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Selfie – Social Media’s Ultimate Tribute to Hedonism

Hiren Panchal
by Hiren Panchal  |  21st May, 2014 in Life

If you saw Barack Obama and Joe Biden bending backwards to take a Selfie that got instantly flashed on all world media channels, you’d know it’s the next big trend in self-indulgence

To be sure, it must be done at a certain, crooked angle. Your smart phone must be tilted at say, 45 degrees, above your eye line. The light source must be flattering – a beam from a backlit window or the flash of a bathroom mirror, and Camera, Light, Action! A Selfie is made.

However don’t forget the carefully studied pose! No spontaneity here. You must know your most camera-friendly angle; else you can have a Selfie. Is your ‘look’ trapped in the slight raise of an eyebrow? Your smoldering, mascara-ed eyes? An all-knowing, vicious smile, perhaps? Or an insolent lip pout? A come-hither gesture? Or the hint of a cleavage – come on, is that you, sweetie? Snap! Then let’s mummify you in a Selfie and share you with the world!

But the sharing can’t be raw. The mummy-image would first need embalming in Photoshop. The sharp, angular edges would need to be blurred; the loud colors softened; if you have acne, they should disappear. Would you care for sepia tint or like being bathed in neon blue?

All of this would be a carefully-planned work of art of course, but in the hands of a smart phone wielding pro, it can be accomplished in a jiffy. A single tap and Lo! The Selfie will float through cyberspace to land itself on your Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account, each version supported by an individual hashtag – so many clones!

However wait your job isn’t over, yet. There are endless possibilities, still. If your Selfie is ‘Liked’ you can re-tweet, tag and share your Selfie, and plan another ego trip with another Selfie. Hedonism did you say? What the heck!

You’re not alone: Besides Obama, Kevin Spacey, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, and Justin Bieber are die-hard Selfie addicts. Yahoo has even compiled a list of 11 most famous and spectacular Seflies ever and the fad isn’t going to die down any time sooner.

It was a clever guerilla marketing tactic, a brilliant product placement for Samsung galaxy series that’s now become grist for a new ABC series titled “SELFIE“

about a self-absorbed 20-something woman (Played by Karen Gillan) who is more concerned with the “Likes” she licks online than being liked in reality – doesn’t that sound familiar?

Closer home, Narendra Modi posted a selfie on his Twitter account displaying his inked finger after casting his ballot – that declared to the electorate, where he came from and where he was going – straight to the PM’s office!

Numerous painters obsessed with their selves are remembered for their self-portraits. Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo were all smitten with their spitting images on canvas but there was one vital difference – they did not white-wash their look, so their portraits often came across as more reflective than refractive; more eternal than temporal; more introspective than exhibitionistic – and that’s a strong and substantive difference between the two trends.

Using portraits as a tool for self-affirmation can perhaps be traced back to the 4000-years old cave drawings, except that those paintings projected realism. They did not betray an unabashed celebration of computer-aided manipulation done with so much spunk and impunity. Just wondering have you come across any self-imposed Selfie codes? Is someone saying, you can’t shoot in the buff, for we did spot a man on the commode in yahoo’s top eleven Selfie list.

That begs the question – what makes people do it? Define themselves in such narrow terms, and let that definition be their proclamation to the world?

Is it the fact that from social networking are we now turning to self-networking?

Is self-networking going to be the next big media phenomenon waiting in the wings?

Your guess would be as good as mine.

Hiren Panchal

Director, Litmus Branding Pvt. Ltd.
Ahmedabad, India
Hiren Panchal co-founded Litmus with Kapil. Hiren owns an exhaustive character and sharpens his views with an analytical mindfulness. He observes every creative with a conscious magnifier. Just as his doer attitude wins over his believer attitude, his thought leadership aims at creating leaders and not followers on his team. His creative insights have created brands worldwide and he has been commanding in the industry for +20 years. Come to the point, he’s already there.