Selfies Suck!

The "selfie" strips the power of the collective voice

by Malcolm De Leo |

Selfies.  They are everywhere.  Celebrities do it, you do it, and even your dog is getting into the phenomena of selfies.  Using your phone to share not only what you are doing but to insert yourself into the action is a very common thing to do these days.  Now, instead of just sharing a picture of something you see, your phone gives you the ability to put yourself in there to make that picture more important.  Your inclusion in these moments really enhances your story’s experience.  Right?

Ok, let’s get controversial now.  Selfies suck.  They suck badly.  Before you call me a curmudgeon and that I am socially unhip, I need to go on record and say this.  I really hate them.  Why?  Because one of the greatest gifts social media has given us is more power.  Way more power, in fact.  Since the rise of social networking sites, we have seen a dramatic shift in who controls the conversation.  All of us do now, when we collectively gather together to make a point.  We saw that voice aggregate and topple governments during the Arab Spring.  We have seen The Crowd (all of us) beat back Bank of America when they tried to charge us a five dollar fee on our debit cards and the list of examples go on.

SelfieBut something happened a few years ago, one of the reasons people went viral shifted.  Suddenly, people were taking funny pictures of themselves to show where they were and what they were doing.  It became a topic of conversation; the selfie.  In science (where I come from), we often say when a phenomena has enough focus it gets its own term or label.  Well, that is the selfie.  It coalesced.

Why am I harping on it so much?  As I stated, social media has represented one of the all-time greatest power grabs ever by the individual.  We (The Crowd) control the message.  But the selfie is the antithesis of that.  It spits in the face of the power of the collective voice and turns everything into a world of ME, ME, ME.  Sure putting yourself in a photo does make it better, but what about the stupid party faces and narcissistic poses people make to show everyone how cool they are.  This is turning the focus onto you because you want others to notice you.  Hey I know lots of interesting people, but I don’t need to see them in every photo like they have become Waldo of Where’s Waldo fame.

Don’t waste you power… you are better than that.  Social is our vehicle to get our point across.  And what’s the point of a selfie?  Look at me!  Look at me!  I am here! I am here! Pay attention!  I want social media fame!

Come on… at least tone it down and get back to creating meaningful content – like catching a photo of some injustice that others should know about… without you in the picture… unless you have really had the injustice done to you and then that selfie is warranted.

About the Author

Malcolm De Leo

Malcolm, Chief Evangelist at NetBase Solutions, Inc.,  is a subject matter expert in the area of applying social media in an effort to build the marketplace for this powerful new consumer data source. Previously, Malcolm was the Global Vice President of Innovation at Daymon Worldwide and prior to that Malcolm spent 10 years at the Clorox Company managing partnerships with technology companies, developing innovation processes and building new innovation infrastructure.