The Year by the Oxford Dictionary, after the Oscars, when Ellen Degeneres and Bradley Cooper took THAT pic for Twitter. But the general rule of thumb is that once a trend becomes too mainstream, it has officially run its course.
Since 2014 we’ve begun to see the dark side of selfies, from a stupid bank robber, being arrested after taking a selfie of himself with a gun, to being inundated with millions of Kardashian pictures with bunny ears and cute freckles and noses.
Kim Kardashian herself announced the demise of the selfie last year, and gradually they are becoming rather uncool. The new social media “cool” is location shots or, if you insist on being in the picture, somebody taking the shot for you. The old fashioned way.
Selfie-distance close-up are shots don’t provide much scope for any one photo to look much different from the next, and the aim of social media is to claim your own unique social space. Whilst they might not die a death completely, keep an eye out in 2018 for photos with a more exciting degree of content variety.
RIP outstretched arms, hello scenery.