I’m starting something new here on Fridays. I’m calling it the:
It could be something funny and frivolous. It could be something fascinating. Or, it could be something serious and thought-provoking (I tried really hard to find a word that means “serious” that starts with an “f”. I failed. It’s fine.)
Or it could be neither. It could be a picture with an inspirational quote, if that’s what I think should be featured.
This week, for the first Friday Feature, the topic borders on fun and quite serious. Yesterday, June 21, was National Selfie Day. It’s actually been celebrated since 2014, on June 21. I’m not sure why it shares a holiday with the ever-popular and been-around-since-time-began event, the #summersolstice, which in my humble opinion, is a much hipper holiday and should be left alone to shine in its own selfie glory of being the longest day of the year and the official summer kickoff. But whatevs.
In full disclosure, I haven’t really paid attention to this holiday until this year. I think I’m so used to the term now and I personally am not a big selfie taker. As an amateur (and I do mean amateur) photographer, I prefer to stand behind the camera as opposed to in front of it.
Most of us have heard the word and know what it means. To lend credibility to how much this word has influenced our language and culture, the word “selfie” was dubbed the word of the year in 2013. In terms of social media units of time, where events and posts and tweets happen faster than you can snap your fingers, and news can be outdated in a matter of minutes, the word has been around for a long time.
Have you ever taken a selfie? Have you been in a selfie taken by another person? I’d venture to guess the answer is yes for the vast majority of us.
Since the selfie has been around for several years already in social media years, and since most of us already understand the concept of a selfie, and have been in a selfie, or take them, was there a need for an official day for selfies? People already are motivated to post pictures of themselves regularly, so why the special day designated for it? Did it really need more publicity? Aren’t we already obsessed with ourselves enough?
Now, sometimes, taking a selfie may be ok if you’re the only one around to take the picture. But, quite honestly, as an adult who remembers when this was not an option, I never did this, and I don’t recall many others doing this, either. We simply did not see adults (or young people) walking around taking pictures of themselves. Granted, our technology did not lend itself that easily to selfie-taking. The best we had was the timer feature; we’d get the group together, and one person would position the camera, get it in focus, and set the timer, and then run to join the picture. That was the old-fashioned selfie, I suppose.
Now, however, it is not uncommon to see people taking selfies pretty much everywhere, and anytime. Very quickly, it has become part of our everyday life.
What changed? Why are thousands of teens and adults now taking millions of pictures of themselves? And, at what point does selfie-taking become a problem? Is it even a problem? It can be a problem if it becomes obsessive, or like an addiction. Excessive selfie-taking also gives the appearance of narcissism. And many articles have already pointed to low self-esteem.
It gets worse. According to this article, it is affecting our brains. People are forgetting where they are and losing common sense. Furthermore, in at least one study, reported by the Huffington Post, selfies are linked to narcissism and psychopathy. More recently, compulsive selfie-taking has led to something called “selfitis”: “While it’s not recognized as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, some experts say it appears to be a concerning trend.” This same article also links to a series of photos called “dangerous selfies” that show just how far folks are willing to go to get that “perfect selfie”. Pretty scary stuff.
I was curious about the numbers for National Selfie day. I wanted to know how many tweets were being made with the #selfie hashtag on Twitter, for example. I did find some interesting information and data from previous years. Consider this: The average lifespan is 27,375 days. An average millennial is expected to take 25,700 selfies during their lifetime. That’s close to one selfie daily. Daily.
Are you posting a selfie daily? What about the teens you know?
Where are the selfies posted?
74 percent of Snapchat photos are selfies.
1,000 selfies are posted on Instagram every second. That’s every second.
And consider this: In 2015, more people died from taking selfies than from shark attacks.
How about that? Your phone is more dangerous than you realized!
(Yes, in more ways than one it is dangerous: physically, psychologically, emotionally, etc.)
On a serious note, though: people have died while taking selfies by falling over cliffs, bridges, towers, and near pools of water. Please do be careful.
Where are the most selfies taken in the world? Well, believe it or not, you can find this out on a chart with selfie world rankings, posted by Time Magazine. You might be able to find your city on the map and see how it ranks. What city do you think ranks the highest in the world, in the number of selfies taken per 100,000 people?
If you guessed Makata City, in the Philippines., you’d be right. It’s the selfie capital of the world.
Surprised? New York is second, Miami is 3rd, and Anaheim and Santa Ana, CA, are 4th. Petaling Jaya in Malaysia is 5th, Tel Aviv is 6th, Manchester, Great Britan is 7th, Milano, Italy is 8th, and it’s back to the Philippines and Malaysia for the 9th and 10th positions.
Furthermore, from an article on 2017 data on National Selfie Day, I learned the following:
- In 2017, the hashtag #NationalSelfieDay had 370,000+ mentions. Most of the selfies were posted on Twitter.
- Females only edged males by 2000.
- Who tops the influencer list? (The article defines influencers as the Twitter users with the greatest numbers of followers engaging on the search term). In terms of top influencers on #NationalSelfieDay, it was… the NBA.
- Who was 2nd? It was NASA. Well, obvs, didn’t everyone already know that?
- Who was 3rd? Well, finally an answer someone could probably guess. This should be no surprise. Khloe Kardashian. If you guessed any one of the Kardashians, though, I’ll give you credit for a correct answer. (This may be the only time I will mention one of this clan in this space… oh, so many selfies to take, so little time… oh, puh-leeze….)
You may recall a lesser known celebrity from a few years ago, but a story that is much more entertaining. Do you remember the monkey who catapulted to instant fame when he took a selfie? This particular photo drew attention because it was a selfie case that ended up in court. The judge eventually ruled that the “animal cannot own his own copyright”. It was probably a disappointment to pet owners everywhere because although this monkey was not a pet, who knows how many pets out there are currently taking selfies on accident or who could be trained to do so and could have turned their owners into millionaires? Some losses are hard to quantify. At any rate, I hope the monkey has recovered after hearing about the fate of his case and that he won’t be able to buy the vacation home he was once dreaming of.
I found the infamous monkey picture on pixabay. He looks happy here.
It’s a great picture. No wonder it was so popular.
Other gorillas, in fact, like selfies and such. Here’s another one, at the Louisville Zoo.
While doing (minimal) research for this article, I found someone that deserves credit for the selfie but does not get the recognition he deserves for this honor. He is a well-known 17th-century artist, already a household name, but what a disservice by not acknowledging his contribution to this holiday! Can you guess who it might be? From a tweet by the National Gallery of Art:
Rembrandt painted more self portraits than any other 17th century artist. The Gallery has two, separated by thirty years. His younger portrait shows Rembrandt at the height of his career, and his older self was painted in the year he died.
Rembrandt produced nearly 100 self-portraits and there is even a Wikipedia page called “Self-Portraits by Rembrandt.”
Narcisissm isn’t just a 20th-century thing, quite obviously.
When I began writing this post, I had no idea it would eventually lead to talking about gorillas and monkeys and Rembrandt. It’s a serious, frivolous, but serious topic.
Some final words:
In case you are wondering
I will not be posting a selfie
Here or there
I will not post on Twitter
I will not be a counterfeiter
Please do not think I’m bitter
Do remember, I’m no quitter
I’ve got one picture
It’s my profile pic on Twitter
You can find me there
And I guess in full disclosure
I should tell you…
That was a selfie. :)