The art of the selfie and its usefulness has been hotly debated over the last couple of years, but it seems like the selfie is here to stay – so why the heck is it so important?
Selfie: The word conjures up eye-rolls, groans, and taunting on one end, or unbridled support, cheering, and 'YAS!'-es from the other.
Whether you're team selfie or team selfies-R-dumb, the selfie is definitely here to stay. Here are 10 reasons why the selfie is so important!
- Self love is important
- Test out your front-facing camera
- Fun, fun, fun!
- Capture the emotion of a moment
- Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy
- Bringing people together
- Progress pics FTW
- Photo? Boomerang? Video?
- Likes = love
- Very very versatile
Self love is important
Margarita Tartakovsky, associate editor and body image advocate at PsychCentral.com:
If we're taking a photo of an object or our natural surroundings, we're paying attention. We're listening. We're absorbing an object's lines, a park's multicolored leaves. If we're taking a photo of ourselves, we're seeing ourselves. Really seeing. We're listening, too. We're acknowledging.
While not everyone is a huge fan of staring at themselves in the mirror or taking dozens of photos of their face, it has been argued that snapping selfies can actually be quite therapeutic.
In fact some people even argue that the hospital selfie can be more helpful than harmful, normalizing stigmas and helping people who have gone through surgery realize that their scars, pain, and healing isn't abnormal or strange.
Day Bishop, hospital patient:
With medical stuff, people don't know how to talk about it and don't know how to start the conversation. Putting it out there [on social media] really helps. It's really hard to, but it really helps… When I was on Instagram, I would click on different hashtags of #brainsurgery or #craniotomy and see so many other people's pictures of their scars. It was so cool. Just typing in a Google search on the Internet, that's kind of what I was looking for. I was looking for affirmation from somebody else.
Test out your front-facing camera
If you're someone who just picked up a brand new phone and wants to make sure everything is up to snuff, snapping a selfie is a great way to test out the quality of your front-facing camera!
Simply snap a few selfies in some different lighting and environments to see how the camera adjusts to its surroundings.For example, if it makes the lines on your face stand out more, if there are any hidden beautification features, etc.
Your selfies should do a pretty good job at revealing how well your front-facing camera works!
Fun, fun, fun!
If we're looking for a non-practical reason for the selfie, it's probably this: THEY'RE SO MUCH FUN!
Selfies can honestly be a blast-and-a-half to take. Whether you're by yourself at home jamming out to the new Beyoncé song and really feelin' yourself and decide to snap a few mirror selfies, or you're out at a bar with a bunch of friends and want to remember the moment, or you're at a family party and simply love how adorable you and all your cousins look, the selfie has you covered.
Once you say the words 'Let's take a selfie!' you'll have people running in from all directions to squeeze into frame to capture that feel-good moment forever.
If you want to make your selfie experience even more fun, think about incorporating a selfie stick into your selfie shenanigans to make yourself look even more ridiculous and elicit even more laughs from people at the bar and your best pals.
Capture the emotion of a moment
We've all seen a billion blurry cellphone photos at concerts or footage of fireworks going off a thousand miles away during New Year's Eve, or that wonky shots from the last row of some professional hockey game.
While these photos and videos are… fine, I guess, one thing that's missing from them is any kind of human emotion or reaction. Sure it's awesome that you saw Panic! At the Disco live, but we really don't need an album of blurry pictures following Brendon Urie around the stage.
Selfies are a really great tool to showcase and capture the feel of a moment without recording absolutely everything around you. The next time you're at a sporting event, try snapping a selfie or a Boomerang of you and your BFF reacting to the action on the ice, or if you're watching fireworks, shoot a selfie video of them going off in the background while your significant other plants a big smooch on ya'.
If you think you're being too narcissistic, remember; that's literally what selfies are all about. The people tuning into your social media are tuning in for you, not blurry footage of Brendon Urie from the nosebleed section.
Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy
Open front-facing camera. Pose. Snap selfie. Done.
Open camera app. Find a pretty mirror. Pose. Take picture. Done.
Selfies are the easiest types of photos to take on the planet. They even get taken accidentally sometimes without the person knowing if they have the camera app open or hit the wrong button (just don't try to pass it off like it was a mistake if it was actually intentional.
The hardest part of the selfie is finding your best angle – this may take a few tries, but once you got it, you have it forever!
Bringing people together
As I mentioned earlier, nothing brings people together faster than the words 'Let's take a selfie!'
Whether you're someone who really, really likes taking selfies, or someone who despises them, either the topic or the action of the selfie is enough to get a conversation going (or at least some really cute photos!).
Next time you're out and about with friends or family, take a few selfies to commemorate the occasion and remember the moment. You'll be happy to have those memories later down the line – no matter how silly some people think a selfie is.
Progress pics FTW
If you're someone who loves working out and has goals to reach with your fitness, keeping track of your gains and progress can be crucial.
Not everyone has the luxury of being comfortable with someone to take their before/after photos, and setting up a self-timer on your DSLR or iPhone is just way too big of a pain in the butt.
Mirror selfies are every gym-goers BFF whether they're lifting weights at the gym, or practicing their posing and flexing for a fitness competition in front of the mirror at home.
Snapping mirror selfies are a great way to see progress on hard-to-see places like your back or butt. Plus, if you take progress selfies in the same mirror every time, you'll have a really nice line of consistent, uniform photos to look at when you're checking on your improvements!
Photo? Boomerang? Video?
With traditional photography, your final product is, well, a photograph, but when you're snapping a selfie, it can be a photo, a Boomerang, or a video – it just depends on how creative you want to get with it!
A Boomerang makes a sort of GIF of a short video for you, which allows you to do a small action (blow a kiss, make a duck face, peace sign, middle finger, etc) before looping it into a fun little GIF. You can also do selfie videos at things like concerts or parties.
A selfie can get as creative as you want to to be, so snap some Boomerang selfies and video selfies to see which works best for you!
Likes = love
Amanda Martin, If Everyone Hates Selfies, Why Do They Get So Many Likes?
Online, selfies and pictures of people in general get more engagement in the form of likes and comments. A Georgia Institute of Technology study found that Instagram pictures with human faces are 38% more likely to get likes and 32% more likely to get comments than photos with no faces.
It may seem like I'm making this up in order to support the selfie, but if you're looking for likes and social media engagement online, then the selfie may be the way to go.
People respond to seeing other people's faces, as is evident from Netflix's Power of a Picture findings, where the company explains that they had struggled in the last number of years with engagement, but once human faces were added to certain show cards and titles, their popularity increased:
It's well known that humans are hardwired to respond to faces -- we have seen this to be consistent across all mediums. But it is important to note that faces with complex emotions outperform stoic or benign expressions -- seeing a range of emotions actually compels people to watch a story more.
Very very versatile
The selfie can be used by everyone, for everyone, with everyone.
Front facing camera busted? Take a mirror selfie. Want to capture a wild night out with friends with the perfect spur-of-the-moment picture? Take a group selfie. Jamming out to your favorite White Stripes tune and think your makeup looks fly? Take a Boomerang selfie. Just left the gym and want to show off your progress on Snapchat? Take a gym selfie.
Selfies don't need to be narcissistic and negative if you see them as a celebration of self love and a different way to see the world; the 'sel' in selfie doesn't stand for selfish, it stands for 'celebration'.
To selfie, or not to selfie: that tis' the question
Are you a big fan of snapping selfies and showing a little self love, or do you think selfies are the sign that humanity's narcissism is driving it towards the end-times?
Let us know why you think (or why you dont think) the selfie is all that important!